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In Our Time

Plato's Gorgias


Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss one of Plato's most striking dialogues, in which he addresses the real nature of power and freedom, and the relationship between pleasure and true self-interest. As he tests these ideas, Plato creates powerful speeches, notably from Callicles who claims that laws of nature trump man-made laws, that might is right, and that rules are made by weak people to constrain the strong in defiance of what is natural and proper. Gorgias is arguably the most personal of all of Plato's dialogues, with its hints of a simmering fury at the system in Athens that put his mentor Socrates to death, and where rhetoric held too much sway over people.


Angie Hobbs
Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield

Frisbee Sheffield
University Lecturer in Classics and Fellow of Downing College, University of Cambridge


Fiona Leigh
Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at University College London

Producer: Simon Tillotson