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Callicles (late 5th century BC)

DOI
10.4324/9780415249126-A025-1
DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A025-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved November 18, 2019, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/callicles-late-5th-century-bc/v-1

Article Summary

Callicles, although known only as a character in Plato’s Gorgias (the dramatic date of which is somewhere between 430 and 405 bc), was probably an actual historical person. Employing a distinction between nature (physis) and convention (nomos), he argues eloquently that the naturally superior should seize both political power and a greater share of material goods: it is only a convention of the weak majority which labels such behaviour unjust. In private life the superior should indulge their desires freely: excess and licence are true virtue and happiness.

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Citing this article:
Hobbs, Angela. Callicles (late 5th century BC), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A025-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/callicles-late-5th-century-bc/v-1.
Copyright © 1998-2019 Routledge.

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