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image of Méthexis

This paper offers a detailed analysis of the first part of Hippias's speech in Plato's Protagoras (337 С 5-E 2). The aim of this analysis is to show the very richness of political notions and implications of Hippias's purpose, which one can be almost considered a sort of 5th century ВС philosophical hetairies's manifesto. Our analysis clarifies the meaning of Hippias's nomos/physis antithesis and it focuses on the philosophical value of these two terms. We try to reconstruct Hippias's conception of positive law and to specify the concept of wise men's relationships and affinity. That, however, does not support the idea of a cosmo-politanism grounded on mankind's universal relationship. Hippias's position – which has to be grasped on the basis of Hippias's ontology explained by an important passage of Plato's Hippias Major – rather sustains the idea of a sort of "aristocratic cosmopolitanism" connected to the philosophical hetairies: that implies the recognition of verified and enhanced differences.


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