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Is Greed Good?: An Interpretation of Plato’s Hipparchus

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image of Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought

The Hipparchus features a conversation between Socrates and an un-named companion, at an unknown time and place, about gain (or profit) and whether we should in any way limit our pursuit of gain. Socrates argues intransigently that we should not place any limits on our pursuit of gain, while the companion, despite being unable to counter his arguments, is equally firm in his rejection of Socrates’ moral position. The dialogue thus shows the strength of the conviction, in the souls of decent people, that unrestrained pursuit of the good things is not good for you. This conviction exists prior to calculation, and the action of the dialogue thereby testifies to the existence of man’s natural conscience.

10.1163/20512996-90000161
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2010-01-01
2018-10-17

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