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Laws by [Plato]
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Laws Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product description

Synopsis

An animated dialogue between a philosopher and a statesman, this work addresses eternal questions about the relations between political theory and practice. It presents the author's reflections on the family, the status of women, property rights, criminal law and the social roles of religion and the fine arts.

About the Author

Plato ranks among the most familiar ancient philosophers, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle. In addition to writing philosophical dialogues — used to teach logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion, and mathematics as well as philosophy — he founded Athens' Academy, the Western world's first institution of higher learning.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1395 KB
  • Print Length: 525 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1419129295
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00847N8GY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,554 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
When one thinks of Plato and his ideas of politics, one naturally gravitates toward his best-known work, the Republic. In that book, Plato set up the ideal city-state, with classes born and bred to specific functions and roles in society, and a sense of philosophical outlook consistent across the board. However, such a society was unlikely to be brought out, in Plato's time and, as it turned out, in any other.
Plato tried at different times to persuade rulers to become his envisioned philosopher-king; the last attempt was with a tyrant of Syracuse, who in the end imprisoned Plato rather than following his directions. Plato wrote this work, 'The Laws', as the last of his dialogues. Its difference from the Republic is immediately apparent in the absence of Socrates as a character - Plato at the end of his life has finally taken to working in his own right and not through a proxy.
Just looking at the contents will show the breadth of this work - it involves practically every aspect of civil society: legislative bodies (and Plato has some scathing commentaries on some that he has known); education and its proper role and method (including even drinking parties as part of the educational process); ideas of monarchy, democracy, and the balance of power (some American constitutional ideas were generated from a reading (and occasional misreading) of this work); civil administration; arts and sciences; military and sports training; sexual conduct; economics; criminal law, torts, and judicial process; religion and theology; civil law, property and family law; Plato even argues for the need of a 'nocturnal council', one that delves not only into the practical aspects of the law, but also their philosophical bases.
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By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 21 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
When one thinks of Plato and his ideas of politics, one naturally gravitates toward his best-known work, the Republic. In that book, Plato set up the ideal city-state, with classes born and bred to specific functions and roles in society, and a sense of philosophical outlook consistent across the board. However, such a society was unlikely to be brought out, in Plato's time and, as it turned out, in any other.
Plato tried at different times to persuade rulers to become his envisioned philosopher-king; the last attempt was with a tyrant of Syracuse, who in the end imprisoned Plato rather than following his directions. Plato wrote this work, 'The Laws', as the last of his dialogues. Its difference from the Republic is immediately apparent in the absence of Socrates as a character - Plato at the end of his life has finally taken to working in his own right and not through a proxy.
Just looking at the contents will show the breadth of this work - it involves practically every aspect of civil society: legislative bodies (and Plato has some scathing commentaries on some that he has known); education and its proper role and method (including even drinking parties as part of the educational process); ideas of monarchy, democracy, and the balance of power (some American constitutional ideas were generated from a reading (and occasional misreading) of this work); civil administration; arts and sciences; military and sports training; sexual conduct; economics; criminal law, torts, and judicial process; religion and theology; civil law, property and family law; Plato even argues for the need of a 'nocturnal council', one that delves not only into the practical aspects of the law, but also their philosophical bases.
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But - many fascinating insights from this neglected last of Plato's texts - which is repetitive, and sometimes lunatic. It consists of the first attempt in the Western World to set out in detail a set of laws. Plato's distopian theocracy attempts to capture the most trivial details of people's lives - exactly when, for example they may harvest grapes for keeping (after the rising of Arcturus), but his system however eccentric captures many intimate details of the customs and lives of the period. I like one particular law which it would serve us well to adopt - that at the conclusion of a civil case, the judge should attempt to reconcile the parties. Amusingly, secret scrumping is to be lawful - provided the culprit is not caught. Laws is more specific than The Republic - and even more despotic. A notable feature is an exposition of Plato's religious views. His gods are not Homeric and anthropomorphic, but omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. There are even hints of monotheism - of the Judaeo-Christian G-d. The work contains a version of the cosmological argument for the existence of G-d. The proposed laws in relation to slaves are notable for their brutality, and imply accepted mores which should correct uncritical admiration for the society of this period. It was useful to read this text concurrently with Xenophon's Memorabilia (recollections of Socrates,) thus juxtaposing the views of Socrates as independently recalled, and those of his pupil and publicist. I give the book 4 stars not for its intrinsic merit, but for its interest as an historical text.
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