Two great philosophers Socrates and Protagoras are outstanding figures that belong to the Ancient classical period.
Both of them spoke a lot about virtue, its essence and properties. Protagoras mentions virtue in the general sense of the word, besides he enumerates separate virtues such as justice, good sense and piety. Socrates defines virtue as knowledge. Socrates pays a lot of attention to the essence and the origin of some virtues. He raises a question: “Is it possible to consider that virtue in general is an entity and justice, good sense and piety are its constituent parts? Or are they different definitions of one and the same quality?”. Socrates seeks to find the proper definition for each virtue. He asks Protagoras whether a person should have all the virtues or he can possess only one. Protagoras gives a negative answer. He states that a man can be brave but unfair, fair but unwise and so on. The presence of one virtue does not imply the other ones. Socrates seeks to prove the unity of all virtues, so he compares them. They also speak about the possibility to teach virtue. The Socrates’ opinion is that it is impossible to teach someone to be virtuous. Protagoras is his opponent in this point of view, as his idea is that a person should be taught how to be virtuous. But neither Socrates not Protagoras gives the answer. The aim of these debates between them is not to find the truth, but to raise curiosity and therefore interest of the listeners. So people who are interested in this problem will try to find the solution themselves and will decide what the main virtues are.