Protagoras (c. 481 – 420 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek sophist philosopher. Man is the measure of all things.
Quotations associated with Protagoras
Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not.
There are two sides to every question.
The Athenians are right to accept advice from anyone, since it is incumbent on everyone to share in that sort of excellence, or else there can be no city at all.
When it comes to consideration of how to do well in running the city, which must proceed entirely through justice and soundness of mind.
Socrates, began by saying that virtue can’t be taught, and now you are insisting on the opposite, trying to show that all things are knowledge, justice, soundness of mind, even courage, from which it would follow that virtue most certainly can be taught.
As to the gods, I have no means of knowing either that they exist or do not exist, or what they are like.
No intelligent man believes that anybody ever willingly errs or willingly does base and evil deeds; they are well aware that all who do base and evil things do them unwillingly.
The art of measurement, by showing us the truth would have brought our soul into the repose of abiding by the truth, and so would have saved our life.
Let us hold our discussion together in our own persons, making trial of the truth and of ourselves.
What of his beard? Are you not of Homer’s opinion, who says Youth is most charming when the beard first appears?
Then Prometheus, in his perplexity as to what preservation he could devise, stole from Hephaestus and Athena wisdom in the arts together with fire — since by no means without fire could it be acquired or helpfully used by any — and he handed it there and then as a gift to man.
Let parents then bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.
There is an ancient saying, which is a true one–“To fight against two opponents is a difficult thing.”
To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater.
There’s a victory and defeat–the first and best of victories, the lowest and worst of defeats–which each man gains or sustains a …
Of all animals the boy is the most unmanageable, inasmuch as he has the fountain of reason in him not yet regulated.
All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.
The community which has neither poverty nor riches will always have the noblest principles.
Death is not the worst that can happen to men.
There is no harm in repeating a good thing.
Much sleep is not required by nature, either for our souls or bodies, or for the actions in which they are concerned.
He who is not a good servant will not be a good master.
Then not only an old man, but also a drunkard, becomes a second time a child.
Fly from the company of the wicked–fly and turn not back.
COMMENTS on Protagoras
The most famous of Protagoras’ quotes is, Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not, and it has some cachet, but it would seem that it might have been even stronger in that the man thinking that sentence might take himself as the man being measured. However, a saying like “A man behaves as if his own self is the measure of all things” might be more accurate but it would be thought excessively self-centered by noble Greek philosophers.
When we see people behaving in bad ways it is time to think about this quote: To prefer evil to good is not in human nature; and when a man is compelled to choose one of two evils, no one will choose the greater. If this is truly the way men behave then whenever we see what appears to be bad behavior we must ask ourselves what purpose that individual is responding to that brings them to what they perceive to be a good act.