In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

554 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 2~:4 OCT ~983 when justice in the soul of the ruler makes him an impersonal craftsman of the abstract Good. At this point there is a problem in Annas's discussion of the incompatibility of self interest and love of the Good. In her interpretation, justice in Books 9- 4 and 8- 9 seems to coincide with self interest. The reason it does, surely, is that it is desirable in itself and in its consequences; the latter include happiness, a kind of pleasure, apparently , distinct from other pleasures because it can be caused only by justice in the soul. (317) However, it is not clear whether justice and happiness in this account are mutually entailing. If they are, then the ruler, in losing happiness, would lose justice in his soul. It is at least paradoxical to say that the craftsman of justice in the state must sacrifice justice in his soul. On the other hand, if one can lose happiness but not justice in the soul, then it would appear that Annas is really arguing that the value of justice is its special consequence, happiness, and not justice itself. The problem rests on the way she has drawn the distinction between justice in the soul and happiness. Mabbott ("Is Plato's Republic Utilitarian?", Plato: A Collection of Critical Essays, G. Vlastos , ed. (Garden City: Doubleday and Co., 1971)) has argued for their identity and Annas has not adequately dealt with that argument. This book makes a valuable contribution to understanding The Republic by the forthright way in which it makes Plato's thought answerable to concerns in contemporary moral philosophy. It is a worthy successor to Cross and Woozley's now somewhat dated commentary and will influence future work on Plato's central dialogue. Richard D. Parry Agnes Scott College, Georgia Mary Margaret Mackenzie. Plato on Punishment. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981. Pp. 288 $24.5 ~. If crime will not go away, neither, it seems, will punishment. Whether the return of pain for pain satisfies more than an emotional need and is rationally defensible is thus a question of enduring importance. Plato on Punishment, by Mary Margaret Mackenzie, argues (a) that punishment is not rationally defensible (Part One), (b) that, as classical Greek poetry testifies, men nevertheless persist in punishing because they cannot escape notions of fairness, desert, blameworthiness, and the like (Part Two), (c) that Plato's "official doctrine" of punishment, dominated by a benevolent concern for the individual criminal, necessarily forswears retribution, minimizes deterrence , and aims principally at reform (Part Three), and (d) that Plato's "unofficial doctrine," expressed in the eschatological myths, shows him nevertheless unable to do without a belief that men receive their just deserts, even though this belief conflicts with the argumentation deriving from basic insights of Platonic ethics and moral psychology (Part Three). This book combines nicely independent analyses of such notions as crime, punishment , restitution, reform, and retribution with impressive classical scholarship, BOOK REVIEWS 555 both literary and philosophical. It should be of particular interest not only to students of Plato but also to those whose main concern is a contemporary philosophy of punishment. The initial presentation of alternative views of punishment in Part One is compact and will, I think, seem well argued to those who are satisfied with the author's deontological interpretation of justice. Those philosophers, on the other hand, who consider themselves natural-law teleologists, while finding these pages a timely challenge to re-think the underpinnings of their own accounts of punishment, may chafe that Part One makes no provision for the approach that they judge most reasonable. The presentation of Plato's reformist theory of punishment, rich in detailed analyses of important passages from the dialogues, argues that benefit to the individual criminal (wherever this is possible) is the basic and indispensable justification for the infliction of pain. Still, it is not clear that Mackenzie's characterization of this doctrine as "humanitarian" and "individualist" is appropriate on either count. After all, in the Republic Plato sets aside a host of what we might call individual human rights in the interest of society as a whole. And the...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 554-556
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.