Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Sketching the 'Sôtêria Tou Biou' : Plato and the art of measurement
Author: Parsons, Clare
ISNI:       0000 0001 3474 1200
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2007
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
In this thesis, I aim to demonstrate that measurement is an important and dynamic theme though which Plato explores the nature of arete in a range of dialogues covering the early, middle and later periods of his work. In chapters 1-3, I will explore the origin of this theme in the Protagoras' metretike techne' - an art which involves the maximisation of pleasure in our lives through measurement. I suggest that Socrates presents the metretike techne as a sketch of the type of wisdom which would be sufficient for arete and which, as such, has the potential to be 'the salvation of our lives'. 2 He shows how the metretike techne can bring determinacy and accuracy to the decisions we have to make about how we should live, because it is founded upon an objective and quantifiable standard for a good life. In addition, through its foundation on hedonism, it offers an account of our motivation to act consistently upon our knowledge of what is right to do. I will argue that, long after the Protagoras, Plato remains committed to the metretike techne. While often regarded as an ad hominem device or as tongue-in-cheek, the idea of a metretike techne is, in fact, hugely important in shaping Plato's account of arete. In chapters 4-6I will trace the refinement of this sketch of arete through the Gorgias and Republic. Driving the process of refinement for Plato is the challenge of combining the practical strengths which he remains convinced that a metretike techne offers with his emerging account of a good and truly pleasant life as dependent upon order kosmos in the individual soul and in the state. From this process of refinement, as I will discuss in the final chapter, the basilikb techne, 3 the statesman's art, emerges in the Statesman as the basis of arete in the state. The basilike technd entails measurement of order in the state against the standard of 'due measure' to metrion . This art retains the key strengths of the original metretike techne, whilst responding to its weaknesses. So, in completing the portrait of the statesman, Socrates also completes a sketch of arete as measurement which he began in the Protagoras.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available