Man is the measure of all things

Socrates: Gidday Protagoras, what are you up to?

Protagoras: Just trying out these tinted glasses. I have red ones and blue ones. I’m currently wearing the red ones and the world is red to me.

Socrates: The world ain’t red, you tosser.

Protagoras: You think? Here, try on these blue glasses and tell me what you see.

Socrates: The world is blue!

Protagoras: Exactly! Do you see that the world is coloured through the glasses you wear? The world is different according to the glasses you wear, or if you wear none at all. It depends on your perspective. Man is the measure of all things.

Socrates: But I wasn’t wearing glasses before; I was seeing the world objectively then.

Protagoras: You forget about your cataracts, Socrates. How can you claim that there is an objective world and that you know it if you have cataracts?

Socrates: But what if I didn’t have cataracts?

Protagoras: You wouldn’t see the world through cataracts.

Socrates: I know that. The point I’m trying to make is that my hypothetical perspective without glasses or cataracts would have me seeing an objective world.

Protagoras: I’m sure that claim is true for you, Socrates, but do remember you have cataracts. Everyone has tinted glasses and they see the world differently, although people with the similarly-coloured glasses tend to see the world the same. I know this because I’ve talked to people, seen their glasses, and been told how they see the world. Did you perform a similar inductive exercise before proposing your hypothetical?

Socrates: No.

Protagoras: Than piss off, wanker.


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