An introduction to Plato's Laws by R. F. Stalley

By R. F. Stalley

Reading the Republic regardless of the fewer widespread Laws can result in a distorted view of Plato's political idea. within the Republic the thinker describes his perfect urban; in his final and longest paintings he bargains with the extra distinctive issues considering establishing a second-best 'practical utopia.' The relative overlook of the Laws has stemmed principally from the obscurity of its sort and the obvious chaos of its association in order that, even if solid translations now exist, scholars of philosophy and political technological know-how nonetheless locate the textual content inaccessible. this primary full-length philosophical creation to the legislation will accordingly end up invaluable.

The starting chapters describe the final personality of the discussion and set it within the context of Plato's political philosophy as a complete. all of the last chapters offers with a unmarried subject, ranging over fabric scattered in the course of the textual content and so drawing jointly the threads of the argument in a stimulating and without problems understandable manner. these issues contain schooling, punishment, accountability, faith, advantage and delight in addition to political concerns and legislations itself. all through, the writer encourages the reader to imagine significantly approximately Plato's principles and to work out their relevance to present-day philosophical debate.

No wisdom of Greek is needed and just a constrained history in philosophy. even though aimed essentially at scholars, the publication can be of curiosity to extra complex readers because it offers for the 1st time a philosophical, instead of linguistic or old, observation at the Laws in English.

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G. 634de, 66 5 d -e, 715d-e). In th e constitution of the C retan city the im portant m agistrates m ust all be aged at least fifty (755a, 765d, 946a; cf. 951e, 961a). I f we take such passages at th e ir face value there are obvious p ro b lem s. T h ere is no reason w hy the judgm ents of the old should coincide w ith those o f rational insight. M oreover the old, though they have th e benefit of experience, are com m only supposed to be preju d iced and inflexible. T h u s th e assum ption th at they are the rep o sito ry o f tru th m ight be a recipe for sim ple conservatism .

I f we take such passages at th e ir face value there are obvious p ro b lem s. T h ere is no reason w hy the judgm ents of the old should coincide w ith those o f rational insight. M oreover the old, though they have th e benefit of experience, are com m only supposed to be preju d iced and inflexible. T h u s th e assum ption th at they are the rep o sito ry o f tru th m ight be a recipe for sim ple conservatism . W e may how ever be able to make a b etter case for Plato on the hypothesis that he is w riting at a ‘pop u lar level’.

Plato is concerned with all kinds of social norm , including the fundam ental principles of th e constitution, laws prohibiting crim es such as m urder and theft, the regulations that will govern agricultural and com m ercial activities, standards of religious observance, th e ways in which children will be b ro u g h t up and patterns o f sexual behaviour. He is aware th a t some aspects o f hum an behaviour cannot be governed by w ritten statutes enforced by the courts, but he does not consider that THE NATURE OF LAW 24 they th erefore fall outside th e scope o f nomos.

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