Questions From “Protagoras” by Plato

Q1: What is a sophist?

Q2: How can we nourish our minds?

Q3: Who was Pericles?

Q4: Who was Hippocrates of Cos?

Q5: What was the myth of Orpheus who enchanted with his voice?

Q6: How will you grow better and toward what will you make progress?

Q7: What is citycraft?

Q8: Can all subjects be taught?  Can excellence be taught?

Q9: Why did Zeus distribute justice and a sense of shame among all men?

Q10: When are daring actions crazy rather than courageous?

Q11: How can some pleasant things be bad and some painful things be good?

Q12: How important were musical and physical training in Greek education?

Q13:  Is justice dealt and punishment given simply to promote a better society by acting as a deterrent of future wrongdoings? 

Q14: How can punishment of a criminal for his crime help prevent others from committing it?

Q15: How can a lack of punishment of crime promote more criminal behavior?

Q14: Why do manygood fathers have good for nothing sons?

Q15: Why are some people like books, incapable of returning answers when asked challenging questions or of asking questions themselves other than prerehearsed ones?

Q16: Is olive oil bad for animal hair but good for man’s hair and body?

Q17: Why do so many politicians do as Alcibiades accused Protagoras of doing, namely of spinning out long speeches in response to every question until most of his audience had forgotten the point of the question in the first place.

Q18:  Is there such a thing as an absolute good and an absolute evil when it comes to things?  How about when it comes to principles? How about people (God vs Satan). 

A18: Perhaps things can be good or bad depending on context, while principles by their more abstract nature can be absolutely defined as good or bad.  The goodness or badness of the actions of people depend on context, e.g. killing someone in cold-blooded murder is always evil while killing someone in self-defense of liberty and justice is justified and can be good.   The act of killing in and of itself isn’t good or evil, but the principle involved in the killing makes it either justified or incredibly evil.

Q19: How is delight different than pleasure according to Prodicus?

Q20: Assume for a moment that a thing can have only one opposite and no more.  If we claim that wisdom is a thing distinct from self-control can we also claim that they are both the opposite of folly, itself a single thing?  Or do we have to assume that wisdom and self-control are one and the same thing in order to maintain logical consistency with our first assumption?

Q21: Is a mind a terrible thing to waste?

Q22: If pleasure is the opposite of pain, then how can it be bad to be overcome by desire?  Why are pleasant things sometimes bad?  Why are unpleasant things sometimes good?

Q23: Is enjoyment bad when it either deprives people of greater pleasure than it produces or causes pain greater than the pleasure it provides?

Q24: Is pain good when it frees people from greater pain than it induces or when it causes greater pleasure than pain?

Q25: Are all actions which are directed at a pleasant and painless life admirable?

Q26: Do me go wrong in choosing between pleasure and pain — that is to say between good and bad — because of a deficiency of knowledge?  Or do men’s consciences let them know sufficient to distinguish right from wrong, yet some choose the wrong anyway?

A26: (see the Book of Mormon’s answer to this question in 2 Nephi 5):

And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil…

Q27: Why is afterthought akin to Epimetheus and forethought akin to Prometheus in the Greek myth about them?

Q28: Is cowardice the ignorance of what is and is not terrible?


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