Polytropic Socrates’ Implicit Defence of Philosophy

Lying, Justice, and Sophistry in Plato’s Lesser Hippias

  • Samantha Trudeau Carroll College
Keywords: Hippias, Justice, Plato, Political Philosophy, Socrates, Sophists

Abstract

This article offers an interpretation of Plato’s Lesser Hippias, containing several original claims. First, it contends that the dialogue takes place in front of an unnamed audience composed of Socrates’ students and the dialogue is therefore for their benefit, not that of Hippias or Eudicus. It then argues that Socrates juxtaposes himself to Hippias to show the superiority of philosophy to sophistry. Finally, this article claims that the central argument of the dialogue is a means to demonstrate Socrates’ superior understanding of justice, for he is able to tell the truth on the matter as well as lie, showing mastery of both philosophy and sophistry. These assertions demonstrate the importance of the Lesser Hippias in the broader Platonic corpus.

Author Biography

Samantha Trudeau, Carroll College

Samantha Trudeau, from Washington (US), is graduating from Carroll College with her Bachelor’s degree in political science in 2020. She plans to pursue a PhD in political theory starting in the fall of 2020. Her current research project is examining Nietzsche’s treatment of women and marriage in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Her research interests focus around the political thought of Plato, Xenophon, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Hannah Arendt. E-mail: samantha.m.trudeau@gmail.com.

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Published
2019-12-13
How to Cite
Trudeau, S. (2019). Polytropic Socrates’ Implicit Defence of Philosophy: Lying, Justice, and Sophistry in Plato’s Lesser Hippias. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 43, 50-64. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.43.3
Section
Articles