The said were weak because they hid

   The discussion between Callicles and Socrates started off with Callicles stating that law is bad and nature is good.

Callicles began to explain his claim about law and nature by saying that law was created by the many, whom he said were weak because they hid behind the law. He then proceeded to say that nature was created by the few, whom he said were strong because they did not hide behind any laws. He continued by saying that the written law only says what is just and unjust and that nature is what is actually just and unjust. Callicles then said that nature and law are opposed to each other when “the many” were ruling. Callicles believes that those who are weak should submit themselves to the strong and accept their inferiority.    In reply to Callicles’ claims, Socrates said that “the many” were altogether stronger than “the few” and could get “the few” to obey them.

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Callicles then changed his claim to say that if you are better or superior it does not necessarily make you stronger, instead it makes you more intelligent about the city. Callicles added that he thought that only the wisest and intelligent people should be allowed to rule the city. As a response to this addition, Socrates asked Callicles if whether they should rule themselves as well by ruling one’s pleasures and appetites and practicing self-control and self-mastery. Callicles stated that he believed that you should, in a sense, throw self-discipline and other forms of self-restraint out the window.

He said, is what would allow you to be happier and more powerful and allow these qualities and others like them to grow without any limitations of any kind. Socrates responded to Callicles’ claim by making an analogy of a leaking jar, in this analogy, he explained that just as a soul with no restraints would “always require more and more” a jar with holes in the sides would never be able to remain completely full. He stated that “justice equals temperance of the soul and its desires”. In response to Socrates’ analogy, Callicles said that a full jar does not need, or have room for, more pleasure, and said that “temperance and restraint are not desirable”. Callicles seemed to believe that once the jar is full then you cannot experience joy and/or pleasure of any kind.

To avoid this position Callicles turned his view into a strong hedonistic one, meaning that if you felt good while doing something then whatever you were doing was good/if you feel good, you are good. Socrates disagreed with this view, he did not believe that goodness consisted of unrestrained enjoyment.


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