Johnson, Robert David
David M.s Johnson
In two passages from Xenophon’s Memorabilia, Socrates refutes Aristippus, first by a rather brutal brand of Realpolitik (2.1), then by refusing to answer Aristippus’ questions about the good and the beautiful (3.8). This article argues that the nasty politics that emerge in Memorabilia 2.1 are not Socratic, but rather the natural consequence of Aristippean hedonism. Political considerations of another sort drive Socrates’ tactics in Memorabilia 3.8, where his evasive manoeuvres are driven by his desire to avoid a direct confrontation with hedonism. ocrates’ own views are hedonistic in some sense, as revealed by his otherwise irrelevant discussion of pleasing home plans and altar sites at the end of 3.8, but Socrates does not wish to reveal as much to companions lacking his self-control. Socrates’ treatment of Aristippus has as much to do with politics as with pleasure.