Plato's 'Laws': A Critical Guide

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Long understudied, Plato's Laws has been the object of renewed attention in the past decade, and is now considered to be his major work of political philosophy besides the Republic. In his last dialogue, Plato returns to the project of describing the foundation of a just city and sketches in considerable detail its constitution, laws and other social institutions. Written by leading Platonists, these essays cover a wide range of topics central for understanding the Laws, such as the aim of the Laws as a whole, the ethical psychology of the Laws, especially its views of pleasure and non-rational motivations, and whether and, if so, how the strict law code of the Laws can encourage genuine virtue. They make an important contribution to ongoing debates and will open up fresh lines of inquiry for further research.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...The quality and insight of the contributions are very high, and the range of addressed themes very broad...."
—Diego De Brasi, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"...a good paper on Plato’s moral psychology.... articulate and carefully reasoned work on the Timaeus is attributed to the Laws..."
—Philosophy in Review, John Mouracade, University of Alaska Anchorage

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521884631
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2010
  • Series: Cambridge Critical Guides Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Bobonich is Professor of Philosophy and, by courtesy, Classics at Stanford University. He is the author of Plato's Utopia Recast (2002) and of a number of articles on the Laws and other aspects of Greek ethical and political theory.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Christopher Bobonich; 1. The Laws' two projects Malcolm Schofield; 2. The relationship of the Laws to other dialogues: a proposal Christopher Rowe; 3. Ordinary virtue from the Phaedo to the Laws Richard Kraut; 4. Virtue and law in Plato Julia Annas; 5. Morality as law and morality in the Laws Terence Irwin; 6. Puppets on strings: moral psychology in Laws I and II Dorothea Frede; 7. Psychology and the inculcation of virtue in Plato's Laws Rachana Kamtekar; 8. Images of irrationality Christopher Bobonich; 9. Family and the question of women in the Laws Thanassis Samaras; 10. The theology of the Laws Robert Mayhew; 11. Plato's 'truest tragedy' (Laws VII, 817a-d) André Laks; Bibliography; Index.

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