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The Logical Structure of Plato's Laws

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Some commentators argue that the Laws does not have a clear organization, and use this as evidence to show that Plato left the dialogue incomplete or that old age had decreased the philosophical quality of his writing. However, the Laws can be shown to be answering a lucid question according to a discernable logical structure, and the specific proposals set forth can be understood as corresponding to this structure. The Laws constitutes part of an actual political founding. As such, the dialogue treats the acts of lawgiving, and not the nature of laws themselves. The Athenian stranger, evidently a philosopher, presents an account of lawgiving that is alternative to the traditional understanding of lawgiving as transmitted by divinely inspired poetry (624b, 747e).
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Keywords: Athenian Stranger; Eros and Politics; Lawgiving; Laws; Nocturnal Council; Plato; Preludes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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