L’Ippia minore di Platone e il suo rapporto con Antistene (S.S.R. v A187)


  • Silvia Venturelli


Plato’s Hippias minor and its relation to Antistenes (S.S.R. v A187).

The relationship between Plato’s Hippias minor and Antisthenes’ fr. 187
has often been discussed. Many scholars have seen Plato’s dialogue as
a polemical reply to Antisthenes; recent studies, on the contrary, claim
that in this case there is no polemic between the two philosophers: rather,
they pursue the same aim, i.e. the rehabilitation of the Homeric hero
Odysseus. This interpretation, however, does not fit in with the real
purpose of the Platonic dialogue, where Hippias presents Odysseus as
a paradigm of evil person, and Socrates’ argumentation is devoted to
show the absurdities deriving from admitting that it is possible to do wrong willingly. On the other hand, Plato harshly criticizes the character
of Achilles, whom Hippias presents as a positive model in contrast
with Odysseus. This does not mean that Plato’s dialogue has to be read
as a polemical reply to Antisthenes: it is more likely that both thinkers
independently reply to the sophist Hippias, Antisthenes by defending
the character of Odysseus, and Plato by reducing ad absurdum the very
idea that underlies Hippias’ interpretation of Odysseus as a negative
moral example.