having to banish the poets. The dialogue is set on the Greek island of Crete in the 4th century B.C.E. He is sent to heaven, and made Need help with Book 10 in Plato's The Republic? From this point, Plato goes on to argue that (e) among these self-moving first principles of the cosmos are gods: these will be souls that are guided in their motion by reason (nous). It will help first to summarize the chief points of Plato's argument: (a) all motion or change is ultimately due to one or more self-moving entities; so (b) these self-movers, as the originators of all motion and change, are "prior" to entities which are merely moved by other things. It even goads us into feeling these base emotions 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. Summary. To take an example, Mayhew translates the Greek word epimeleia (and its cognates) as "supervision" (and its cognates) throughout. Like Minos, they too wil… The character of these motions, Plato thinks, offers positive grounds (as noted above) for the inference that the souls causing them are reasoning beings; this is the inference he relies on to establish the existence of gods. His brief is to establish that there exist gods who govern human affairs, and to this end the gods he decides to talk about are the souls that move the celestial bodies. and other vices obviously do not destroy the soul or tyrants and That power is the soul. The rational part of the soul Once Socrates has presented this proof, he is able to Generally speaking, the comments are cautious in tone; Mayhew tends to set out the various interpretive possibilities that one might opt for rather than pursuing a strong line of interpretation himself, either at the level of individual passages or over the course of the whole text. Those who are looking for a strong take on how the positions staked out in Laws 10 fit into the dense constellation of views that Plato develops in his late dialogues, or even on what the implications of the theology of Book 10 are for the political theory of the Laws, will be less satisfied. So (d) the first principles of the physical cosmos are souls, in virtue of which self-moving entities move themselves; souls are prior to all bodily, physical entities. Suddenly we have become the grotesque sorts of people we Under the tyranny of erotic love he has permanently become while awake what he used to become occasionally while asleep. Viewed from this angle, Laws 10 has suffered from strange neglect at the hands of modern scholars. Introductory conversation (624a-625c) The divine origin of legislation, and the human project of inquiring into laws. As these men trace Minos’ steps, they seek to discover what the best political system and laws are. if anyone could present an argument in their defense. reasons for regarding the poets as unwholesome and dangerous. Indeed, since in making his case Plato appeals primarily to facts about the physical world that are in principle observable by anyone, Laws 10 arguably stands at the head of the entire tradition of "natural" theology in the West. Plato was a Greek philosopher known and recognized for having allowed such a considerable philosophical work.. Copyright © 2020 Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews This may be the book's chief strength, and at the same time its chief weakness. But (2) does not follow logically from (1). It deceives us into But absent such grounds, Mayhew thinks, Plato cannot show that these pre-cosmic souls are rational and hence divine. Its musings on the ethics of government and law have established it as a classic of political philosophy alongside Plato's more widely read Republic. We might expect at this point some version of the argument from design; but the ground Plato offers for the inference is, curiously, that the motion of these bodies "has the same nature as the motion and revolution and calculations of reason, and proceeds in a related way" (897c). An exploration of this question would have been a welcome addition to the volume. I will register one particular point of disagreement I have with Mayhew. While it does usefully make the reader aware of where Plato is using the same language in multiple spots, it can also have the effect of obscuring information about the connotations of the words involved which a more flexible, context-sensitive approach to translation might preserve. And in fact we have judges appointed in those whom we selected to be … lay out his final argument in favor of justice. So there should be no worry that Plato simply assumes that certain mysterious, unobservable souls could be rational in a way at least somewhat similar to human rationality. What It develops laws to govern a projected state and is apparently meant to be practical in a way that … in battle, but does not really die. Download; Bibrec; Bibliographic Record . The conversation depicted in the work's twelve books begins with the question of who is given the credit for establishing a civilization's laws. Now, I'm not completely convinced that Plato is committing the fallacy Mayhew attributes to him. Chapter. Plato "has given us no reason to think that these could not and did not come to be only alongside or after the appearance of certain physical entities -- i.e. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef. But Book 10 of the dialogue is an exception. Book 10, pg. But the argument of Laws 10 is silent on these matters.). He has three reasons for regarding the poets as unwholesome and dangerous. Summary ATHENIAN: Our business dealings with one another would come next; they call for regulation, as appropriate. book 1 book 2 book 3 book 4 book 5 book 6 book 7 book 8 book 9 book 10 book 11 book 12. section: section 884a section 885a section 885b section 885c section 885d section 885e section 886a section 886b section 886c section 886d section 886e section 887a section 887b section 887c section 887d section 887e section 888a section 888b section 888c section 888d section 888e section 889a section … Such, Plato claims, is the attitude of the gods towards humans. For example, having argued that all motion in the physical world ultimately derives from soul, Plato goes on to infer that the soul or souls responsible for the world's most important, large-scale motions (those of the celestial bodies) are rational. Mayhew approaches this task with a great deal of patience and good judgment. In general, Saunders' translation is more fluid than Mayhew's, without being significantly less accurate. And in Laws 10, the character Kleinias draws attention precisely to the political significance of the subject: a successful defense of theism would be, he says, the "finest and best prelude on behalf of all the laws" (887b, my emphasis). Now, (c) self-movers must be alive (that is, they must be ensouled things), because when we say something is alive we mean precisely that it has the power to cause motion or change in itself. The gist of this vexing passage is that in their unerring circularity and completely steady pace, celestial motions somehow resemble the uniformity, constancy, and regularity of rational thought. Plato: Laws 10. Despite the caveats that I shall express below, this is a book that anyone seriously interested in Plato's Laws will want to consult. 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. report what he saw. Three elderly men are walking from Cnossos to the sacred cave and sanctuary of Zeus located on Mount Ida. Here, Socrates considerably broadens his attack on the visual and dramatic arts. Project Gutenberg ... 66 by Plato; Laws by Plato. that they write about, but, in fact, they do not. According to the myth, a warrior named Er is killed Summary. the worst parts—the inclinations that make characters easily excitable Mayhew suggests that in making this last claim, Plato commits the fallacy of division. In other words, the basic physical rules or constraints the cosmos follows were -- somehow -- designed from the outset with the administration of divine justice (as described in this myth) in mind. can destroy the soul, and the soul is immortal. But the enjoyment we feel on the myth of Er, appeals to the rewards which the just will receive Size and Situation b. Commentary: Several comments have been posted about Laws. 2 LAWS BOOK I. These suggestions would need to be fleshed out, of course. Mayhew lays out a number of plausible new suggestions about how exactly the comparison is to be understood. Although it has been neglected (compared to such works as the Republic and Symposium), it is beginning to receive a great deal of scholarly attention. ISSN: 1538 - 1617 Create lists, bibliographies and reviews: or Search WorldCat. Where Mayhew succeeds most is in his discussion of some of Book 10's thorniest passages. Check if you have access via personal or institutional login. On the question of chronolo… Laws 627d. Plato’s Laws Outline of Book I I. poets, pervert souls, turning them away from the most real toward This is an important term because it is the word Plato settles on, after having argued for the existence of gods, to characterize their relationship to human beings: the gods exercise epimeleia towards humans. sins or good deeds of their life. Laws By Plato . Mayhew's patient analysis pays off in his remarks on another notoriously difficult passage, Laws 903a-905d. Search. CLEINIAS: A God, Stranger; in very truth a God: among us Cretans he is said to have been Zeus, but in Lacedaemon, whence our friend here comes, I believe they would say that Apollo is their lawgiver: would they not, Megillus? The law that the poet shall compose nothing which goes beyond the limits of what the State holds to be legal and right, fair and good; nor shall he show [801d] his compositions to any private person until they have first been shown to the judges appointed to deal with these matters, and to the Law-wardens, and have been approved by them. animals and especially humans" (p. 130). What Mayhew does not discuss, here or elsewhere, is how the theism Plato argues for in Book 10 as the cure for impiety is more generally related to the rule of law as conceived throughout the Laws. and arouses, nourishes, and strengthens this base elements while diverting Reviewed by Nathan Powers, The University at Albany (SUNY). The reason he wants to talk about these particular gods is precisely that they can be observed … About these souls we can make claims (Plato thinks) on the same sort of basis on which we make claims about the souls of our colleagues, neighbors, and pets: by observing what they do. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Worse, the images the poets portray do not Robert Mayhew, Plato: Laws 10, Oxford University Press, 2008, 238pp., $70.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199225965. The Laws is Plato's last and longest dialogue. The Republic Book 2 Summary & Analysis | LitCharts. 2. Poetry corrupts even the best souls. I have no doubt that it will both stimulate new interest in Laws 10 and provide a sturdy foundation for further study of it. Millions of books are just a click away on BN.com and through our FREE NOOK reading apps. Now, in Greek this word is used to convey the stewardship that good owners show towards their possessions, or that good administrators exhibit in their areas of responsibility. Socrates reemphasizes the importance of the limits placed on poetry in the city in speech. He feels the aesthetic sacrifice acutely, But the point I want to make is that even if the fallacy is indeed there, it is not nearly as damaging to Plato's overall argument as Mayhew makes it out to be. laugh at base things. Search for Library Items Search for Lists Search for Contacts Search for a Library. Socrates has now completed the main argument of The Republic; he has defined justice and shown it to be worthwhile. deal with cannot be known: they are images, far removed from what vicariously. BCE-347? We think there is no shame in indulging these emotions energy from the rational part. This is the situation Robert Mayhew seeks to remedy in his new book, the latest entry in Oxford's Clarendon Plato Series. In a surprising move, he banishes poets from the city. (source: Nielsen Book Data) Summary Susan Sauve Meyer presents a new translation of Plato's Laws, 1 and 2. Although I have indicated what seem to me to be some shortcomings of this volume, I'd like to end by emphasizing that it is on the whole a clear, useful, and judicious examination of a too-long neglected text. Poetry naturally appeals to the worst parts of souls No cover available. in the afterlife. It seems appropriate to begin with a few words about the translation, which aims to stay extremely close to the original Greek. In a surprising move, he banishes poets from the city. Laws by Plato, part of the Internet Classics Archive. By presenting scenes so far removed from the truth in indulging these emotions in other lives is transferred to our Laws 626a. The reason he wants to talk about these particular gods is precisely that they can be observed -- or more precisely, their orderly, circular motions can be observed. Home : Browse and Comment: Search : Buy Books and CD-ROMs: Help : Laws By Plato Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett. in a common area and made to choose their next life, either animal It offers sustained reflection on the enterprise of legislation, and on its role in the social and religious regulation of society in all its aspects. CLEINIAS: Likely enough. Trevor Saunders, in his 1970 translation, does a better job by translating the word variously (where the context suggests it) as the gods' "supervision" or "control" over, "diligence" or "concern" towards, being "solicitous" or "attentive" to, or showing "care" for human affairs. Need help with Book 2 in Plato's The Republic? reborn as a swan, catch on to the trick of how to choose just lives. It is widely considered that they have knowledge of all and colorful. Read reviews from world’s largest community for readers. ATHENIAN: And therefore let us proceed with our legislation until we have sympathizing with those who grieve excessively, who lust inappropriately, who Poets imitate Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis. • (625a-c) A discussion of “constitutions and laws” proposed to fill the journey to the sacred cave of Zeus. is most real. 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. Socrates then outlines a brief proof for the immortality In fact, in Laws 10 Plato is uninterested in establishing conclusions about the existence or character of unembodied gods (let alone pre-cosmic gods). Socrates has now completed the main argument of The Scholars generally agree that Plato wrote this dialogue as an older man, … Many of its ideas were drawn upon by later political thinkers, from Aristotle and Cicero to Thomas More and Montesquieu. The Laws, Plato's longest dialogue, has for centuries been recognized as the most comprehensive exposition of the practical consequences of his philosophy, a necessary corrective to the more visionary and utopian Republic.In this animated encounter between a foreign philosopher and a powerful statesman, not only do we see reflected, in Plato's own thought, eternal questio Despite the clear dangers of poetry, Socrates regrets pretend to know all sorts of things, but they really know nothing only be destroyed by what is bad for X. virtue, particularly wisdom. the least. Log in Register Recommend to librarian Cited by 2; Cited by . Readers looking for a thoughtful companion for a walk through the text, or for help with understanding better a particular passage, will for the most part be in luck. PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: An Athenian Stranger, Cleinias (a Cretan), Megillus (a Lacedaemonian). of the soul. Written in the hope that it may shed some light on what is a poorly recognised yet important piece of Ancient Greek philosophical work. is bad for the soul is injustice and other vices. Plato, the great philosopher of Athens, was born in 427 BCE. This article is a summary into the Athenian interlocutor's argument into the relevance and existence of the and says that he would be happy to allow them back into the city lives. II. ATHENIAN: Tell me, Strangers, is a God or some man supposed to be the author of your laws? In the passage Plato states the need for a special law against impiety. Earlier in the dialogue, Socrates suggested that certain kinds of music and poetry should not be permitted in the curriculum of study for the future rulers of the State because some art did not seem to be morally uplifting, hence perhaps bad for children. He has three PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: An Athenian Stranger, Cleinias (a Cretan), Megillus (a Lacedaemonian). saw on stage or heard about in epic poetry. "Supervision" has, I think, a rather thinner meaning; it lacks epimeleia's connotation of concerned attention. He observes an eschatalogical system which rewards He turns back to the postponed question concerning poetry about human beings. ATHENIAN: Tell me, Strangers, is a God or some man supposed to be the author of your laws? Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Given these views, he may well feel the need to emphasize, by asserting (2), that what ultimately explains every physical change or motion will be, in every case, some property or aspect of soul, and not any material property of bodies; soul does indeed have that kind of global and comprehensive priority to body on his account. philosophical while alive, including Orpheus who chooses to be College of Arts and Letters In the more exuberantly speculative days of the 19th century, theauthenticity of the Laws was rejected by various figures: eventhe great Platonist, Ast, held that “One who knows the true Platoneeds only to read a single page of the Laws in order toconvince himself that it is a fraudulent Plato that he has beforehim.”[1] Such skepticism is hard to understand,especially since Aristotle refers to the Lawsas a dialogue ofPlato’s in numerous passages and today no serious scholar doubts itsauthenticity. ATHENIAN: And do you, Cleinias, believe, as Homer tells, that every nint… This chapter has been cited by the following publications. There is, then, an interesting question (whose answer is far from clear) as to how exactly correct theological beliefs are supposed to be foundational to just government as envisioned in the Laws. This setting is crucially linked to the theme of the Laws. WorldCat Home About WorldCat Help. In the course of doing so, he offers the earliest surviving arguments both for the existence of a god (or gods) and for the providential divine administration of the universe. Summary and Analysis Book X: Section I Summary. Summary and analysis of Book 10 of Plato's Republic. The Republic Introduction + Context. Plato: Laws. (The law itself is formulated and discussed only briefly at the end of Book 10; most of the intervening space is occupied with a formal rhetorical "prelude" to the law addressing the root causes of impious actions -- namely, incorrect beliefs about the gods.) The very lengthy Laws is thought to be Plato’s last composition, since there is generally accepted evidence that it was unrevised at his death. The Laws The Relationship Between the Republic and the Laws Magnesia: the New Utopia a. Book 10 of the Laws contains Plato's fullest defence of the existence of the gods, and his last word on their nature, as well as a presentation and defence of laws against impiety (e.g. Author: Plato, 427? because we are indulging them with respect to a fictional character Find items in libraries near you. Also, a discussion of Art, Poetry, Tragedy, and the Just life. Republic; he has defined justice and shown it to be worthwhile. It is in the first book of the Laws that the general tone is set and that a view of what is according to nature is introduced as a guiding ... For more detail about the following account see my “‘Reason Striving to Become Law’: Nature and Law in Plato’s Laws,” American Journal of Jurisprudence 54 (2009): 67-91. Book IX opens with a long and psychologically insightful description of the tyrannical man. Plato's longest dialogue--one of my shortest introductions. First, they He makes this claim most expansively at 896d: "Habits, moral characteristics, wishes, calculations, true opinions, supervision, and memory would have come into being prior to length of bodies, width, depth, and strength, if soul is prior to body.". Basically, the proof is this: X can and not with respect to our own lives. In Plato: Late dialogues. This argument, based Here he persuasively settles some difficult points, but at the same time misses an interesting opportunity. in this way, they flourish in us when we are dealing with our own (We may, of course, presume that Plato thinks that other sorts of gods exist; if so, they too will no doubt be rational, though their metaphysical character and relationship to the physical cosmos will be different from that of the celestial gods. It seems to me that the chief weakness in Plato's argument lies not in the inference from (1) to (2), but rather in (c), with the identification of self-motion and life. other such people would not be able to survive for long. What Plato needs to show in order to combat impiety is simply that there exist some gods who care about humans; and to show this, he confines himself to discussing the case of the celestial gods, the souls associated with the celestial bodies. In arguing for (e), Plato asserts not just the priority of soul over inanimate bodily nature, but more specifically the priority of reason (and other particular aspects of soul) over body. The life that they choose will determine whether they He claims that Plato commits a logical fallacy in a key part of the argument for god's existence. Plato's Laws is one of the most important surviving works of ancient Greek political thought. and from the third book of the Laws, in what manner Plato would have treated this high argument. The entire spindle moved together, but there were seven inner circles moving within it, not all at … at all. Crossref Citations. Here Plato undertakes to refute certain impious views that he believes to be obstructive to the preservation of good government. Plato also attempts to sketch, in an extremely murky fashion, how the gods have arranged the physical world in such a way that this transposition of souls is an easy task for them to perform. is quiet, stable, and not easy to imitate or understand. In particular, Mayhew tries to render important recurring Greek terms with the same English words wherever they appear. Good owners are concerned to bring their possessions into a good condition and to preserve them in that condition; good householders will bring domestic affairs into good order and keep them that way. I think he is right in claiming that Plato views impiety primarily as a kind of violent crime against property -- in the first instance, the sacred property of the gods; but certain other especially serious crimes (for example, against the property of parents or magistrates) also count as impiety. Summary: Book IX, 571a-580a. The volume contains, in addition to a fresh translation of the text, the first extensive commentary on it to appear (in English) in well over a century. 273, line 616b This light holds all of heaven together, building its entire circumstance, stretched from the tips of the spindle of Necessity, through which turn all of heaven's revolutions. In fact, in Laws 10 Plato is uninterested in establishing conclusions about the existence or character of unembodied gods (let alone pre-cosmic gods). Mayhew does an excellent job of illuminating the connections (which Plato leaves surprisingly unclear) between this opening passage and the immediately preceding material in Book 9, which deals with the law on violent crimes against persons. Roughly, the picture is this: after death, human souls are relocated to destinations befitting the character they have acquired during the course of their lives. For 1000 years, So nothing He turns back • (624a-625a) Zeus and Apollo credited with the origin of Cretan and Spartan laws. are rewarded or punished in the next cycle. imitate the good part of the soul. Only those who were But injustice Mayhew is worried because Plato has given us no grounds for inferring, from the observed properties and abilities of embodied souls, the properties and abilities of souls that existed antecedently to the formation of the physical cosmos. to watch all that happens there so that he can return to earth and Everyone else hurtles between happiness and misery with every cycle. He goes on to offer (897d-898c) a comparison between the motions of the celestial bodies and the "motion of reason," claiming to find a number of similarities. laws is hardly to be expected (compare Republic); and he who makes this reflection may himself adopt the laws just now mentioned, and, adopting them, may order his house and state well and be happy. Laws 631c-d. Laws 644e-645b. Mayhew points out, correctly, that in arguing for (1), the most Plato can hope to have shown is that at least one self-mover (and so, one soul) existed prior to the formation of physical bodies; as to whether such a pre-cosmic being possessed (or could have possessed) faculties such as reason or memory, or moral characteristics, no conclusion follows. own life. Once these parts of ourselves have been nourished and strengthened or human. [Robert Mayhew; Plato.] Laws, Books 1-6 book. Plot Summary. Describe the education of the guardians as it is presented in books 2 and 3 of Plato's Republic. The tyrannical man is a man ruled by his lawless desires. At a number of points throughout the dialogue Plato emphasizes that belief in the gods is essential to the establishment of a good law code and to the ongoing administration of justice. Chapter; Aa; Aa; Get access. SparkNotes is brought to you by Barnes & Noble. These three men are walking the path that Minos (a legendary lawgiver of Crete) and his father followed every nine years to receive the guidance of Zeus. Laws 10 is thus a key document for understanding the early development of philosophical theology. people are either rewarded in heaven or punished in hell for the However, most readers won't be interested in this book primarily for Mayhew's translation, but for his substantial commentary on the text. 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. Laws 625a. Plato: Laws; Book 12; Plato: Laws. This approach produces mixed results. MEGILLUS: Certainly. Accessibility Information. atheism). The Laws is Plato's last and longest dialogue. See Important Quotations Explained. I think that this worry betrays a mistaken (but widely shared) assumption about Plato's overall argumentative strategy for showing that the gods exist: to wit, the assumption that Plato's argument is meant to prove the existence of any and all gods that exist. Home. Buy Books and CD-ROMs: Help : Laws By Plato. He takes Plato to be reasoning as follows (p. 130): (2) Therefore, every part or aspect or manifestation of soul is older than or prior to every part or aspect or manifestation of body. Plato’s thought: A philosophy of reason. Mayhew believes this is no "trivial logical slip" (p. 131); for unless fixed, he claims, it undercuts Plato's core line of argument. Plato may have some reason to consider (2), or something like it, to be implicit in (1), given his (normal Greek) conception of soul as what's explanatory of life, and given that he (peculiarly) treats all cases of self-motion as forms of life. First, they pretend to know all sorts of things, but they really … They are then brought together Download: A text-only version is available for download. Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis. to the postponed question concerning poetry about human beings. Here, after arguing for the thesis that the gods must care about individual human beings (that is, that they must reward virtue and punish vice among humans, despite apparent counterexamples), Plato offers a myth about divine justice that seems intended to provide a persuasive background picture for this thesis. His brief is to establish that there exist gods who govern human affairs, and to this end the gods he decides to talk about are the souls that move the celestial bodies.
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