In this reading, Callicles interrogates Aristotle and tests his assertions.  He accuses Aristotle of manipulating both Polus and Gorgias into agreeing with him by strategically interchanging nature with convention, and vice versa. Unlike Polus or Gorgias, Callicles is not afraid to speak honestly to Aristotle, comparing him to a grown man fussing over the activities better left to small children and immature minds.

Callicles tells Aristotle that he is far too old to still be obsessed with philosophical pursuits. He compares the study of philosophy to stammering and playfulness. When young enough, this kind of behavior is perfectly acceptable. In fact, youthful interest in philosophy shows an open-mindedness that shows high self-worth and potential. But in the case of a grown man, stammering and childish games seem quite inappropriate, as do the foolish pursuits of philosophy. According to Callicles, this kind of activity if not dropped by the time of adulthood can prevent even a naturally gifted person from becoming a real man because he is avoiding the heart of his community.

Callicles’ criticisms of Aristotle were quite harsh, in my opinion. Philosophical pursuits are only sought after for an extended period of time by the most excellent minds. This kind of inquiry requires patience and contemplation that may last the entirety of a philosopher’s life. A true philosopher will never discontinue his pursuit if he was ever truly passionate about it in the first place. This lifelong dedication to philosophical inquiry shows passion and intelligence, rather than stammering childishness.

 

 

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