the laws, plato summary

the laws, plato summary

This lends credence to thinking that the ideal city described in the Laws is not the Callipolis. The major intent of the debate in the Republic is to determine an extended definition of what constitutes Justice in a given state, whether or not a concept of Justice may be determined by citizens in a given state at the time that Plato is writing, and how Justice may be accomplished in a given state (how laws might be enacted that would serve the citizens of a just state in courts of law). Now if the gods could neglect humans it would be through ignorance, lack of power, or vice. Platoapparently considered most of his fellow Athenians to be hopelesslycorrupt, easily infla… Under the ruler of Cyrus, there was a balance of freedom and subjection. The Athenian clearly wants citizens to obey the law voluntarily. Of course, Plato does not provide the details of the marriage laws surrounding the working class citizens and for all we know these might have been similar to the ones in Magnesia. Having described a moderate political system in Sparta, the Athenian discusses two states that stand as opposites to each other: Athens and Persia. The nocturnal council is an elite group of elderly citizens, who have proven their worth by winning honors and have traveled abroad to learn from other states. Whatever the answer is, it is clear that Plato thinks that belief in god is in some way tied to thinking that morality is objective. The main evidence in support of this reading is found in the preludes themselves. Second, the inclusion of comedy reflects the lessons of the discussion concerning drunkenness; we can only learn to resist doing shameful behavior if we have some exposure to it. This leads to an inquiry into what customs Sparta and Crete have for developing moderation. The Athenian asserts that it was the result of a type of ignorance that is the discordance between one’s emotions and one’s judgments (689a-c). Second, the only way to consistently achieve a balanced political system is if the citizens receive a proper education. However, when discussing voluntary and involuntary injustice the terms are used in the Socratic sense, reflecting what an agent deeply desires and wishes. The former is a voluntary harm, while the latter is an involuntary harm. Cicero  (Laws 1.5.15) holds that he is Plato himself, while others speculate that he is supposed to remind the reader of the Athenian politician Solon. The same principle applies to wealth. However, because the gods clearly are not like this, the gods must care about the affairs of humans (901e-903a). These duties fall under three main headings: to the soul, to the body, and to other citizens. The myth moves individuals away from their own selfish concerns to the good of everyone generally. In having the characters put forth the particular positions that they do, Plato is asking us to reflect on the way in which political institutions shape citizens’ values. This is because he thinks that it is well agreed by Greek and non-Greeks that certain visible celestial bodies are gods (885e). That being said, much of the Laws issues warnings about unrestricted power (see especially 3.691a-d, 4.713c, 9.875a-b); thus, it would be strange for the book to end with a renunciation of this thesis. Thus, Plato wants to preserve the voluntary thesis, while abandoning (or qualifying) the ignorance thesis by allowing for the possibility that anger and pleasure can move one to act unjustly. The Athenian explains that although Cronos’ reign is over and divine beings no longer guide us, within human beings is a divine element, namely, reason. Discusses the historical and cultural context underlying the laws of Magnesia. In addition, in the Laws Plato defends several positions that appear in tension with ideas expressed in his other works. However, the allegiance dissolved with only Sparta surviving the fallout with any kind of success. Below is a sketch of the main educative laws and principles. Ida, where Minos himself is said to have received instruction on lawgiving from the god. There are two related ways in which physical movement affects one’s character. Magnesia will be located on an isolated Cretan island, roughly nine or ten miles inland. Third, for his time, Plato is actually progressive in his views of women. In addition, it breaks the text into smaller sections, offering a brief analysis of each. Strictly speaking, the passage only says that the ideal city is one where everything is held in common, and in the Callipolis only the guardians hold things in common. After expressing that citizens ought to care for others, the Athenian offers a fascinating argument in defense of the virtuous life. Plato was not the only Ancient Greek author writing about the law systems of his day, and making comparisons between the Athenian and the Spartan laws. A classic study of Plato’s political thought. Traditionally, the Minos is thought to be the preface, and the Epinomis the epilogue, to the Laws, but these are generally considered by scholars to be spurious.[4]. This returns us to the discussion of education in Books 1 and 2, where we are told that in order for a city to flourish its citizens must cultivate the appropriate affective responses. In the Republic (see also, the Phaedrus 246a-254e), the three parts of the soul are: the reasoning/calculating part, the spirited part, and the appetitive parts. The guardians of the law are made up of thirty-seven citizens aged at least fifty. 4.1 Plato’s Life and Times Born into an aristocratic and influential Athenian family, and raised during the Peloponnesian War, Plato’s family expected him to go into politics, but he fell in love with philosophy. The book is a conversation on political philosophy between three elderly men: an unnamed Athenian, a Spartan named Megillus, and a Cretan named Clinias. Instead of blending freedom and subjection as their father did, his sons were violent and demanded submission (695b). Other people are blind compared to them. The Athenian begins by talking about the traditional idea that developed culture is repeatedly annihilated by a great flood. For example, impractical and unrealistic techniques will be forbidden (796a, 813e, and 814d) and armed competitions will be emphasized (833e-834a). Laws 795e. However, upon the death of Cyrus, disaster ensued. Laws 803d. Punishment must not simply look to the harm that is caused, but must look to the psychological state under which injury resulted. 278e, 283c–287c (where 285a–b serves as a compact summary of the method so far). 44 Plat. Megillus and Clinias are quite skeptical and ask the Athenian to explain how wine affects the soul. This is because no one desires what is bad for them and injustice is bad for one, so no one desires injustice. and trans.) But what type of earthly rulers do the gods resemble? Christopher Bobonich (2002) has argued that this new perspective is the result of Plato changing his mind about psychology, abandoning the view of the Republic in which the soul has parts and replacing it with a more unified conception of human agency and motivation. Introductory conversation (624a-625c) The divine origin of legislation, and the human project of inquiring into laws. Lesson Summary. The myth explains that during Cronos’ rule, life was blessed and happy. In both the Republic and the Laws,Plato identifies education as one of the most important aspectsof a healthy state. It ends in the pursuit of knowledge, or the love of wisdom, which is philosophy. It presents a problem for the former because it suggests that the pull of reason/calculation can be overcome by the emotions (the hard and violent cords) (see also 3.689c and 9.734b). The names that appear most frequently will be assembled into a list from which citizens will cast their votes. The idea is that the virtues always contribute to human flourishing, but things that are commonly thought to do so, such as wealth and beauty, will not do so unless one possesses virtue. Divine goods are superior to human goods in that human goods depend on divine goods, but divine goods do not depend on anything. This is relevant for two reasons. Plato, Laws ("Agamemnon", "Hom. For example, in the Timaeus (42e-44d), evil is said to come from disorderly movements associated with necessity, in the Theaetetus (176a-b), evil is said to come from mortals, and in the Statesman (269c-270a), evil is said to come from god releasing control. In the Callipolis, the philosopher rulers have absolute power, but it is far from clear whether this is the case for the nocturnal council. Each household will be allotted to plots of land (one near the city center and one located further away) and these plots of land are inalienable to the holder’s family. Although the land will not be farmed in common, it is to be considered a part of the common property, and shareholders must make public contributions. From the myth of Cronus, it is clear that the law should be rational, but who should it serve and where does its authority lie? In the 21st century, there has been a growing interest among philosophers in the study of the Laws. Having taking himself to refute atheism, the Athenian takes on deism and traditional theism. However, as one ages, one grows despondent and less interested in song and dance. 3rd edition revised and corrected (Oxford University Press, 1892). In Book 6, the Athenian advocates for the inclusion of women in the practice of common meals, an inclusion that Aristotle lists as something peculiar to Plato (Politics 2.12.1274b10-11). This is only the first part of a lengthy, 200 page Introduction Jowett wrote. • (625a-c) A discussion of “constitutions and laws” proposed to fill the Argos’ and Messene’s respective leaders suffered from this type of ignorance and the negative consequences of this were exacerbated by the fact that they had absolute power (690d-691d). 347), returned thither twelve years later (B.C. The Athenian’s policy concerning musical education extends the views discussed in Books 1 and 2 in two ways. Book 6 presents the details of the various offices and legal positions in Magnesia and ends by examining marriage. There are two types of craft. Plato was a Greek philosopher known and recognized for having allowed such a considerable philosophical work.. 45 Plat. After all, it might be good for me to be physically healthy, but it doesn’t seem like I’m violating a duty if I’m not. Presents an alternative reading of the puppet metaphor according to which it does not support weakness of will. Now that the importance of virtue is established, the Athenian challenges his interlocutors to identify the laws and customs of their home cities that develop virtue. ", Hunter, Virginia. The Laws is made up of twelve books. It is worth pointing out that the use of imprisonment as punishment in Greek society appears to be an innovation of Plato. The leaders and citizens of each state bound each other to oaths to respect each other’s rights and to come to each other’s aid if they should be threatened. Book 2 continues the discussion surrounding drinking parties and education. From this he concludes that soul is the first source of movement and change in everything and is prior to material things (896c-d). In the Republic, farmers and artisans do not receive philosophical training, but on this reading the citizens of Magnesia will come to grasp some of the underlying philosophical reasons behind the law. One cord is sacred and golden. For example, I might intentionally bump my coffee cup so that it spills on your computer or I might accidentally do this. Within the discussion of miscellaneous laws, the Athenian discusses an important office, “the scrutineers” (12.945b-948b). The goal of law is to help its citizens flourish, and the most direct route to this is developing virtue in them. Examples include conversations on whether drunkenness should be allowed in the city, how citizens should hunt, and how to punish suicide. Because the fundamental goal is victory in war, Clinias and Megillus maintain that the primary purpose of education is to make citizens courageous. Stalley, R. “Persuasion in Plato’s Laws.”, Williams, D. L. “Plato’s Noble Lie: From Kallipolis to Magnesia.”. There are three main interpretations. In other words, in the Laws, the non-rational part of the soul subsumes both the appetitive and the spirited part. 9.1", "denarius") All Search Options [view abbreviations] Home Collections/Texts Perseus Catalog Research Grants Open Source About Help. The Athenian aims to show that the virtuous life will lead to more pleasure than pain. The conversation shifts to the question of the purpose of government. Florida Atlantic University Like Minos, they too will found their political system on their understanding of the gods. From this, it is agreed that no citizen who suffers this ignorance should have any degree of power (689c-e).

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