[In Our Time] Plato’s Gorgias

Plato’s Gorgias 25/11/21 by BBC Radio 4

Web player: https://podcastaddict.com/episode/131775803

Episode: http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/6/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/http/vpid/p0b5z2ms.mp3

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

Listen date: 5 January 2021

Hell, I remember absolutely nothing from this episode. Except that Plato may have travelled from Greece to Southern Italy to study, and seen tyranny first hand over there. And moreover that he became antidemocratic seeing what the mob had done to Socrates, which feeds into why The Republic wants philosopher kings. Which ties in again with the previous episode on The Decadent Movement.

Is In Our Time moving past subtweeting Brexit to subtweeting democracy itself?

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