Alltings mått: frågan om Protagoras' humanism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In opposition to the traditional interpretation of Protagoras's Homo Mensura-Satz ("Man is the measure of all things") as a founding tenet of Western humanism, this essay challenges the notion of an inherent anthropocentrism of the dictum (that all things are relative to man as species or individual). In a reading of the most important sources of antiquity, namely Plato, Aristotle and Sextus Empiricus, the sophist rather appears to base his thesis on ideas in Presocratic philosophy of nature as a becoming. The measure is then the capturing of a state of things out of this flow in a moment of perception, which is thought as the material relationship between the momentary qualitites of that which perceives and that which is perceived. Consequently, it is the measure which is central, not man, who is yet another instance of confluent qualities out of the potentiality of things; but man, like everything else, can always become anything else, including the non-human.


  • Jonnie Eriksson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Ideas


  • Homo mensura-satsen, Platon, Protagoras, sofistik, försokratisk naturfilosofi, antropocentrism, humanism, relativism.
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)74-81
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch