Biography of Protágoras de Abdera (499-400 a.C.)

Greek sophist philosopher which is believed that he was born between the 491 and 481 B.c. born in the same city that Democritus (Abdera), of whom seems to have been a disciple, he moved to Athens. Here was a friend of Pericles, who commissioned the drafting of laws for the colony of Turi, founded around the year 440 BC Protagoras was accused of atheist because in one of his writings, he said: "over the gods do not I know if they exist or not; There are many difficulties to find out with certainty; "the matter is dark and short life". His books were burned, and had to escape to Sicily; He died in the attempt, on unknown date. He was one of the most representative of the sophist school philosophers, so much that he deserved the respect of Plato, who dedicated to him the dialogue that bears his name.

His main work was the truth or subversive speeches. It proposes as a fundamental principle of his philosophy: "man is the measure of all things; that they exist insofar as they exist, and which are not, insofar as they are not". This principle, while on the one hand it expresses the very foundation of philosophical reflection, on the other hand, leads to an epistemological relativism according to which man, in the multiplicity of its passengers States, determines the things in your being. It follows that nothing is that it is untrue, because what one you think so, to another may seem real. Therefore, the same thing can preach the opposite terms. The truth is not, however, at the thing as it appears, but to appear, so that the only thing that can rise to the status of supreme principle is the movement, both of being and of consciousness.

However, this epistemological relativism does not translate into a practical relativism, because being and non-being are not equivalent, since corresponds only to one of them to be better and more useful. In this way the wise, with the arms of his speech, may to guide citizens toward that which is fairer and more useful in the vicissitudes of the future.

Bibliography.

CALVO, T.: Of the Sophists, Plato: politics and thought, Madrid: chisel, 1986.

COMPLESTON, f.: History of philosophy, t. I, Barcelona: Ariel, 1971.

GUTHRIE, W. K. C.: History of Greek philosophy, t. II, Madrid: Gredos, 1985.

MONDOLFO, r.: The understanding of the human subject in ancient culture, Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 1979.

JAEGER, w.: Paideia: the ideals of Greek culture, Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1957.