Divine Law and Political Philosophy in Plato's Law
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Northern Illinois University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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I am grateful to the College of Liberal Arts of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas for its generous financial support as I completed this book. I am pleased to thank my colleagues at UNLV Ken Fernandez, Tiffiany Howard, Michelle Kuenzi, and Rebecca Gill for their helpful consultations about this book. I am especially grateful for all the support and useful ...
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For many years, scholars have regarded the Laws as Plato’s final proposal for practical political reform. While there is much to be learned from such an approach, it has failed to do justice to the dialogue’s central concern. What leading interpretations of the dialogue fail to appreciate is that Plato’s Laws is, first and foremost, an inquiry into divine law. It is the dialogue in which ...
One—The Minos and the Socratic Examination of Law
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According to the classical tradition, Socrates transformed philosophy by compelling it to turn away from “the heavens” and directing it toward those things that human beings take most seriously—politics, morality, and providential gods (Cicero Tusculan Disputations 5.10–11; also Aris-totle Metaphysics 987b1–2; Xenophon Memorabilia 1.1.11–16).1 But the ...
Two—The Rational Interpretation of Divine Law
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No one is more closely associated with the birth and growth of rational-ism than Plato. Across two millennia, he has been credited with lending dignity and legitimacy to many sciences including astronomy, theology, and philosophy itself.1 Contemporary thinkers regard him as the “iconic rationalist” (Nelson 2005, xv). But modern scholars have begun to ques-...
Three—The Examination of the Laws of Sparta
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After the Athenian Stranger describes the goals of correct law and the tasks of the legislator, he says that he wants to revisit the questions that he has just discussed with Kleinias. He says that he wants Kleinias and Megil-lus to say how the laws that Zeus gave to Minos and that Apollo gave to Lycurgus in fact aim at the goals of divine law that they have just described ...
Four—Divine Law and Moral Education
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In the Minos, Socrates asks his Athenian companion what law is and how we come to know or recognize that it is authoritative. In the course of their conversation, Socrates points to the inherent limits of law, showing that even though law presents itself as just and therefore good for every-one, law’s breadth and rigidity prevent it from supplying the needs of ...
Five—The Problem of Erotic Love andPractical Reason und er Divine Law
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In Book VII, the Athenian Stranger describes the best education that could be established under the rule of divine law. While we can anticipate some of the results of that education on the citizen, it remains to be seen how well-educated citizens will spend their days and how the virtues will emerge and work together in their lives. Knowing this, we will be better ...
Six—Perfect Justice and Divine Providence
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At the start of the dialogue, the Athenian Stranger and Kleinias agree that divine law is the law that aims at the highest end. They say that correct law must aim at the whole of virtue and at the human goods that together with virtue bring happiness to individual citizens and harmony to the city as a whole. But at the end of the dialogue, the Athenian Stranger says that ...
Seven—The Savior of Divine Law
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In the Minos, Socrates wants to know what law is and whether it can be known through reason or through some extra-rational faculty such as divination. While exploring these questions with a nameless Athenian citizen, Socrates argues that law wishes to be the discovery of what is. But instead of disclosing what is just, law seems inevitably to fall short of this ...
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Modern Works Cited
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2012