The “debate” between Protagoras and Plato is an interesting exchange of ideas and comments of one to the other with their own rights and possibly wrongs. Protagoras takes a point of being well versed in the art of rhetoric as a way to “arm” a person in public cases and to teach the people on ways to converse better in a group to obtain a better result than if neither or one is better at conversing skills. Plato on the other hand takes a point to be dialectic in which, as the word goes, “cold hard truth” is all that people need and that only the truth is important while other things is trivial. To be a dialectic is to search for the truths of the world according to Plato.
Both sides are interesting but is there no middle ground between them? This can be compared to as the debate between arts and science. Protagoras would represent arts while Plato science. In the contemporary setting, arts and sciences are the two main choices to choose and every career in the world places in either one. However, some careers are placed in between both as they cover both sides such as psychology. In the older setting, rhetoric uses speech skills and mediation as its major teachings while dialectic uses science and mathematics with evidence as its teachings. What would be the middle ground between them however? In my opinion, it could probably be Plato’s Cave (I’m sorry Plato). Plato’s Cave refers to the notion that people are chained in a cave for their whole life with the only light source behind them and everything they know comes from their shadow, but there’s a whole other world outside the cave that they cannot see as all they know is the shadow in front of them. The way Plato’s Cave is presented to people is done through rhetoric as the argument of Plato’s Cave requires persuasion to the masses, thus requiring rhetoric to appeal to the masses.
Although my personal “argument” may be skewed towards rhetoric (as I do practice mediation on day to day basis and am a Psychology major), but personally the argument between Plato and Protagoras is meaningless in the sense that if they were to work together, the potential of improvement and the “endless possibilities shall open up”. As much as they stand on their own, without rhetoric, dialectics would not be able to convey their findings to the masses without them getting confused. Without dialectics, rhetoricians would not be able to learn about the truths to base their words on. Just like the light cannot shine without creating darkness nor do darkness exist if there is no light, maybe finding the middle ground is the best answer to the argument of who is the best when both are equally important to itself and to one another.