|Sent on:||Sunday, February 16, 2014 12:10 AM|
Announcing a new Meetup for The Chicago Philosophy Meetup!
What: Plato's Hippias, On Lying
When: Saturday, March 22,[masked]:00 PM
Where: Eva's Cafe
1447 N Sedgwick
Chicago, IL 60610
In Hippias Minor, Socrates gets into a most unusual debate with Hippias, a famous sophist and Homer scholar, over which kind of liar is best. Socrates makes the surprising claim: that an intentional wrongdoer is better than the unintentional wrongdoer.
Is this the same Socrates who says that man should never intentionally commit injustice? (The Crito)
As always, context is key. The debate is rooted in a literary question about whom Homer intended to portray as the better man, Achilles or Odysseus. This soon turns to questions on the nature of the courage and wisdom.
Still, given that Socrates is famously the one responsible for ushering in a new philosophically enlightened age, why would he side with the warrior Achilles in praising him as the best kind of liar?
Is this a debate Socrates wants to win? Or does he intentionally throw the fight? Or perhaps (as Wikipedia suggests) Socrates indeed wins the debate, and then throws the trophy back at the sophist, who never knew what hit him. Readers for centuries have been hard pressed to judge the match.
As always with Plato surely something bigger is at work behind the scenes.