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Plato's Laws

Force and Truth in Politics

Edited by Gregory Recco and Eric Sanday

Publication Year: 2013

Readers of Plato have often neglected the Laws because of its length and density. In this set of interpretive essays, notable scholars of the Laws from the fields of classics, history, philosophy, and political science offer a collective close reading of the dialogue "book by book" and reflect on the work as a whole. In their introduction, editors Gregory Recco and Eric Sanday explore the connections among the essays and the dramatic and productive exchanges between the contributors. This volume fills a major gap in studies on Plato's dialogues by addressing the cultural and historical context of the Laws and highlighting their importance to contemporary scholarship.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. 6-7

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

ἀ ank you to Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, v. 26. for permission to reprint sections of chapter 13 by Sara Brill...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

ἀ is volume embodies a cooperative, intensive, and comprehensive interpretation of Plato’s Laws, a single, massive dialogue that challenges even the hardiest reader. In general, it is useful to focus...

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1. Reading the Laws as a Whole: Horizon, Vision, and Structure

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pp. 11-30

My project in this essay is to orient—or, both more precisely and more modestly, to mine the text in order to provide some suggestions as to how one might...

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2. "Eρως and the Laws in Historical Context

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pp. 31-47

ἀ e Laws holds a special interest for historians, though not without the interpretive challenges that face anyone approaching a Platonic text with historical interests in mind. As opposed...

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3. The Long and Winding Road: Impediments to Inquiry in Book 1 of the Laws

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pp. 48-59

It is dawn or perhaps just before dawn—a good time, we later learn, for discussing regime change, nation building, and legal reform (722c; 951d; 961b). ἀ e day promises to be hot and...

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4. Education in Plato’s Laws

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pp. 60-74

ἀ e basic story of Book 2 of Plato’s Laws is easy enough to tell. ἀ e Athenian Stranger, who is discussing the establishment of a good state with Cleinias the Knossian and Megillus the...

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5. On Beginning after the Beginning

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pp. 75-85

Almost always, it seems, one begins after the beginning. So it is with Socrates when, in the Phaedo, he tells of launching a second sailing, as sailors, in the absence of wind to fill their sails,...

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6. It Is Difficult for a City with Good Laws to Come into Existence: On Book 4

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pp. 86-104

ἀ e subtle action of Book 4 can be appreciated only when it is seen in relation to Book 3. Only at the end of Book 3 does Cleinias divulge to the Athenian that he and nine others have been charged to form a new colony. ἀ is is perhaps the most decisive and surprising...

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7. “He Saw the Cities and He Knew the Minds of Many Men”: Landscape and Character in the Odyssey and the Laws

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pp. 105-117

ἀ e opening discussion of the constitutions of Crete and Sparta in Laws 1 (624a– 626b) reveals two features central to the creation of laws, constitutions, and education: they are received from...

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8. On the Human and the Divine: Reading the Prelude in Plato’s Laws 5

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pp. 118-132

In the opening pages of Plato’s Laws, Cleinias advances the thought that all human beings are “enemies” [πολεμίους] one to another, and each human being to himself, so that, within...

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9. Being True to Equality: Human Allotment and the Judgment of Zeus

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pp. 133-143

At the beginning of Laws Book 6, the Stranger turns to the establishment of the administrative apparatus of the new city, identifying the number and kinds of official positions that are required...

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10. The “Serious Play” of Book 7 of Plato’s Laws

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pp. 144-153

R. G. Bury begins the introduction to his translation of Plato’s Laws by stating that this work “lacks the charm and vigour of the earlier dialogues . . . [it] is marked also by much uncouthness...

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11. No Country for Young Men: Eros as Outlaw in Plato’s Laws

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pp. 154-168

ἀ e topic of this essay is a part of Book 8 consisting of little more than six pages of the Greek text (835b5–842a10) often treated by interpreters as a digression (“una digresiόn” [Lisi 2001, 38]) and...

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12. On the Implications of Human Mortality: Legislation, Education, and Philosophy in Book 9 of Plato’s Laws

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pp. 169-188

Plato’s Laws has often been treated as a “late” work in which the philosopher sets out a plan for a city that, unlike the city-in- speech described...

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13. “A Soul Superlatively Natural”: Psychic Excess in Laws 10

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pp. 189-214

Early on in the lengthy prelude that is to be delivered to the would-be atheist, the Athenian makes a statement about soul whose ambiguity and profundity beg comparison...

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14. Property and Impiety in Plato’s Laws: Books 11 and 12

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pp. 215-236

At the end of the project traced out in Plato’s Laws, the Athenian Stranger asks what it would take to arrive at an end of the lawgiving.1 In this essay I focus on the way in which the...

Bibliography

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pp. 237-244

Contributors

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pp. 245-246

Index

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pp. 247-248


E-ISBN-13: 9780253001887
E-ISBN-10: 0253001889
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253001788

Page Count: 258
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Studies in Continental Thought

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Subject Headings

  • Plato. Laws.
  • Political science -- Philosophy.
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