Irony and refutation: the elenchos of Callicles in Plato's Gorgias


  • Martín Forciniti Universidad de Buenos Aires – Buenos Aires – Argentina



Elenchos, Irony, Socrates, Callicles, Politics


In this work I use the concept of irony to analyze the elenchos that Socrates practices on the opinions of Callicles in the Gorgias. I assume as a starting point that Socrates aims at the modification of his interlocutor´s animic disposition, adopting a philosophical way of life and abandoning the rhetorical one. To do this, he develops an ironic elenchos that has three moments: a feigned acceptance by Socrates of the dichotomy presented by Callicles between the life of the politician, worthy of imitation, and that of the philosopher, worthy of reproach; a reversal of that dichotomy; and finally, a questioning of that reversal. I will conclude by arguing that this third moment constitutes a new Socratic maneuver to urge Callicles to suspend his political activities, and previously examine philosophically with him the way to become virtuous.


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How to Cite

Forciniti , M. . (2022). Irony and refutation: the elenchos of Callicles in Plato’s Gorgias. Revista Archai, (32), e03211.



Dossier Archai: Dialectic and Refutation in Plato and Aristotle