Protagoras

Protagoras
Birth 490 BC
Death 420 BC

The first Ancient Greek sophist (i.e. a paid teacher of rhetoric, oratory and metaphysics). He was also the most expensive one around. He’s best known for his aphorism ‘Of all things the measure is Man, of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they are not’.1 He was of the view that the accepted morals both of society and of individuals are arbitrary. He was an agnostic; human life is too short and questions of God too baffling to come to any kind of definitive conclusion. One thing was clear: if you believe in one god without ever having seen him, it would be absurd to deny the existence of other gods. That still rings true today!

1 Diels & Krantz, Fragments of the Pre-Socratics, 1967: http://www.ancient.eu/article/61/

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