Man is the measure of all things  

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Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, see man is the measure of all things
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Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, see man is the measure of all things

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Man is the measure of all things"[1] is an aphorism by Protagoras.

The full dictum reads "Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not". Like many fragments of the Presocratics, this phrase has been passed down to us without any context, and its meaning is open to interpretation. However, the use of the word χρήματα (chrēmata) instead of the general word ὄντα (onta, entities) signifies that Protagoras was referring to things that are used by or in some way related to humans. This makes a great difference in the meaning of his aphorism. Properties, social entities, ideas, feelings, judgements, etc. are certainly χρήματα and hence originate in the human mind. However, Protagoras has never suggested that man must be the measure of the motion of the stars, the growing of plants or the activity of volcanoes.

Greek original

"πάντων χρημάτων μέτρον ἐστὶν ἄνθρωπος, τῶν μὲν ὄντων ὡς ἔστιν, τῶν δὲ οὐκ ὄντων ὡς οὐκ ἔστιν"

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Man is the measure of all things" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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