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Although often dismissed as a villain, Callicles’ views about philosophy, politics, and human nature expressed in his speech in Plato’s Gorgias criticizing Socrates turn-out to be similar to Socrates’ own thoughts about philosophy, politics, and human nature when compared to Socrates’ arguments in other dialogues such as the Republic. However, Socrates obfuscates these similarities through his use of rhetoric in the latter part of the dialogue in order to conceal a more fundamental disagreement about the priority and relationship of philosophy and politics. This similarity and obfuscation constitutes an important and overlooked teaching of Plato’s Gorgias.

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Southwest Social Science Conference (Austin, TX)