Classical Quarterly 31 (2):287-304 (1981)

Roslyn Weiss
Lehigh University
This paper is an attempt so to construe the arguments of the Hippias Minor as to remove the justification for regarding it as unworthy of Plato either because of its alleged fallaciousness and Sophistic mode of argument or because of its alleged immorality. It focuses, therefore, only on the arguments and their conclusions, steering clear of the dialogue's dramatic and literary aspects. Whereas I do not wish to deny the importance of these aspects to a proper understanding of the dialogue – on the contrary, in a dialogue so heavily laden with irony and caricature, these aspects are necessarily more significant than they are in other dialogues – I do think there is something to be gained from concentrating on the arguments themselves. Although there can be little doubt that Socrates is up to something in the Hippias Minor, the task of determining just what he is up to can only be simplified by clarifying the arguments first. The Hippias Minor has traditionally been thought to contain two independent arguments, each having its own paradoxical conclusion. The first argument begins, it is said, when Hippias characterizes the two Homeric heroes Achilles and Odysseus as the true man and the false man respectively. Through its discovery that both the false man and the true man have δύναμις, it results in the paradox that the false man and the true are identical. The second argument, on this view, leaves the subject of ληθς and ψευδς and compares instead all sorts of agents in intentional and unintentional action. Finding that the intentional agent is in every case better than the unintentional, the argument concludes that the intentional evil-doer is also better than the unintentional. Viewing the dialogue as thus containing two distinct topics treated in two self-sufficient arguments is perhaps not the best way to understand it
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DOI 10.1017/s0009838800009605
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References found in this work BETA

Plato's Earlier Dialectic.Jason Xenakis - 1955 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 15 (3):436-437.
Plato's Lesser Hippias.Robert G. Hoerber - 1962 - Phronesis 7 (2):121 - 131.

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Hipias Menor.Sergio Ariza - 2017 - Ideas Y Valores 66 (163):333-354.

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