"Leisured Aristocrats or Warrior-Farmers? Unlike most of Plato's dialogues, Socrates does not appear in the Laws: the dialogue takes place on the island of Crete, and Socrates appears outside of Athens in Plato's writings only twice, in the Phaedrus, where he is just outside the city's walls, and in the Republic, where he goes down to the seaport Piraeus five miles outside of Athens. The Athenian responds by defending an alternative cosmology, which reverses the priority of soul and matter. ATHENIAN: And therefore let us proceed with our legislation until we have Consequently, the educative system should not focus exclusively on cultivating courage in its citizens, but should develop virtue in its entirety, including not only courage but wisdom, moderation and justice as well (630d-631d). In The Laws, Plato describes in fascinating detail a comprehensive system of legislation in a small agricultural utopia he named Magnesia.His laws not only govern crime and punishment but also form a code of conduct for all aspects of life in his ideal state—from education, sports, and religion to sexual behavior, marriage, and drinking parties. However, once the threat from Persia was gone, the fear and honor codes that held the community together and naturally restricted freedom, left as well. Laws has been divided into the following sections: Book I [87k] Book II [76k] Book III [89k] Book IV [68k] Book V [73k] Book VI [112k] Book VII [120k] Book VIII [78k] Book IX [102k] Book X [92k] Book XI [91k] The myth explains that during Cronos’ rule, life was blessed and happy. The remainder of Book 5 returns to discussing the structure of Magnesia. Individuals were selected to represent the interests of the various clans that comprise the city. Clinias and Megillus are skeptical about the connection between virtue and happiness. Reviewed by Nathan Powers, The University at Albany (SUNY) Even to its admirers, the Laws is a turgid and uneven work; Plato's second attempt, late in life, to describe an ideal government lacks much of the philosophical verve of his earlier Republic. The idea is that if all citizens are equal, then they all equally deserve to hold office; thus, the only fair procedure would be to have the office chosen randomly. Third, for his time, Plato is actually progressive in his views of women. It is worth pointing out that the use of imprisonment as punishment in Greek society appears to be an innovation of Plato. Second, Dorians are stereotyped as having an exclusive military focus and a distaste for intellectual pursuits, while Athenians are seen as being more artistic and philosophical. 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. 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. In doing this, he hopes to undermine the all too common thought, that the life of vice, though morally bad, is still enjoyable. By following reason, the laws will mirror the divine rule that occurred during the time of Cronos and humans will be happy (713c-714a). In fact, women are able to participate in the military as soldiers and can attend their own private common meals—two practices usually reserved for men in ancient Greek. However, because the gods clearly are not like this, the gods must care about the affairs of humans (901e-903a). On the one hand, the Athenian is adamant that the involuntary thesis is true, but on the other hand, he acknowledges that all lawgivers seem to deny it. It must grant enough freedom such that citizens are not oppressed and do not resent the leaders, but follow them willingly. 2012. Socrates arrives at the party late, as he was lost in thought on the neighboring porch. If citizens refuse, they must be punished. Nevertheless, even in the instance when I voluntarily damage your computer, I am not voluntarily unjust. 0 likes. From this he concludes that soul is the first source of movement and change in everything and is prior to material things (896c-d). Book 3 surveys the success and failures of different political constitutions throughout history. In Plato’s so called “early dialogues,” Socrates defends the paradoxical claim that injustice is always involuntary because it is a result of ignorance. The lesson is that one should not be ruled by one’s equal, but by one’s superior. The Laws should be compared to both the Republic and the Statesman in order to get a fuller picture of Plato's political philosophy (and/or its development). Because of this, Plato finds it odd that humans devote so much time and energy to pursuing external goods and so little to achieving internal goods. The Annenberg CPB/Project provided support for entering this text. Belfiore, E. “Wine and Catharsis of the Emotions in Plato’s, Compares the moral psychology advanced in the, Examines Plato’s moral psychology from the, Bobonich, C. “Akrasia and Agency in Plato’s Laws and Republic.”. Another interpretation holds that the Athenian is unnamed because Plato doesn’t intend for him to represent any particular historical figure. In both the Republic and the Laws,Plato identifies education as one of the most important aspectsof a healthy state. It is easy enough to see why the deist and traditional theist pose a threat. According to the Athenian, the history of Athens is very much the opposite of Persia. However, the Athenian recognizes that not everyone will be moved by this argument and offers a myth that he hopes will persuade doubters (903b-905d). Despite the fact that the Laws treats a number of basic issues in political and ethical philosophy as well as theology, it has suffered neglect compared with the Republic.In recent years, however, more scholarly attention has been paid to the Laws. In this, Plato asserts that philosophy encompasses all things. 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. The Book concerns the laws of impiety of which there are three varieties (885b): Atheism: The belief that the gods do not exist. Introduction and Analysis . Both pseudo-Xenophon and Plutarch are stark admirers of the Spartan system, showing less reserve than Plato in expressing that admiration. Lesson Summary. Chapter Summary. They also contain discussion of topics, such asethical psycholo… The genuineness of the Laws is sufficiently proved (1) by more than twenty citations of them in the writings of Aristotle, who was residing at Athens during the last twenty years of the life of Plato, and who, having left it after his death (B.C. The goal of law is to help its citizens flourish, and the most direct route to this is developing virtue in them. The city of the Laws is described as "second best", not because the city of the Republic is the best, but because it is the city of gods and their children. Summary Philosophers who have true vision are best suited to guard the laws and customs of a city. Punishment will take six forms: death, corporal punishment, imprisonment, exile, monetary penalties, and dishonors. A more stylized translation of the text that aims for readability. Lycurgus was the legendary law-giver of the Lacedaemonians. The Athenian solves this problem by inventing the idea of a prelude in law. From these digressions into the origin of legislation three lessons can be drawn. In addition, members of the nocturnal council will study cosmology and theology. Most commentators have denied that the bad soul is anything like the devil; some hold it is cosmic evil in the universe generally, while others maintain it is located in humans. This description is in line with thinking that virtue is a harmony in the soul between the different psychic forces. He lays out detailed education programs thatstart with exercises pregnant women should perform to ensure thehealth of the fetus, and he goes on to explain not only what childrenshould study but also what values they should be exposed to andwhat kinds of art and physical exercise they should engage in. The former is a voluntary harm, while the latter is an involuntary harm. In contrast, the free doctor primarily treats free people and is attentive to his patients before he issues prescriptions. Plato. Click anywhere in the line to jump to another position: The entire dialogue takes place during this journey, which mimics the action of Minos: said by the Cretans to have made their ancient laws, Minos walked this path every nine years in order to receive instruction from Zeus on lawgiving. From this, it is agreed that no citizen who suffers this ignorance should have any degree of power (689c-e). Strength of will is the contrary phenomenon. Clinias is from Cnossos, Crete; Megillus is from Sparta; and the unnamed individual is from Athens. The Callipolis consists of three classes: a large working class of farmers and craftspeople, an educated military class, and a small number of elite philosophers who will rule the city. Defends a non-rational interpretation of persuasion. (eds. Written in the hope that it may shed some light on what is a poorly recognised yet important piece of Ancient Greek philosophical work. Books 1 and 2 explore what is the purpose of government. There are a vast number of different political offices in Magnesia, some of which will be made up of the general citizen body. Compulsion is achieved by attaching penalties to the law if citizens should choose not to comply. In Plato’s Crito , the Laws of Athens offers many reasons why Socrates should not escape. 43 i.e. Like “The fairest music is that which delights the best and best educated.” ― Plato, The Laws of Plato. The second answer is more pragmatic. However, these oddities can be explained away if we consider three things. Laws 795d. It includes things like military training and sports. The Athenian emphasizes that a city cannot flourish unless all citizens receive a proper education. Hence, Atheists hold that the cosmos is directed via blind random chance and things like religion and law are products of useless crafts. Od. Now he sits in prison awaiting his execution, which cannot take place until the conclusion of a nearby religious ceremony. The crux of the argument is that vice leads to emotional extremes, while virtue leads to emotional stability. Introductory conversation (624a-625c) The divine origin of legislation, and the human project of inquiring into laws. Similarly, the legislator can preface the law with brief statements that will make the citizens more cooperative and ready to learn, and thus more likely to accept the laws freely (722d-723a). Furthermore, some interpreters maintain that Plato intentionally leaves his direct voice out of the dialogues because he isn’t interested in putting forth specific theses, but rather, is interested in generating thought about a set of related questions. they would regard the mere mention of possible evil (esp. The Laws is Plato’s last, longest, and, perhaps, most loathed work. Other notable differences include appearing to accept the possibility of weakness of will (akrasia)—a position rejected in earlier works—and granting much more authority to religion than any reader of the Euthyphro would expect. The difficulty stems from the fact that a few passages suggest that the nocturnal council will be entrusted with unrestricted power (7.818c, 12.968c, 12.969b). Additionally, other scholars have argued that in the Laws, Plato no longer treats the soul as having parts, but more as a unitary agent with different forces in it. The Athenian maintains that geometric equality is the true form of equality since humans have different natures and to treat them as equal is actually a form of inequality. 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 sensible world, according to Plato is the world of contingent, contrary to the intelligible world, which contains essences or ideas, intelligible forms, models of all things, saving the phenomena and give them meaning. First, cities and civilization are a natural development. When the Persians attacked the Greeks, out of fear and necessity the Athenians lived according to certain honor codes that bound the community together. 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). as one would expect. Thus, the first motion must be self-motion (895c). Laws 795e. "Crime and Criminals in Plato's Laws. Plato was a Greek philosopher known and recognized for having allowed such a considerable philosophical work.. These three men are walking the path that Minos (a legendary lawgiver of Crete) and his father followed every nine years to receive the guidance of Zeus. The fourth argument is that even if the doctrine were not true, it ought to be taught anyways because of the social benefits that it provides (663d-e). Plato’s Laws Outline of Book I I. In musical compositions, preludes are brief musical performances that precede the main composition. In other words, internal goods are good in every situation, while external goods are only good in some situations. Some scholars take the protagonist to represent Plato’s own view, while others hold that Plato’s view isn’t identified with any single character, but is found in the overall discussion indirectly. The political system of Magnesia will be mixed, blending democratic and authoritarian elements. In fact, the definition of soul is motion capable of moving itself (895e-896a). Clinias states that Apollo is credited as the originator of Crete’s laws, while Zeus is credited as the founder of Sparta’s (624a-625a). The answer is that some people are beyond cure and death is best for them and the city (862d-863a). Within the discussion of miscellaneous laws, the Athenian discusses an important office, “the scrutineers” (12.945b-948b). The Athenian is rejecting the idea that the city and law are unnatural (see 10.888e-890a; Protagoras 320d-322d; Republic 358b-359b). One might wonder how capital punishment is compatible with a curative theory of punishment. Atheists believe that the origins of the cosmos are basic elemental bodies randomly interacting with each other via an unintelligent process. Laws has been divided into the following sections: Book I [87k] Book II [76k] Book III [89k] Book IV [68k] Book V [73k] Book VI [112k] Book VII [120k] Book VIII [78k] Book IX [102k] Book X [92k] Book XI [91k] Book 10 is probably the most studied and best known part of the Laws. Generally held to have been written after Plato's failed attempt to influence Syracusan politics, it concerns the just city and its constitution, including discussions of divine revelation, the role of intelligence in the creation of laws, and natural law itself. Laws By Plato Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett. The second interpretation holds that the persuasion is non-rational and does not appeal to citizens’ reason, but rather their emotion. The initial framing of the laws comes directly from the legislator and the dictator. There are two types of craft. His laws not only govern crime and punishment, but also form a code of conduct for all aspects of life in his ideal state from education, sport and religion to sexual behaviour, marriage and drinking parties. For example, I might intentionally bump my coffee cup so that it spills on your computer or I might accidentally do this. Nicholas R. Baima In Book 9 of the Laws, Plato will grapple with both claims. This demonstrates that peace is superior to victory (627c-630d). Readers should be warned that the argument is obscure, difficult, and probably invalid; let this merely serve as a sketch of the main moves in it. Wilburn, J. Book 5 begins with various moral lessons and then shifts to an account of the correct procedure for founding Magnesia and distributing the land within it. Laws 803d. Because physical education is meant to provide military training, sports will be modified to emphasize this. At least since the time of the ancient philosopher Plato, private property rights have posed challenges to those aspiring to craft a just political society. The idea being that one can learn to resist negative pleasures and desires only by being exposed to these things. Athenians began to consider themselves as the authority on various matters and let pleasure guide them. Why did the allegiance fail? Okin argues that Plato’s reintroduction of private property in the. The dialogue rather proceeds from the question, "who it is that receives credit for creating laws.". The advantage of a dictatorship is that the laws and customs can easily be altered since power is located in one individual. Because emotional extremes are painful, it follows that the virtuous life will be more pleasant (732e-734e). The main function is to elect members of the council and other officials, though there are other functions (753b, 764a, 767e-768a, 772c-d, 8.850b, 11.921e, 12.943c). An agent who deliberates and then kills someone should not be treated the same as someone who kills someone in anger or as the result of some unforeseen accident. 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. 1). According to the Athenian, Persia fluctuated between periods of success and failure. Cronos, knowing that human nature is corrupt, put divine beings in charge of humans. Readers should bear in mind that the historical accounts given by Plato are not entirely accurate, but are rather being used to illustrate certain philosophical points. According to the laws, Socrates would "destroy" them if he chooses to escape. He realizes that in order for this to happen the citizens must see the law as serving their interests and the preludes are meant to accomplish this. However, unlike these other works, the Laws combines political philosophy with applied legislation, going into great detail concerning what laws and procedures should be in Magnesia. The Athenian asserts that if soul is prior to material bodies, then the attributes of soul (such as true belief and calculation) are also prior to material things (896d). If this interpretation is correct, then the Laws presents a much more optimistic view of the average citizen than the Republic does. An anthology that surveys philosophical debates concerning the Laws. It develops laws to govern a projected state and is apparently meant to be practical in a way that the Republic was not; thus… He begins his explanation with a medical analogy in which he compares the medical practices of a free doctor with that of a slave doctor (720a-720e). In fact, things like beauty and wealth in the hands of a corrupt person will enable him or her to act in ways that will lead to failure. Discusses how the context in which the Athenian presents his theology constrains the account given. ATHENIAN: Tell me, Strangers, is a God or some man supposed to be the author of your laws? This resulted in a community of ignorance and excess (700a-701d). Why would a rational, powerful, and good god allow for evil? Death is better than living in such a condition. Chapter 9 discusses Plato’s distinction between injury and injustice and relates it to the idea that justice is beautiful and injustice is shameful. The puppet metaphor also raises problems for the view that virtue is harmony because virtue in the puppet metaphor involves mastering the pull of contrary cords. The conversation is instead led by an Athenian Stranger (Greek: ξένος, romanized: xenos) and two other old men, the ordinary Spartancitizen Megillos and the Cretan politician … The city of the Laws differs in its allowance of private property and private families, and in the very existence of written laws, from the city of the Republic, with its property-system and community of wives for the guardians, and absence of written law. In other words, the Laws seems to express more optimism than the Republic with respect to the average citizen’s ability to be virtuous. Aristotle (Politics 2.6.1265a) thinks he is Socrates. Indeed, it is a subject of much dispute. ATHENIAN: Tell me, Strangers, is a God or some man supposed to be the author of your laws? If I truly knew what was good or was not overcome by pleasure or anger, I would not engage in vicious behavior because my soul would be just. If male citizens do not marry by the age of thirty-five, they will be subject to fines and dishonors.