Abstract

Shame is a theme that permeates Plato's Gorgias. While every interlocutor accuses each other of feeling ashamed, Socrates's arguments also depend on judgments about what is shameful. This essay offers an account of the sources of shame for Polus, Socrates, and Callicles. A source of shame determines whose value judgments are relevant for feelings of shame. I argue that Polus has other-sourced shame, whereas Socrates and Callicles both have self-sourced shame. Socrates and Callicles are distinguished by their conceptions of the good life. The Gorgias's complex portrayal of shame shows why shame is essential to Socrates's discussions and refutations.

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