The Protagoras’s case against akrasia comes in two stages. First, at 352b–c, we get an extremely quick argument grounded on knowledge as an epistemic ideal. This argument does not persuade the many, and so the dialogue turns, starting at 355a, to a technical and carefully developed argument that proceeds on an entirely different basis. This argument has considerable force, but only once we make certain idealizing assumptions about an agent’s ability to grasp the unitary, homogeneous nature of value. Reading the dialogue in this way offers the further tantalizing possibility of showing us precisely where Socrates’s thought leaves off and Plato’s begins: that the dialogue takes off from the famous and historical Socratic rejection of akrasia and then attempts to ground that dictum in a novel argument, one that displays Plato’s characteristic interest in the distance between surface appearances and ultimate reality.


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pp. 1-21
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