Book 3 surveys the success and failures of different political constitutions throughout history. The dialogue is set on the Greek island of Crete in the 4th century B.C.E. Summary Setting. The Athenian begins by explaining that there are two types of motions. This is partly a result of the fact that the Laws deals with the details of legal and governmental policies, while the Republic doesn’t; rather, the Republic focuses on politics and ethics at a much more general level. 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). This is a divine exercise because the soul itself is divine (726a). 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. It is also said to be the longest day of the year, allowing for the densely packed twelve chapters. Leisure in Plato’s Laws. This prelude provides the moral foundation for the city, explaining the general duties of the citizens. For example, impractical and unrealistic techniques will be forbidden (796a, 813e, and 814d) and armed competitions will be emphasized (833e-834a). On the one hand, the legislators are telling citizens that they should be just so that they may live a good life, but, on the other hand, they are teaching them that they will be deprived of a benefit—namely, pleasure—by living justly. Yet, the legal details, clunky prose, and lack of organization have drawn condemnation from both ancient and modern scholars. Humans honor the soul by pursuing virtue. 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 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. For example, the “guardians of the law” will supervise the general citizen body. Laws, Books 1-6 book. Source: Jowett's Introduction to and Analysis of The Laws in vol. The puppet metaphor raises a number of philosophical issues surrounding strength of will (enkrateia) and weakness of will (akrasia). Summary Philosophers who have true vision are best suited to guard the laws and customs of a city. What is the Purpose of Law? CHAPTER 4 PLATO: THE REALLY REAL. 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. First, if a political system is to succeed it must be a mixture of subjection and freedom. The city will consist of 5,040 households. MEGILLUS: Certainly. Lawgivers treat voluntary wrongdoing as a more severe punishment than involuntary wrongdoing. Discusses Plato’s account of moral psychology and its relation to Book 9. The membership lasts one year and the main function is to conduct the day to day business of the state such as supervising elections and organizing the assembly (756b-758d). 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. PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: An Athenian Stranger, Cleinias (a Cretan), Megillus (a Lacedaemonian). He takes on the persona of the laws in order to argue on their behalf. For example, the Athenian insists that fetuses and infants must constantly be moved around so that their excessive fears and anxieties are purged (789b-791d). 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). Instead of blending freedom and subjection as their father did, his sons were violent and demanded submission (695b). The next project is to describe what constitution this benevolent dictator will create. The underlying idea behind these restrictions is that humans will develop characteristics of the people they observe in poetry and theatre. Laws By Plato Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Traditional Greek education involved both musical and gymnastic training. 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. 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). 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). Ignorance Thesis: All wrongdoing is the result of ignorance. 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. Within both the electoral process and the offices held, we see the Athenian’s attempt to develop a constitution that mixes various political elements. No one is sure exactly when the ceremony will conclude, so Socrates can only guess how long he has left to live. Offers a line by line commentary and discussion of Book 10. Eventually, small clans merged together and formed cities. In any case, the Athenian’s overall point is clear. “Akrasia and Self-Rule in Plato’s. Book 3 examines the origins of government and the merits of different constitutions. On the other hand, there is “self-motion,” which moves itself as well as other things (894b-c). 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. Education, for Plato, mostly comes in the form of play and its importance cannot be overstated. Below is a sketch of the main educative laws and principles. Since, happiness is linked to virtue, the law must try to make citizens virtuous. Additionally, this interpretation explains why the Laws goes into greater detail concerning day-to-day activities than the Republic does. Listen, all ye who have just now heard the laws about Gods, and about our dear forefathers:-Of all the things which a man has, next to the Gods, his soul is the most divine and most truly his own. 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. One might wonder how capital punishment is compatible with a curative theory of punishment. Trelawny-Cassity, L. “On the Foundation of Theology in Plato’s, Discusses Plato’s cosmology and theology in the. 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. 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. Nicholas R. Baima Other people are blind compared to them. That is the question of the apocryphal Platonic dialogue Minos. 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). 0 likes. 43 i.e. This lends credence to thinking that the ideal city described in the Laws is not the Callipolis. 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). However, in Book 2 the Athenian describes virtue as the agreement between pleasure and pain and the account that one grasps or reason (653a). Plato was born to an aristocratic family some time in 428 BC in Athens, Greece. Its remote location will deter the influence of visitors, who might corrupt the culture of Magnesia. Plutarch compares Lycurgus and his Spartan laws to the law system Numa Pompilius introduced in Rome around 700 BC.[5]. Nevertheless, a political system must grant authority only to those who are wise since the masses will simply pursue what they find most pleasant. All Magnesians will learn basic mathematics, with some advancing to study astronomy. This resulted in a community of ignorance and excess (700a-701d). Second, the Athenian maintains that humans take on the characteristics of the things that they imitate. Introduction and Analysis []. Its remote location will deter the influence of visitors, who might corrupt the culture of Magnesia. These men work to create a constitution for Magnesia, a new Cretan colony. Philosophy concerns itself with the nature of justice, political regimes, knowledge, the soul, human passions and emotions, aesthetics,… However, the allegiance dissolved with only Sparta surviving the fallout with any kind of success. Chapter Summary. In terms of style, the Laws has far less literary quality than Plato’s masterpiece, the Republic. 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. The book is a conversation on political philosophy between three elderly men: an unnamed Athenian, a Spartan named Megillus, and a Cretan named Clinias. First, the Ionians and Dorians have not always been on friendly terms. and trans.) The dialogue rather proceeds from the question, "who it is that receives credit for creating laws.". Because emotional extremes are painful, it follows that the virtuous life will be more pleasant (732e-734e). 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. But what type of earthly rulers do the gods resemble? Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vols. Furthermore, unlike Plato’s other works, the character Socrates is noticeably absent in the Laws. Seeing punishment as curative is really just an extension of this idea to the criminal. But Book 10 of the dialogue is an exception. ATHENIAN: Tell me, Strangers, is a God or some man supposed to be the author of your laws? Argos’ and Messene’s respective leaders suffered from this type of ignorance and the negative consequences of this were exacerbated by the fact that they had absolute power (690d-691d). "Principles of Early Education in Plato's 'Laws'. With this in mind, it makes sense that Plato would think that we are obligated to care for the soul and body, since the good life requires it. In continuing with his emphasis on moderation and mixed constitutions, the Athenian encourages people to marry partners who have opposite characteristics. 278e, 283c–287c (where 285a–b serves as a compact summary of the method so far). First, the policies reflect the view that the character we develop is largely shaped by what we find pleasurable and painful. Mating will be arranged by using a lottery. An alternative answer is that Plato changed his mind. In addition, it breaks the text into smaller sections, offering a brief analysis of each. Athens represents the extreme democracy and Persia the extreme monarchy. 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. An anthology that surveys philosophical debates concerning the Laws. Gymnastics is education related to physical activity.