While reading the Callicles section of Gorgias I found his discussion on philosophers to be particularly interesting. He states “it’s fine for a person to dabble in philosophy when he’s the right age for it, but it ruins him if he devotes too much of his life to it” (67). He adds that philosophers are “completely out of touch with human nature” (67).
Callicles believes that a person should not spend too much time studying philosophy. He says that if a person attributes all of his time to philosophy they will miss out on the experiences that allow one to be a gentleman with a standing in society. A person who devotes all of their time to philosophy will not understand parts of their community; such as, the legal system, politics, and leisure activities. Callicles says that one will not develop into a ‘real man’ because he avoids his community. This person “whispers in a corner with three or four young men, rather than giving open expression to important and significant ideas” (68). In summary, Callicles criticizes the philosopher for their isolation from their community which hinders their development as a person.
These passages stuck out to me because Callicles theory differs so greatly from other philosophers that we have studied. Aristotle believes that one is a philosopher only if they devote their lives to gaining knowledge out of pure enjoyment. Callicles opinion greatly differs from this. Callicles destroys this definition of philosophy and gives a reasonable explanation for why this happens. I definitely agree with Callicles opinion on this topic. I think it is common for a person to become overwhelmed with one thing which causes them to completely forget about other important things. People often find it difficult to spread their attention to multiple areas, so they instead focus heavily on one specific area.