April 26th, 2006

rock

king nomos

The last and the toughest among Socrates’ adversaries in Plato’s Gorgias, Callicles invokes law the sovereign of all, mortals and immortals, “νόμος ὁ πάντων βασιλεὺς θνατῶν τε καὶ ἀθανάτων”, at 484b-485d. He does so in support of his idea of natural justice, νόμος τῆς φύσεως. Callicles aims to distinguish what is conventionally fouler from what is naturally so. He seeks to undermine the authority of Socrates’ examination of justice by consigning all dialectical pettifoggery to the kindergarten. It is a fitting occupation for a lisping child, but when Callicles sees an elderly man still going on with philosophy and not getting rid of it, that is the man whom he thinks to be in need of a whipping: “ὅταν δὲ δὴ πρεσβύτερον ἴδω ἔτι φιλοσοφοῦντα καὶ μὴ ἀπαλλαττόμενον, πληγῶν μοι δοκεῖ ἤδη δεῖσθαι, ὦ Σώκρατες, οὗτος ὁ ἀνήρ.” Collapse )
Crossposted to [info]larvatus, [info]philosophy, [info]ancient_philo, and [info]academaios.