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Durham e-Theses
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Introduction of a methodology- for reading plato's dialogues and analysis of the hippias minor

Taki, Akitsugu (1995) Introduction of a methodology- for reading plato's dialogues and analysis of the hippias minor. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This work presents a reading of the whole and parts of Plato's Hippias Minor, independently of his other dialogues, on the premise that we cannot legitimately reduce Plato's characters' speech in a dialogue to his indirect speech. Hence the crux is analysis of Plato's interlocutors' interplay, but not his thought or Socrates' doctrine. The Hippias Minor properly provokes in readers intertwined paradoxical questions centred on two conversational conclusions: 'All and only false men are true' and 'All and only those are good who do injustice as they wish to'. In reply to Socrates' fishing question in Homeric context, Hippias, shackled by his boast of polymathy, allows the possibility of deceit as achievement, despite his persistence in the usual dispositional sense of honesty. This unanalysed idea of Hippias' and Socrates' rhetoric invites Hippias' public downfall. He is forced to accept the first conclusion by his commitment to the commissive sense of "speaking falsely' and the reciprocity of ability with actuality. Led into a respondent's role again by Socrates' long ex post facto speeches, Hippias resists Socrates' push towards the moral implication of the first conclusion; the preferability of whose who do injustice as they wish to. Socrates rhetorically pushes Hippias to the preferability by a circumventive arrangement of analogical topics and, further, by a trilemma argument on the assumption that justice is an ability and/or a knowledge. Each time Hippias affirms the propositions embodied in Socrates' questions, but he rootedly rejects the preferability. Socrates does not necessarily commit himself to the craft-analogy and justice as a knowledge, but, finally, questioning the existence of those doing justice as they wish to, scuttles the trilemma argument. Socrates' implication by this question is irreconcilable with his preceding presuppositions, but he suggests Hippias' inconsistency in his commitment to justice in an achievement sense.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1995
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Oct 2012 11:51

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