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the laws, plato summary

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Some centuries later Plutarch would also devote attention to the topic of Ancient Greek law systems, e.g. This exploration takes the form of a comparative evaluation of the practices found in the interlocutors’ homelands. The answer is that some people are beyond cure and death is best for them and the city (862d-863a). The argument is not yet complete, however. On the other hand, there is “self-motion,” which moves itself as well as other things (894b-c). When discussing the preludes, the Athenian repeatedly says that they involve teaching, learning, and reason (4.718c-d, 4.720d, 4.723a, 9.857d-e, 9.858d, and 10.888a). The text is noteworthy as Plato's only undisputed dialogue not to feature Socrates. The government of Magnesia is a mixture of democratic and authoritarian principles that aim at making all of its citizens happy and virtuous. Go here to see the full Introduction and Analysis. Klosko, G. “The Nocturnal Council in Plato’s Laws.”, Part three discusses Plato’s political thought in the, Sassi, M. “The Self, the Soul, and the Individual in the City of the Laws.”, Saunders, T. J. 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. In fact, things like beauty and wealth in the hands of a corrupt person will enable him or her to act in ways that will lead to failure. In the 21st century, there has been a growing interest among philosophers in the study of the Laws. Initially, this poses a problem. On the face of it, the puppet metaphor raises trouble for both of these commitments. (2007). There are two related ways in which physical movement affects one’s character. 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. If the gods are indifferent to human affairs or can be persuaded, then either the gods do not care about citizens disobeying the law or they can be bribed out of caring. This section addresses: property law (913a-915c), commercial law (915d-922a), family law (922a-932d), and miscellaneous laws (932e-960c). Many scholars have pointed out that the Athenian appears to equivocate on the terms “voluntary” and “involuntary.” When discussing voluntary and involuntary harms the terms are used in the ordinary sense, reflecting what an agent actively or consciously desires and wishes. Plato’s view of justice ties in with his view of a perfect world. Magnesia, the theoretical colony of Crete that is developed in the Laws, is a self-sufficient agricultural state located nine to ten miles from the sea. Reviewed by Nathan Powers, The University at Albany (SUNY) Even to its admirers, the Laws is a turgid and uneven work; Plato's second attempt, late in life, to describe an ideal government lacks much of the philosophical verve of his earlier Republic. Megillus easily identifies the Spartan practices that cultivate courage. Scholars adopt a variety of approaches towards this issue. Whatever the answer is, it is clear that Plato thinks that belief in god is in some way tied to thinking that morality is objective. Second, the laws are less severe than the one’s expressed in the Republic in which there is no private marriage for the guardian class (that is, soldiers and philosophers). What could explain this inconsistency? Like Minos, they too will found their political system on their understanding of the gods. However, the allegiance dissolved with only Sparta surviving the fallout with any kind of success. This lends credence to thinking that the ideal city described in the Laws is not the Callipolis. The Laws is similar to and yet in opposition to the Republic. However, when discussing voluntary and involuntary injustice the terms are used in the Socratic sense, reflecting what an agent deeply desires and wishes. The Athenian believes that these impious beliefs threaten to undermine the political and ethical foundation of the city. Introduction and Analysis []. In the Republic (see also, the Phaedrus 246a-254e), the three parts of the soul are: the reasoning/calculating part, the spirited part, and the appetitive parts. Books 7 and 8 provide the details of Plato’s account of education, which extends to both males and females. The Book concerns the laws of impiety of which there are three varieties (885b): Atheism: The belief that the gods do not exist. Because of this, Plato finds it odd that humans devote so much time and energy to pursuing external goods and so little to achieving internal goods. However, because complete virtue involves knowledge, which only philosophers have, non-philosophers can only approximate virtue. 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). Clinias states that Apollo is credited as the originator of Crete’s laws, while Zeus is credited as the founder of Sparta’s (624a-625a). The Athenian begins by explaining that there are two types of motions. Each household will be allotted to plots of land (one near the city center and one located further away) and these plots of land are inalienable to the holder’s family. However, because citizens will find such laws to be excessively restrictive, the Athenian only wants to encourage, but not require, citizens to marry people with opposite qualities (773c-774a). Plato was a Greek philosopher known and recognized for having allowed such a considerable philosophical work.. 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. However, this interpretation does face the problem in that the cord called reason/calculation in the metaphor is itself described as an emotion/force, which raises doubts that Plato’s intent is to draw a contrast between reason and the emotions. However, as one ages, one grows despondent and less interested in song and dance. One cord is sacred and golden. Third, for his time, Plato is actually progressive in his views of women. The Athenian maintains that any law that does not serve the interest of the whole city is a bogus law (715b). Since the law is connected to the divine, those who serve the interests of the city are really serving the gods (715c-d). Of course, Plato does not provide the details of the marriage laws surrounding the working class citizens and for all we know these might have been similar to the ones in Magnesia. Symposium by Plato Summary. The Athenian clearly wants citizens to obey the law voluntarily. It is less clear why the Athenian is concerned about atheists, however. Punishment must not simply look to the harm that is caused, but must look to the psychological state under which injury resulted. These cords, which represent affections (pleasure, pain, and the emotions) in the soul, pull the puppet in various directions. Second, the nocturnal council will study the ethical principles underlying the law. He argues that the Spartans only have partial courage because complete courage involves not only overcoming fear and pain, but desire and pleasure as well (633c-d). 43 i.e. In addition, members of the nocturnal council will study cosmology and theology. Indeed, courage, the Athenian argues, is the least important virtue (631d). Book 3 examines the origins of government and the merits of different constitutions. Why did the allegiance fail? Because the Callipolis is an unattainable utopia, there is no point to discussing the customs in any sort of detail, but because Magnesia is attainable, this is a worthwhile project. There is a notable exception, however, in that comedy will be allowed as long as it is performed by slaves or foreigners (816d-e). Plat. The Athenian maintains that geometric equality is the true form of equality since humans have different natures and to treat them as equal is actually a form of inequality. The second interpretation holds that the persuasion is non-rational and does not appeal to citizens’ reason, but rather their emotion. Musical education includes all of the subjects of the Muses, subjects such as music, poetry, and mathematics. Click anywhere in the line to jump to another position: Laws Relationships. He maintains that the gods are rulers since they manage the heavens (905e). (2000). Indeed, it is a problem that pervades all of Plato’s work. How is the Athenian not simply making the same mistake he accused the Persian leaders of making? Because physical education is meant to provide military training, sports will be modified to emphasize this. This article is a summary into the Athenian interlocutor's argument into the relevance and existence of the If they see bad people doing well or acting as cowards, they will be more inclined to become bad and cowardly. Here Plato undertakes to refute certain impious views that he believes to be obstructive to the preservation of good government. Having secured the importance of teaching the connection between justice and happiness, the Athenian continues his discussion of symposium. 10 & 11 translated by R.G. tags: music. Hence, the inclusion of lot casting is a concession to the egalitarian sentiment found in democracies. Lesson Summary. Book 4 begins the construction of this new colony. Indeed, the city is designed in such a way to prevent citizens from becoming extremely wealthy or poor. The dialogue rather proceeds from the question, "who it is that receives credit for creating laws.". However, the Athenian recognizes that not everyone will be moved by this argument and offers a myth that he hopes will persuade doubters (903b-905d). Leisure in Plato’s Laws. In these opening books of Plato's last work, a Cretan, a Spartan, and an Athenian discuss legislative theory, moral psychology, and the criteria for evaluating art. Nevertheless, most humans fail to do this, and instead pursue beauty, wealth, and pleasure at the expense of virtue, and as a result, they prioritize the body over the soul (726a-728d). Athenians began to consider themselves as the authority on various matters and let pleasure guide them. After discussing the rise and fall of Troy, the Athenian turns to the history of the three allied Dorian states of the Peloponnese: Sparta, Argos, and Messene. Three elderly men are walking from Cnossos to the sacred cave and sanctuary of Zeus located on Mount Ida. Socrates arrives at the party late, as he was lost in thought on the neighboring porch. Even to its admirers, the Laws is a turgid and uneven work; Plato's second attempt, late in life, to describe an ideal government lacks much of the philosophical verve of his earlier Republic.But Book 10 of the dialogue is an exception. Unlike in the Callipolis, private property is allowed throughout Magnesia and political power spreads throughout the city. Readers might find the idea of honoring the soul and body as being not only mystical sounding, but also wrong. The Athenian wants citizens to be motivated to obey the law. Having explained the concept of a prelude, the Athenian proceeds to offer a prelude which will preface the entire legal code of Magnesia. Additionally, imagine, for instance, that there was a complete rest, the only thing that could initiate motion again would be self-motion (895a-b). The Athenian responds by pointing out that reconciliation and harmony among warring parties is superior to one group defeating another. Wilburn, J. The Athenian will respond by offering four arguments for why it is necessary that the legislators teach that happiness is linked to justice. 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). Book 5 begins with various moral lessons and then shifts to an account of the correct procedure for founding Magnesia and distributing the land within it. After discussing the appropriate population and geography of Magnesia, Book 4 analyzes the correct method for legislating law. Stalley, R. F. An Introduction in Plato’s Laws. Although people are attracted to those who are like them, citizens will be encouraged to put the good of the state above their own preferences. In it, he sketches the basic political structure and laws of an ideal city named Magnesia. Now he sits in prison awaiting his execution, which cannot take place until the conclusion of a nearby religious ceremony. Eventually, Darius took control of the empire and this process repeated itself. Accordingly, the former should be punished more severally than the latter. However, due to the psychological limitations of humans, the actual preludes will not live up to this ideal. In Plato’s Crito , the Laws of Athens offers many reasons why Socrates should not escape. In both the Republic and the Laws,Plato identifies education as one of the most important aspectsof a healthy state. The compulsion comes in the form of a punishment attached to the law if the persuasion should fail to motivate compliance. Ignorance Thesis: All wrongdoing is the result of ignorance. From this he concludes that soul is the first source of movement and change in everything and is prior to material things (896c-d). Hence, in order for citizens to cultivate the appropriate dispositions, it is essential that the city have the correct policies and that citizen receive the correct education. 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. 9.1", "denarius") All Search Options [view abbreviations] Home Collections/Texts Perseus Catalog Research Grants Open Source About Help. “Legislation and Demiurgy: On the Relationship between Plato’s. In addition, each clan brought with them different religious customs. The next project is to describe what constitution this benevolent dictator will create. Education, for Plato, mostly comes in the form of play and its importance cannot be overstated. Summary Analysis Glaucon asks Socrates whether justice belongs 1) in the class of good things we choose to have for themselves, like joy, or 2) those we value for their consequences though they themselves are hard, like physical training, or 3) the things we value for themselves and their consequences, like knowledge. He recognizes that citizens will be diverse in both their interests and intellectual abilities. Summary Overall Summary Apollodorus relates to an unnamed companion a story he learned from Aristodemus about a symposium, or dinner-party, given in honor of the tragedian Agathon. If he was to escape he would be disobeying in three ways, one to his parents, two to those who have brought him up and three which is his agreement with his city. The Athenian explains that the soul is the master of the body and because of this it should be given priority over the body. Summary and Analysis Book IV: Section I Summary. 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. In addition, in the Laws Plato defends several positions that appear in tension with ideas expressed in his other works. If traditional theism were true, the gods would resemble petty and greedy rulers (906a-e). Book 9 introduces criminal law and analyzes what factors should be taken into account when determining a punishment. 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. The Athenian is explicitly linking together reason, law, and the divine. Other people are blind compared to them. This is most clearly seen in the Athenian’s discussion of equality (756e-758). Colonists will mostly come from Crete, though individuals from the greater Peloponnese will be welcome as well. Second, Ancient Greek ethics is usually interpreted as egoistic in the sense that ethical inquiry centers on the question of what is the best life for an individual. Plato, Laws ("Agamemnon", "Hom. Atheists believe that the origins of the cosmos are basic elemental bodies randomly interacting with each other via an unintelligent process. This is significant because in the Republic, Plato says that it is through mathematics that we come to learn about non-sensible properties, which are the subject of philosophical thought (7.522c-540b). He lays out detailed education programs thatstart with exercises pregnant women should perform to ensure thehealth of the fetus, and he goes on to explain not only what childrenshould study but also what values they should be exposed to andwhat kinds of art and physical exercise they should engage in. Supervised drinking parties provide a safe and inexpensive way to do this. This is only the first part of a lengthy, 200 page Introduction Jowett wrote. • (625a-c) A discussion of “constitutions and laws” proposed to fill the 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. After expressing that citizens ought to care for others, the Athenian offers a fascinating argument in defense of the virtuous life. At the end of Book 3, Clinias reveals that he is one of ten Cretans assigned to compose a legal code for a new colony, Magnesia. Book 3 surveys the success and failures of different political constitutions throughout history. If citizens refuse, they must be punished. Second, the only way to consistently achieve a balanced political system is if the citizens receive a proper education. The major intent of the debate in the Republic is to determine an extended definition of what constitutes Justice in a given state, whether or not a concept of Justice may be determined by citizens in a given state at the time that Plato is writing, and how Justice may be accomplished in a given state (how laws might be enacted that would serve the citizens of a just state in courts of law). Defends a middle reading of the preludes, arguing that the difference in citizen body explains the difference in the type of persuasion used. Laws 799a., Plat. There are three main interpretations. There is some speculation as to who this unnamed Athenian might be. The Athenian must show that the qualities that this self-moving soul possesses are divine and worthy of being called a god. By exploring these apparent differences, students of Plato and the history of philosophy will come away with a more nuanced and complex understanding of Plato’s philosophical ideas. Second, there are those that do not cooperate with natural processes and are useless such as law and religion. ATHENIAN: Tell me, Strangers, is a God or some man supposed to be the author of your laws? To be sure, the political structure of the Callipolis secures the correct behavior of all citizens. Chapter 1, authored by Malcom Schofield, provides a helpful overview of the, A brief article that provides an overview of the, An anthology with chapters dedicated to each book of the. Another notable difference is that only philosophers possess fully-developed virtue in the Republic (and in the Phaedo) while in the Laws the Athenian says that correct legislation aims at developing virtue in the entire citizen body (1.630d-631d, 4.705d-706a, 4.407d, 6.770c, 12.962b-963a). Book 10 is probably the most studied and best known part of the Laws. laws, who shall give them this privilege, and they alone shall be free to sing; but the rest of the world shall not have this liberty. Most of this section is relatively self-explanatory and does not warrant additional comment. Book 10 examines laws concerning impiety and presents an account of theology. Nevertheless, a political system must grant authority only to those who are wise since the masses will simply pursue what they find most pleasant. By education, the Athenian does not mean technical skills, but rather things that direct one towards virtue. This discussion covers a wide array of topics, which include: the selection of citizens (735a-736e), the distribution of land (736c-737d and 740a), the population (737e-738b and 740b-744a), religion (738c-738e), the ideal state (739a-739e), the four property classes (744b-745b), administrative units of the state (745b-745e), the flexibility of the law in light of facts (745e-746d), the importance of mathematics (746d-747d), and the influence of the climate (747d-747e). First, the Athenian argues that physical movement directly affects one’s emotions. However, if an official feels they are being unfairly treated by a scrutineer, they can accuse the scrutineers and a trial will be held to determine the truth. Despite the fact that the Laws treats a number of basic issues in political and ethical philosophy as well as theology, it has suffered neglect compared with the Republic.In recent years, however, more scholarly attention has been paid to the Laws. Books 1 and 2 explore what is the purpose of government. Megillus and Clinias hold that the goal of government is to win in war, since conflict is an essential condition of all human beings (625ca-627c). Hence, the ordinary sense only refers to conscious psychological states, while the Socratic sense can refer to unconscious states or what is entailed by desiring the good. He takes on the persona of the laws in order to argue on their behalf. In Plato's Crito, Socrates has been unjustly accused of his crimes by those opposed to him. 1 likes. CHAPTER 4 PLATO: THE REALLY REAL. Thus, drinking parties will return older adults to a youthful state in which they are more eager to participate in musical education (671a-674c). The dialogue is set on the Greek island of Crete in the 4th century B.C.E. On the one hand, there is “transmitted motion,” which moves other things, but cannot move unless another motion moves it. The prelude ends with an attempt to show that the virtuous life leads to the maximum amount of pleasure and the vicious life leads to the maximum amount of pain. However, because reason/calculation is soft and gentle it requires the assistance of the other cords (which are hard and violent) to move the puppet in the correct way. Dancers will become graceful and courageous by imitating graceful and courageous movements, while they will become the opposite by imitating the opposite (814e-816e). Upon reaching this, the lover will see Beauty in its pure Form, and give birth not to an image of virtue, but true virtue. 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. MEGILLUS: Certainly. Some scholars defend a continuity between the Laws and the Republic, while others argue that the metaphor suggests a bipartition between the rational and non-rational. 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. Complete summary of Plato's Plato's Republic. Laws 795e. (Indiana: Hackett Publishing, 1983). That being said, much of the Laws issues warnings about unrestricted power (see especially 3.691a-d, 4.713c, 9.875a-b); thus, it would be strange for the book to end with a renunciation of this thesis. It is worth pointing out that the use of imprisonment as punishment in Greek society appears to be an innovation of Plato. Both of these features will play out in the drama of the dialogue as each interlocutor will defend views characteristic of their home institutions and will behave in ways that are stereotypical of their culture. This is what he does next by connecting the rationality of the soul with the divine and virtue (897b-899b). 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. Plato, the great philosopher of Athens, was born in 427 BCE.

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