Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.



Callicles (late 5th century BC)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-A025-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved January 20, 2021, from

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.

Citing this article:
Hobbs, Angela. Callicles (late 5th century BC), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-A025-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2021 Routledge.

Related Searches


Related Articles