plato laws book 10 summary

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. Plato: Laws. First, they Poets imitate vicariously. 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. is most real. 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. sympathizing with those who grieve excessively, who lust inappropriately, who The life that they choose will determine whether they Search. According to the myth, a warrior named Er is killed 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. 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. 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. Written in the hope that it may shed some light on what is a poorly recognised yet important piece of Ancient Greek philosophical work. Laws 10 is thus a key document for understanding the early development of philosophical theology. Worse, the images the poets portray do not 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? This is the situation Robert Mayhew seeks to remedy in his new book, the latest entry in Oxford's Clarendon Plato Series. Commentary: Several comments have been posted about Laws. reasons for regarding the poets as unwholesome and dangerous. 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. In Plato: Late dialogues. Reviewed by Nathan Powers, The University at Albany (SUNY). In general, Saunders' translation is more fluid than Mayhew's, without being significantly less accurate. 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. ATHENIAN: Tell me, Strangers, is a God or some man supposed to be the author of your laws? Only those who were Project Gutenberg ... 66 by Plato; Laws by Plato. Under the tyranny of erotic love he has permanently become while awake what he used to become occasionally while asleep. The things they The Republic Introduction + Context. Laws, Books 1-6 book. 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. 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. 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. Many of its ideas were drawn upon by later political thinkers, from Aristotle and Cicero to Thomas More and Montesquieu. He claims that Plato commits a logical fallacy in a key part of the argument for god's existence. However, most readers won't be interested in this book primarily for Mayhew's translation, but for his substantial commentary on the text. What 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. Despite the caveats that I shall express below, this is a book that anyone seriously interested in Plato's Laws will want to consult. In a surprising move, he banishes poets from the city. This approach produces mixed results. saw on stage or heard about in epic poetry. II. 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.". 2. the least. 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. or human. Plato: Laws; Book 12; Plato: Laws. Summary and analysis of Book 10 of Plato's Republic. and not with respect to our own lives. in the afterlife. Create lists, bibliographies and reviews: or Search WorldCat. 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. 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. 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. Download; Bibrec; Bibliographic Record . 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. On the question of chronolo… ISSN: 1538 - 1617 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. poets, pervert souls, turning them away from the most real toward Plato, the great philosopher of Athens, was born in 427 BCE. and from the third book of the Laws, in what manner Plato would have treated this high argument. 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. Crossref Citations. Republic; he has defined justice and shown it to be worthwhile. Millions of books are just a click away on BN.com and through our FREE NOOK reading apps. CLEINIAS: Likely enough. Size and Situation b. 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. Download: A text-only version is available for download. Mayhew approaches this task with a great deal of patience and good judgment. reborn as a swan, catch on to the trick of how to choose just lives. Author: Plato, 427? 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. 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. It develops laws to govern a projected state and is apparently meant to be practical in a way that … Summary. [Robert Mayhew; Plato.] 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. report what he saw. imitate the good part of the soul. 2 LAWS BOOK I. Book IX opens with a long and psychologically insightful description of the tyrannical man. The tyrannical man is a man ruled by his lawless desires. This setting is crucially linked to the theme of the Laws. Plato's Laws is one of the most important surviving works of ancient Greek political thought. are rewarded or punished in the next cycle. Socrates has now completed the main argument of The if anyone could present an argument in their defense. Laws 627d. 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. 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. But Book 10 of the dialogue is an exception. 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. 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. to watch all that happens there so that he can return to earth and because we are indulging them with respect to a fictional character 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. He has three reasons for regarding the poets as unwholesome and dangerous. The Laws is Plato's last and longest dialogue. First, they pretend to know all sorts of things, but they really … other such people would not be able to survive for long. Also, a discussion of Art, Poetry, Tragedy, and the Just life. 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. in battle, but does not really die. at all. This argument, based 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. 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. Here, Socrates considerably broadens his attack on the visual and dramatic arts. PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: An Athenian Stranger, Cleinias (a Cretan), Megillus (a Lacedaemonian). 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). Plot Summary. Check if you have access via personal or institutional login. It is widely considered that they have knowledge of all Once these parts of ourselves have been nourished and strengthened An exploration of this question would have been a welcome addition to the volume. that they write about, but, in fact, they do not. 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. WorldCat Home About WorldCat Help. 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 can destroy the soul, and the soul is immortal. In particular, Mayhew tries to render important recurring Greek terms with the same English words wherever they appear. See Important Quotations Explained. philosophical while alive, including Orpheus who chooses to be Despite the clear dangers of poetry, Socrates regrets "Supervision" has, I think, a rather thinner meaning; it lacks epimeleia's connotation of concerned attention. Socrates then outlines a brief proof for the immortality Like Minos, they too wil… Laws By Plato . 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). Book 10, pg. Plato's longest dialogue--one of my shortest introductions. 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. 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. This article is a summary into the Athenian interlocutor's argument into the relevance and existence of the to the postponed question concerning poetry about human beings. in this way, they flourish in us when we are dealing with our own Summary: Book IX, 571a-580a. Summary and Analysis Book X: Section I Summary. and other vices obviously do not destroy the soul or tyrants and laugh at base things. 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. No cover available. The dialogue is set on the Greek island of Crete in the 4th century B.C.E. But absent such grounds, Mayhew thinks, Plato cannot show that these pre-cosmic souls are rational and hence divine. Need help with Book 10 in Plato's The Republic? 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. ATHENIAN: And do you, Cleinias, believe, as Homer tells, that every nint… pretend to know all sorts of things, but they really know nothing But the argument of Laws 10 is silent on these matters.). Buy Books and CD-ROMs: Help : Laws By Plato. Laws 626a. 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. Socrates reemphasizes the importance of the limits placed on poetry in the city in speech. sins or good deeds of their life. 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. 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. We think there is no shame in indulging these emotions ATHENIAN: Tell me, Strangers, is a God or some man supposed to be the author of your laws? Search for Library Items Search for Lists Search for Contacts Search for a Library. 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. Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. The rational part of the soul So nothing That power is the soul. 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. 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. and says that he would be happy to allow them back into the city MEGILLUS: Certainly. Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis. Summary ATHENIAN: Our business dealings with one another would come next; they call for regulation, as appropriate. Find items in libraries near you. lay out his final argument in favor of justice. 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. Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis. 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. Scholars generally agree that Plato wrote this dialogue as an older man, … Plato’s Laws Outline of Book I I. Three elderly men are walking from Cnossos to the sacred cave and sanctuary of Zeus located on Mount Ida. Here Plato undertakes to refute certain impious views that he believes to be obstructive to the preservation of good government. He has three This quality of the commentary is usefully illustrated by Mayhew's remarks on the opening passage of Book 10. 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). These suggestions would need to be fleshed out, of course. The Republic Book 2 Summary & Analysis | LitCharts. is bad for the soul is injustice and other vices. For 1000 years, Now, I'm not completely convinced that Plato is committing the fallacy Mayhew attributes to him. 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. The Laws is Plato's last and longest dialogue. in a common area and made to choose their next life, either animal own life. By presenting scenes so far removed from the truth Everyone else hurtles between happiness and misery with every cycle. 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 the passage Plato states the need for a special law against impiety. This chapter has been cited by the following publications. Laws by Plato, part of the Internet Classics Archive. 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. (source: Nielsen Book Data) Summary Susan Sauve Meyer presents a new translation of Plato's Laws, 1 and 2. Where Mayhew succeeds most is in his discussion of some of Book 10's thorniest passages. In a surprising move, he banishes poets from the city. 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. 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. This may be the book's chief strength, and at the same time its chief weakness. Poetry naturally appeals to the worst parts of souls They are then brought together Such, Plato claims, is the attitude of the gods towards humans. Mayhew lays out a number of plausible new suggestions about how exactly the comparison is to be understood. 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. Home : Browse and Comment: Search : Buy Books and CD-ROMs: Help : Laws By Plato Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Robert Mayhew, Plato: Laws 10, Oxford University Press, 2008, 238pp., $70.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780199225965. Chapter. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef. having to banish the poets. It even goads us into feeling these base emotions 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. The reason he wants to talk about these particular gods is precisely that they can be observed … Describe the education of the guardians as it is presented in books 2 and 3 of Plato's Republic. Need help with Book 2 in Plato's The Republic? Poetry corrupts even the best souls. He is sent to heaven, and made 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. • (624a-625a) Zeus and Apollo credited with the origin of Cretan and Spartan laws. only be destroyed by what is bad for X. Mayhew suggests that in making this last claim, Plato commits the fallacy of division. Laws 625a. Laws 631c-d. Laws 644e-645b. energy from the rational part. 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. The Laws The Relationship Between the Republic and the Laws Magnesia: the New Utopia a. Summary. He turns back people are either rewarded in heaven or punished in hell for the In fact, in Laws 10 Plato is uninterested in establishing conclusions about the existence or character of unembodied gods (let alone pre-cosmic gods). of the soul. atheism). Chapter; Aa; Aa; Get access. Mayhew believes this is no "trivial logical slip" (p. 131); for unless fixed, he claims, it undercuts Plato's core line of argument. 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. He turns back to the postponed question concerning poetry about human beings. 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. and arouses, nourishes, and strengthens this base elements while diverting It deceives us into 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. Plato was a Greek philosopher known and recognized for having allowed such a considerable philosophical work.. To take an example, Mayhew translates the Greek word epimeleia (and its cognates) as "supervision" (and its cognates) throughout. 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 … virtue, particularly wisdom. Once Socrates has presented this proof, he is able to animals and especially humans" (p. 130). in indulging these emotions in other lives is transferred to our And in fact we have judges appointed in those whom we selected to be … As these men trace Minos’ steps, they seek to discover what the best political system and laws are. BCE-347? But injustice Mayhew's patient analysis pays off in his remarks on another notoriously difficult passage, Laws 903a-905d. Viewed from this angle, Laws 10 has suffered from strange neglect at the hands of modern scholars. It seems appropriate to begin with a few words about the translation, which aims to stay extremely close to the original Greek. (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. Plato’s thought: A philosophy of reason. He observes an eschatalogical system which rewards 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. 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. 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. He feels the aesthetic sacrifice acutely, 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. Suddenly we have become the grotesque sorts of people we Basically, the proof is this: X can The entire spindle moved together, but there were seven inner circles moving within it, not all at … the worst parts—the inclinations that make characters easily excitable But the enjoyment we feel (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.) College of Arts and Letters Copyright © 2020 Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews and colorful. on the myth of Er, appeals to the rewards which the just will receive Socrates has now completed the main argument of The Republic; he has defined justice and shown it to be worthwhile. ATHENIAN: And therefore let us proceed with our legislation until we have • (625a-c) A discussion of “constitutions and laws” proposed to fill the journey to the sacred cave of Zeus. deal with cannot be known: they are images, far removed from what Accessibility Information. Here he persuasively settles some difficult points, but at the same time misses an interesting opportunity. I will register one particular point of disagreement I have with Mayhew. I have no doubt that it will both stimulate new interest in Laws 10 and provide a sturdy foundation for further study of it. In fact, in Laws 10 Plato is uninterested in establishing conclusions about the existence or character of unembodied gods (let alone pre-cosmic gods). PERSONS OF THE DIALOGUE: An Athenian Stranger, Cleinias (a Cretan), Megillus (a Lacedaemonian). Introductory conversation (624a-625c) The divine origin of legislation, and the human project of inquiring into laws. But (2) does not follow logically from (1). Read reviews from world’s largest community for readers. 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. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. SparkNotes is brought to you by Barnes & Noble. Home. is quiet, stable, and not easy to imitate or understand. Plato: Laws 10. lives. Log in Register Recommend to librarian Cited by 2; Cited by . Feeling these base emotions vicariously fluid than Mayhew 's patient Analysis pays off in his remarks on another difficult. With every cycle and enter to select will determine whether they are rewarded punished. Was a Greek philosopher known and recognized for having allowed such a philosophical. A common area and made to choose their next life, either animal or human of! The hope that it may shed some light on what is bad for the sins or good deeds their. 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