From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Callicles (/ˈkælɪklz/; Greek: Καλλικλῆς; c. 484 – late 5th century BCE) was an ancient Athenian political philosopher best remembered for his role in Plato’s dialogue Gorgias, where he "presents himself as a no-holds-barred, bare-knuckled, clear-headed advocate of Realpolitik."[1]

Callicles is depicted as a young student of the sophist Gorgias. In the dialogue named for his teacher, he argues the position of an oligarchic amoralism, stating that it is natural and just for the strong to dominate the weak and that it is unfair for the weak to resist such oppression by establishing laws to limit the power of the strong. He asserts that the institutions and moral code of his time were not established by gods but by men who naturally were looking after their own interests.

Despite the scant surviving sources for his thought, he served as influential to modern political philosophy, notably including Friedrich Nietzsche.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charles L. Griswold. "Plato on Rhetoric and Poetry". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 
  2. ^ Debra Nails, The people of Plato: a prosopography of Plato and other Socratics. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2002

External links[edit]