The Laws of Plato
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The Laws of Plato

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4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  964 ratings  ·  19 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published March 15th 1988 by University Of Chicago Press (first published -360)
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Phillip
"The Laws of Plato" translated by Thomas Pangle is a difficult but amply worthwhile read. The volume contains a lengthy "Interpretive Essay", by the translator, that is so full of enthusiasm for "The Laws" that it is more pleasant reading than the translation itself. In fact, I would be tempted to recommend a new reader to read the "Interpretive Essay" before tackling the translation.

The "Interpretive Essay" increased my appreciation for this book that I have read a couple of times before in ano...more
Coyle
Despite having been assigned itin my Classical Political Thought class, I only in the past few days finished reading Plato's Laws (apologies to Dr. Walsh). Which is a bit unfortunate, since it's bloody fantastic.



I confess to having had a bit of a "meh" relationship with Plato in the past. I mean, the number of his dialogues that I've actually enjoyed (as opposed to just kind of thinking they're okay) is pretty small- basically the Ion and maybe bits of Epistle VII. Sure, I've read and discussed...more
Levon
The 3-star rating is an average of the ratings I would have given each of the twelve Books of the Laws if they were read separately.

Some flaws in the text:
- The Athenian Stranger leaves open very important facets of legislation, while thoroughly legislating much less pertinent ones.
- Heavy burden placed on assumptions of many kinds to do with human nature.
- Inherent counter-productive legislation (ie: legislation with a view to friendship, but allowing - nay, promoting - citizens to denounce on...more
Billie Pritchett
I'll open myself up for criticism and confess that I did not actually finish Plato's Laws. I made it all the way through Book VIII, then I started skimming, and when that proved just as boring, I went and looked at the secondary literature about the work. (There's a great summary at Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in an entry titled "Plato on Utopia," available HERE.

Plato's Laws is a work written by Plato in his later years, when he's an old man. Interestingly, Plato had been, prior to writi...more
Þróndr
While Plato’s Laws is not as evocative - nor as famous - as the Republic, it is nevertheless an important complement to it, and a fascinating read – and it is also in its own right a classic of political philosophy. Whether or not you agree with Saunders' statement (in his Introduction) that "Plato could perfectly well have written the Laws when he wrote the Republic", it will nevertheless be more or less apparent after reading both that (as he continues to say) "the one should not be read witho...more
Yann
Sur le chemin de Knossos allant au mont Ida, trois grecs - un Athénien, un Lacédémonien et un Crétois - d'age mûr devisent sur ce que pourraient être les lois les meilleures pour une cité. En avançant par degré du plus général au plus précis et en prenant le temps de vider les difficultés qui peuvent surgir à la suite d'opinions fausses, ils avancent bravement à l'attaque d'un sujet plus qu'ambitieux, avec un bonheur remarquable. Platon termine par le meilleur, en faisant une synthèse de l'ensem...more
Clint
I literally got anxious toward the end because I thought he was about to answer the central question of the Meno (What is ‘Virtue’ (arete) as a whole; that is, what is it which is common to all virtues, such that we would say they are all Virtue) but he got around it again by saying that the Guardians of the Laws of this new city would be the ones who decided this after much intense labor and deliberation. But it’s interesting that he doesn’t say virtue comes from the gods, and is instead what i...more
Cosmo
I had a hard time doing much with this text. It is rich, but I'll leave it to better minds than mine.

I'm going to stick to The Republic, Symposium, Phaedrus, Crito, the Apology, etc. If you want to figure out the Laws, good luck to you.
Kevin
Plato's "The Laws" is not for the faint of heart. This book will definitely play with your mind and have you question a lot of ideas that we take for granted in Western Culture. The Laws can also be argued as a disillusionment of "The Republic," being that Plato came to the realization of "The Republic's" flaws after having been sold into slavery by a tyrant. However, the Laws are also a great extension of "The Republic" as Plato reiterates some of his ideas in "The Laws" in more detail

On a sid...more
Khalil
Dec 19, 2013 Khalil added it
To the young man , reading Plato is like suicide or killing time ,specially if you have in your mind another great philosophers to read , e.g. Schopenhauer ,Heidegger and not to mention Wittgenstein. Just because I promised myself to read all his works , it does not mean that I will complete this Dialongue. Its too long to be called a dialogue , fortunately Plato died before completing this uninteresting one .
Alby Malka
I think you can't understand this book without fully understand plato's republic. As I understand it, this is the "fixes" Plato did for his idea of the republic, interesting and deep thoughts of how the country should be managed after the first "try" didn't worked out.. Don't look at it as shallow as a totalitarian manifest, but observe the amazing way of thinking (which, like me, you don't have to agree with it)
Saturnina
Not half as good as The Republic. I liked the beginning but then it just got incredibly boring and any philosophical gems were few and far between. If his students actually did do most of the work on the middle and the ending, that would definitely explain it. But then, poor Plato, didn't have too good students.
Bob
A much more thoughtful exploration of how to best order a political regime than The Republic. This serves as a great lead in to Aristotle's Ethics and Politics, especially considering that many of the questions and concerns The Laws of Plato elicits are addressed by his protege in those works.
Swan Leapsoverwater
The theory of natural law is much like the definition of anarchy. If left to his own devices man will live by a natural law to do good because doing so benifits him--loosely paraphrased here :)
Erik
Recommended by James Schall in Another Sort of Learning, Chapter 6, as one of Four Books and Two Essays to Help You Begin Wondering about Plato (note Pangle's Interpretive Essay).
Matthew Schmink
Fascinating how much that Plato addressed is still a modern-day issue. Evolution, religion, social interaction, pretty much a laundry list of the issues of today
Miki
Another weak attempt by Plato to sell the notion of totalitarianism.
It's just too bad many politicians actually try to implement these ideas.
Joshua
I wouldn't want to live under the authoritarian laws set out here, but it was a very interesting book to read.
David
A little too dull for me.
Mike
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Politics: Laws 1 4 Nov 08, 2013 05:15AM  
  • The Athenian Constitution
  • The Memorable Thoughts of Socrates
  • The Nature of the Gods
  • Elements of the Philosophy of Right
  • The Enneads
  • Natural Right and History
  • Critique of Practical Reason (Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Fragments
  • Untimely Meditations
  • The Discourses
  • Mencius
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • The Basic Political Writings
  • Philosophical Dictionary
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Plato is a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

Plato is one of the most important Western philosophers,...more
More about Plato...
The Republic The Trial and Death of Socrates The Symposium Apology Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo

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