[361a] For I know that, were it once made plain, that other question on which you and I have argued at such length on either side—you maintaining and I denying that virtue can be taught—would be cleared up satisfactorily. Our discussion, in its present result, seems to me as though it accused and mocked us like some human person; if it were given a voice it would say: “What strange creatures you are, Socrates and Protagoras! You on the one hand, after having said at first that virtue cannot be taught, [361b] are now hot in opposition to yourself, endeavoring to prove that all things are knowledge—justice, temperance, and courage—which is the best way to make virtue appear teachable: for if virtue were anything else than knowledge, as Protagoras tried to make out, obviously it would not be teachable; but if as a matter of fact it turns out to be entirely knowledge, as you urge, Socrates, I shall be surprised if it is not teachable. Protagoras, on the other hand, though at first he claimed that it was teachable, [361c] now seems as eager for the opposite, declaring that it has been found to be almost anything but knowledge, which would make it quite unteachable!” Now I, Protagoras, observing the extraordinary tangle into which we have managed to get the whole matter, am most anxious to have it thoroughly cleared up. And I should like to work our way through it until at last we reach what virtue is, and then go back and consider whether it is teachable or not, lest perchance your Epimetheus beguile and trip us up in our investigation [361d] as he overlooked us in your account of his distribution.1 I like the Prometheus of your fable better than the Epimetheus; for he is of use to me, and I take Promethean thought continually for my own life when I am occupied with all these questions; so, with your consent, as I said at the beginning, I should be delighted to have your aid in the inquiry.I approve your zeal, Socrates, said Protagoras, and the way you develop your arguments; [361e] for I think I am not ill-natured, and I am the last person on earth to be envious. Indeed I have told many people how I regard you—as the man I admire far above any that I meet, and as quite an exception to men of your age; and I say I should not be surprised if you won high repute for wisdom. We shall pursue the subject on some other occasion, at your pleasure: for the present,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.