Wilburn, J. Third, for his time, Plato is actually progressive in his views of women. 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. 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? It is not entirely anything, really. These men work to create a constitution for Magnesia, a new Cretan colony. 347), returned thither twelve years later (B.C. 1 likes. Atheists believe that the origins of the cosmos are basic elemental bodies randomly interacting with each other via an unintelligent process. The benefit of this is that it will make the citizens feel that they have a stake in Magnesia. 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. • (625a-c) A discussion of “constitutions and laws” proposed to fill the The Athenian takes Clinias to be too dismissive of atheists, attributing their belief to a lack of self-control and desire for pleasure (886a-b). Another example of this kind of thinking is the Athenian’s claim that a moderate amount of physical hardship is required for children to develop virtue; too much luxury will make one spoiled and lack moderation, but too much hardship will make one misanthropic (791d-794a). Indeed, this conflict culminates in the Peloponnesian war (431-404 BC). Summary and Analysis Book IV: Section I Summary. Arithmetic equality treats everyone as equal and corresponds to the lot, while geometric equality treats everyone based on their nature and abilities and corresponds more closely to voting. During this time life was simple and peaceful. In The Laws, Plato describes in fascinating detail a comprehensive system of legislation in a small agricultural utopia he named Magnesia. 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). What is the nature of this bad soul and why does Plato include it? There are two types of craft. "Crime and Criminals in Plato's Laws. Laws 795e. 2012. The crux of the argument is that vice leads to emotional extremes, while virtue leads to emotional stability. Presents an alternative reading of the puppet metaphor according to which it does not support weakness of will. Each man is from a different Greek city-state (polis). The third interpretation lies in the middle of the first two, it attempts to reconcile the rational and non-rational readings. At Book 3’s conclusion, it is revealed that Clinias is in charge of developing a legal code for a new colony of Crete, Magnesia. Clinias is surprised that atheists exist. Socrates arrives at the party late, as he was lost in thought on the neighboring porch. Book 3 surveys the success and failures of different political constitutions throughout history. In this, Plato asserts that philosophy encompasses all things. Here, the Athenian is introducing the key political idea that a successful constitution will distribute power by mixing various ruling elements. There are various offices described in Book 6, but three are worthy of note: the assembly, the council, and the guardians of the law. “Tripartition and the Causes of Criminal Behavior in. The political system of Magnesia will be mixed, blending democratic and authoritarian elements. The evil doer actually desires what is good, so when they act wrongly, they are not doing what they actually want to do (Protagoras 352a-c; Gorgias 468b; Meno 77e-78b). In Plato’s so called “early dialogues,” Socrates defends the paradoxical claim that injustice is always involuntary because it is a result of ignorance. Many have attributed this awkward writing to Plato’s old age at the time of writing; nonetheless, readers should bear in mind that the work was never completed. A favorite example of those who support the non-rational reading is the prelude to hunting laws. How we understand the nature of this evil soul will explain whether the view articulated in the Laws is compatible or incompatible with these other texts. Discusses Plato’s account of moral psychology and its relation to Book 9. For example, impractical and unrealistic techniques will be forbidden (796a, 813e, and 814d) and armed competitions will be emphasized (833e-834a). First, the Ionians and Dorians have not always been on friendly terms. According to the Athenian, Persia fluctuated between periods of success and failure. If justice is a healthy state of the soul, then injustice is a disease of the soul in need of curing via punishment. One of the most important things music should teach is that justice produces happiness, while injustice produces unhappiness (660b-664b). Scholars generally agree that Plato wrote this dialogue as an older man, having failed in his effort in Syracuse on the island of Sicily to guide a tyrant's rule, instead having been thrown in prison. The Athenian Stranger, who resembles Socrates but whose name is never mentioned, joins the other two on their religious pilgrimage from Knossos to the cave of Zeus. Mating will be arranged by using a lottery. Now if the gods could neglect humans it would be through ignorance, lack of power, or vice. The purpose of the former is rather self-explanatory, but more needs to be said about the latter. 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. Socrates has been condemned to death by a jury of Athenian citizens for the crimes of asebeia and corrupting the youth. 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. That being said, Magnesia will have a population of slaves and foreigners who carry out necessary tasks forbidden to citizens, such as trading and menial labor. Od. Laws By Plato Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett : Table of Contents Book V : Athenian Stranger. For example, the “guardians of the law” will supervise the general citizen body. On the face of it, the puppet metaphor raises trouble for both of these commitments. The government of Magnesia is a mixture of democratic and authoritarian principles that aim at making all of its citizens happy and virtuous. The Athenian wants citizens to be motivated to obey the law. First, if a political system is to succeed it must be a mixture of subjection and freedom. Some centuries later Plutarch would also devote attention to the topic of Ancient Greek law systems, e.g. During this time, Athenians would voluntarily submit themselves to authority and because of this Athens was successful in its defense (698b-700a). Summary Philosophers who have true vision are best suited to guard the laws and customs of a city. If this interpretation is correct, then the Laws presents a much more optimistic view of the average citizen than the Republic does. Since the Laws exist as one entity, to break one would be to break them all, and in doing so, Socrates would cause them great harm. 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] Second, there are those that do not cooperate with natural processes and are useless such as law and religion. The conversation is instead led by an Athenian Stranger (Greek: ξένος, romanized: xenos) and two other old men, the ordinary Spartan citizen Megillos and the Cretan politician and lawgiver Clinias from Knossos. Since soul is the cause of all things, it follows that it is the cause of both good and bad (896d). The slave doctor primarily treats slaves and acts like a tyrant—simply issuing commands and forcing his patients into obedience. The Laws ends with a discussion of the “nocturnal council,” so named because they meet daily from dawn until sunrise (951c-952d, 961a-968e). Plato, Laws ("Agamemnon", "Hom. Readers might find the idea of honoring the soul and body as being not only mystical sounding, but also wrong. Magnesia will consist of individuals with different cultural customs, so how can these be reconciled under a single system of law? Second, the nocturnal council will study the ethical principles underlying the law. Indeed, they will hold everything in common including women, men, and children. 0 likes. The Athenian is rejecting the idea that the city and law are unnatural (see 10.888e-890a; Protagoras 320d-322d; Republic 358b-359b). ATHENIAN: Tell me, Strangers, is a God or some man supposed to be the author of your 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. Plat. Purchase a copy of this text (not necessarily the same edition) from Amazon.com Having secured the importance of teaching the connection between justice and happiness, the Athenian continues his discussion of symposium. Just as the Spartan practice of exposing citizens to fear and pain can help cultivate the appropriate feelings with respect to pain, drinking parties can help citizens develop the appropriate feelings with respect to pleasure. The second answer is more pragmatic. They guard the law by supervising both officials and ordinary citizens, by helping resolve difficult judicial cases, and by supplementing and revising the law. Another issue disputed by scholars is whether the soul in the puppet metaphor consists of three parts as it does in the Republic. 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]. In terms of style, the Laws has far less literary quality than Plato’s masterpiece, the Republic. 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. They also contain discussion of topics, such asethical psycholo… The first two books of the dialogue consider the proper goal orend (telos) of legislation, which turns out to be the virtueof the citizens. Laws 795d, Plat. (2000). First, the Athenian argues that physical movement directly affects one’s emotions. The lesson is that one should not be ruled by one’s equal, but by one’s superior. MEGILLUS: Certainly. Nicholas R. Baima plato laws summary Published by on October 7, 2020. i. Mayhew picks his way through the thicket of philological and philosophical issues here with great clarity, offering what may be the best overall discussion of this passage to date. Source: Jowett's Introduction to and Analysis of The Laws in vol. The Athenian responds by defending an alternative cosmology, which reverses the priority of soul and matter. In other words, the Ancient Greek ethicists argue that we have self-regarding reasons to become virtuous; namely, that virtue will help us live a successful and happy life. Athens represents the extreme democracy and Persia the extreme monarchy. (2009). We can break this paradoxical view into two claims: Involuntary Thesis: No one is voluntarily unjust. The conversation becomes contentious as the Athenian says that these practices are the cause of the Dorian’s reputation for pederasty, homosexuality, and the vicious pursuit of pleasure (636a-e). The doctors differ in terms of whom they treat and how they treat them. The underlying idea behind these restrictions is that humans will develop characteristics of the people they observe in poetry and theatre. The Athenian concludes that since the soul dwells in and governs all moving things, it must govern the universe (896d-e). Within the discussion of miscellaneous laws, the Athenian discusses an important office, “the scrutineers” (12.945b-948b). Injustice explores the psychological conditions under which the crime was committed. The assembly is open to all citizens who are serving or have served in the military. Why would a rational, powerful, and good god allow for evil? Clinias and Megillus are skeptical about the connection between virtue and happiness. Individuals were selected to represent the interests of the various clans that comprise the city. Suppose that the preludes are described by the Athenian as appealing to reason and suppose that the actual preludes do not appeal to reason, but instead emotion. Below is a sketch of the main educative laws and principles. The Athenian believes that these impious beliefs threaten to undermine the political and ethical foundation of the city. Because of this, the lawgiver must attempt to persuade the citizens to abandon these false beliefs. The Laws is the longest of Plato’s Dialogues and actually doesn’t feature Socrates at all - the principal figure taking the lead is the ‘Athenian Stranger’ who engages two older men in the discussion, Cleinias (from Crete) and Megillus (from Sparta). The Athenian explains that the cause of atheism is not a lack of self-control, but, rather, a materialistic cosmology (888e-890a). For this reason, those who hold political positions will be called servants of the law rather than being called rulers. The Athenian asks us to imagine a puppet made by the gods with various cords in it. Laks, A. Laws should be set to prevent certain actions which harm individuals and their property. Colonists will mostly come from Crete, though individuals from the greater Peloponnese will be welcome as well. According to the Athenian, the history of Athens is very much the opposite of Persia. 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). Sparta, in contrast, was safeguarded from disaster because it distributed political power between multiple actors (or positions of power), including two kings (rather than one), a council of elders, and officials chosen by lot (called ephors) (691d-692bc). To ensure that the scrutineers are not themselves corrupt, they must be citizens with proven reputation for good character and capable of approaching matters impartially. 335); (2) by the allusion of Isocrates laws is hardly to be expected (compare Republic); and he who makes this reflection may himself adopt the laws just now mentioned, and, adopting them, may order his house and state well and be happy. Book 3 examines the origins of government and the merits of different constitutions. 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. He takes on the persona of the laws in order to argue on their behalf. The citizen is bound to the Laws like a child is bound to a parent, and so to go against the Laws would be like striking a parent. 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. In Plato's Crito, Socrates has been unjustly accused of his crimes by those opposed to him. This suggests that, on some level, all Magnesians will have some awareness of philosophy. Summary of Plato's "Laws"gives an account of the first nine books of Plato'sLaws. Books 7 and 8 provide the details of Plato’s account of education, which extends to both males and females. Yet, Plato took his most original idea to be that law should combine persuasion with compulsion. These events are alluded to in the Seventh Letter. Okin argues that Plato’s reintroduction of private property in the. Philosophy concerns itself with the nature of justice, political regimes, knowledge, the soul, human passions and emotions, aesthetics,… With the geography and population of Magnesia established, the Athenian begins to describe the various offices in the city and the electoral process (751a-768e). Another interpretation holds that the Athenian is unnamed because Plato doesn’t intend for him to represent any particular historical figure. Although the terrain is rough, the land has many resources. Thus, drinking parties will return older adults to a youthful state in which they are more eager to participate in musical education (671a-674c). However, people do not honor the body by being extremely beautiful, healthy, and strong. The idea being that one can learn to resist negative pleasures and desires only by being exposed to these things. Trelawny-Cassity, L. “On the Foundation of Theology in Plato’s, Discusses Plato’s cosmology and theology in the. The Athenian responds by pointing out that this practice does nothing to develop the resistance to desire and pleasure. Musical education forms the foundation of one’s character because it is through song and dance that one cultivates the appropriate affective responses (654a-d). From this conflict, legislation arose (681c). The compulsion comes in the form of a punishment attached to the law if the persuasion should fail to motivate compliance. According to the laws, Socrates would "destroy" them if … Notably, the Constitution of the Spartans by Xenophon, the Constitution of the Athenians, wrongly attributed to Xenophon, and the Constitution of the Athenians, possibly by Aristotle or one of his students, have also survived. After this, the Athenian swiftly dismisses traditional theism. 9.1 ... on the one hand, it is improper and undignified to impose penalties on these practices by law, because of their triviality and the ... but if no protest is made, she shall inflict summary justice equally on citizens. Initially, this poses a problem. However, the allegiance dissolved with only Sparta surviving the fallout with any kind of success. This can be seen in how political offices are handled. Plato was born to an aristocratic family some time in 428 BC in Athens, Greece. By following reason, the laws will mirror the divine rule that occurred during the time of Cronos and humans will be happy (713c-714a). The guardians of the law are made up of thirty-seven citizens aged at least fifty. The answer is that some people are beyond cure and death is best for them and the city (862d-863a). This lends credence to thinking that the ideal city described in the Laws is not the Callipolis. Hence, traditional theism must be wrong. Athenians began to consider themselves as the authority on various matters and let pleasure guide them. Laws 832e. For instance, Clinias and Megillus, who both come from cultures that center on the military, hold that human conflict is a fundamental part of human nature and courage is the greatest virtue. The goal of law is to help its citizens flourish, and the most direct route to this is developing virtue in them. However, most citizens will not see things this way and thus the inclusion of the lot is a way to avoid dissension. In this system the eldest ruled, with authority being passed down through one’s parents. However, due to the psychological limitations of humans, the actual preludes will not live up to this ideal. Its musings on the ethics of government and law have established it as a classic of political philosophy[citation needed] alongside Plato's more widely read Republic. Aristotle (Politics 2.6.1265a) thinks he is Socrates. ― Plato, The Laws of Plato. Laws By Plato Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett. At this point, even if the argument is sound, it does not establish that there are gods. they would regard the mere mention of possible evil (esp. 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.”. In contrast, the free doctor primarily treats free people and is attentive to his patients before he issues prescriptions. 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. 5 of The Dialogues of Plato translated into English with Analyses and Introductions by B. Jowett, M.A. Third, it is worth bearing in mind that the main ethical theories today have self-regarding features built into them and thus this idea is not entirely unique to Plato (and other Ancient Greek ethicists). 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. Nevertheless, even in the instance when I voluntarily damage your computer, I am not voluntarily unjust. Plato, the great philosopher of Athens, was born in 427 BCE. Traditional Theism: The belief that the gods exist and can be bribed. For Plato, the value of external goods depends on the presence of internal goods, while the value of internal goods in no way depends on the presence of external goods. 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. The electoral process is quite complicated and difficult to understand, but typically has four stages: nomination, voting, casting lots, and scrutiny. He notes that some youths have come to believe that the gods do not care about human affairs because they have witnessed bad people living good lives (899d-900b). Instead of blending freedom and subjection as their father did, his sons were violent and demanded submission (695b). This is relevant for two reasons. Defends a middle reading of the preludes, according to which the preludes offer an ideal of law, but because of the psychological limitations of the citizens, the actual preludes involves are non-rational. Because there were so few people, individuals were delighted to see each other and resources were abundant (678e-679a). After this, the Athenian describes a process of reincarnation in which good souls are transferred to better bodies and bad souls to worse bodies. 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. First, there are those that cooperate with natural processes and are useful such as farming. Why did the allegiance fail? On the other hand, there is “self-motion,” which moves itself as well as other things (894b-c). In addition, in the Laws Plato defends several positions that appear in tension with ideas expressed in his other works. Although humans should prioritize the soul over the body, they are also obligated to take care of their bodies. Megillus and Clinias are quite skeptical and ask the Athenian to explain how wine affects the soul. The Athenian wants the legislator to be like the free doctor, using both persuasion and compulsion.
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