Who is Callicles (Callicles)?

Who is Callicles (Callicles)?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Callicles, one of the late sophists, whose information we got from Plato, based on Thrasymachus’ thought that it is natural and fair for the strong to be the master of the weak, in the Gorgias dialogue, in his observation, just like in the common defense of people against wild animals before society, they are also more inwardly. He realized that they formed an alliance against the smart and strong, and that a group in which the weak were in the majority created laws in order to keep the strong, who were in the minority, under control.

Thus, according to Callicles, weak men, the majority, curb by intimidating and deterring the strong from gaining more, dominating, advancing, and wanting more, and characterize this impulse as ugly. This is against nature and therefore unjust.

Callicles, in response to Socrates’ statement that “it is better to suffer evil than to do evil” in the dialogue, takes the nature-law distinction and expresses that this view is contrary to human nature and experience and cannot be accepted, and explains the motives that should be triggered by human nature with the following words:

“I will tell you plainly what is beautiful and right by nature: the one who will live right must let go of his ambitions to grow to the fullest, not restrain them, no matter how great they may be, and when they are at their most mature he must fulfill every desire that arises within him by means of courage and wisdom. Live in abundance. “Do what you want, freedom, that is virtue and fortune. The rest is just good thoughts, unnatural rules, nonsense and vain.”

Ahmet Arslan makes the following inferences about Calllicles in the 2nd volume of the History of Ancient Philosophy:

“As we have seen, we are in front of a man who expressed the will to power view at least as clearly as Nietzsche, about 2400 years before Nietzsche. Again, we see the same criticisms Nietzsche made when opposing Christian morality, what he calls the morality of the weak or the slaves. Like Nietzsche, Kalkles also wants his superior man to be protected from all kinds of moral concerns. In Callicles, what society considered virtues until then turns into vice: temperance, frugality, altruism, self-control, and the like are not virtues. smugness, greed, altruism to selfishness, self-control and self-restraint surrender to their desires. Also, these thoughts were not only abstract and academic thoughts that existed in the mind of a man like Kalkles during this period. In Athens, rich people who applied these thoughts to their own lives and put them into practice. , strong, passion There are also people like Alcibiades and Kritias who own this…”

Callicles seems to be in favor of the understanding that inequality between people is natural. According to him, people glorify many things that are cowardly against their nature. All these glorified things are about cowardly equality and the protection of the powerless. It is to say that protecting the weak is a virtue. However, what is beautiful and right for a person according to nature is to maximize his ambitions and to live without hindering any of them.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook