Hippias Minor or The Art of Cunning

Badlands Unlimited, New York.



152 pages

6 x 9 inches

By Plato
Translation by Sara Ruden
Edited by Paul Chan
Book design by Paul Chan
Badlands Unlimited, New York


Artist Page

Paul Chan: Editor, Designer.

One of Plato’s most controversial dialogues, Hippias Minor details Socrates’s confounding arguments that there is no difference between a person who tells the truth and one who lies, and that the good man is the one who willingly makes mistakes and does wrong and unjust things. But what if Socrates wasn’t championing the act of lying—as it has been traditionally interpreted—but, rather, advocating for a novel way of understanding the power of the creative act? In this exceptional translation by Sarah Ruden, Hippias Minor is rendered anew as a provocative dialogue about how art is a form of wrongdoing, and that understanding it makes life more ethical by paradoxically teaching one to be more cunning. An introduction by artist Paul Chan situates Hippias Minor in a wider philosophical and historical context, and an essay by classicist Richard Fletcher grapples with the radical implications of this new translation in light of Chan’s work and contemporary art today.

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