By R. F. Stalley
Reading the Republic irrespective of the fewer customary Laws can result in a distorted view of Plato's political thought. within the Republic the thinker describes his perfect urban; in his final and longest paintings he bargains with the extra precise concerns inquisitive about developing a second-best 'practical utopia.' The relative forget of the Laws has stemmed mostly from the obscurity of its type and the plain chaos of its association in order that, even though reliable 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 as a result end up invaluable.
The commencing chapters describe the overall personality of the discussion and set it within the context of Plato's political philosophy as an entire. all of the ultimate chapters offers with a unmarried subject, ranging over fabric scattered throughout the textual content and so drawing jointly the threads of the argument in a stimulating and with ease understandable method. these subject matters contain schooling, punishment, accountability, faith, advantage and delight in addition to political issues and legislation itself. all through, the writer encourages the reader to imagine significantly approximately Plato's rules and to determine their relevance to present-day philosophical debate.
No wisdom of Greek is needed and just a restricted history in philosophy. even if aimed basically at scholars, the publication may also be of curiosity to extra complex readers because it presents for the 1st time a philosophical, in preference to linguistic or ancient, remark at the Laws in English.
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Extra info for An introduction to Plato's Laws
T h e ‘d o u b le’ m ethod is taken to be tw ice as valuable as th e single (720e-722c). T h e im plication of this is th a t the lawgiver m ust in stru c t and educate the citizens (857c-e). He will do this by m eans of pream bles which use persuasion rather than th reats to produce the req u ired behaviour (722c-723d). T h e A thenian follows the ‘d ouble’ m ethod b o th by setting out a general pream ble or prelude to the whole legal system (726a-734e) and by providing pream bles for individual laws.
Tw ice in this section the A thenian reiterates th e doctrin e o f 631c-632d th at the end o f legislation is com plete virtue (6 8 8 a-b , 697b-c). T he dom inant them e in this p art o f th e dialogue is the need for the virtue of tem perance or self-control. Since the A thenian regards this as an essential p reco n d itio n o f th e o th e r v irtu es, his doctrine here is consistent with th e idea that legislation should seek to make the citizens virtuous. But he also m aintains th a t the aim of legislation is freedom , friendship and w isdom (693b-c; cf.
Sim ilarly th ere are tw o m ethods of legislation, the ‘single’ m ethod w hich sim ply lays dow n penalties for certain kinds of act, and the ‘d o u b le’ m ethod in w hich the prescription of the penalty is preceded by an attem p t to show why the acts in question are wrong and to persuade people not to do them . T h e ‘d o u b le’ m ethod is taken to be tw ice as valuable as th e single (720e-722c). T h e im plication of this is th a t the lawgiver m ust in stru c t and educate the citizens (857c-e).
An introduction to Plato's Laws by R. F. Stalley