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The Laws of Plato

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,843 Ratings  ·  35 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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G.R. Reader
Oct 29, 2015 rated it liked it
And then, as time went on, the poets themselves introduced the reign of vulgar and lawless innovation. They were men of genius, but they had no perception of what is just and lawful in music; raging like Bacchanals and possessed with inordinate delights—mingling lamentations with hymns, and paeans with dithyrambs; imitating the sounds of the flute on the lyre, and making one general confusion; ignorantly affirming that music has no truth, and, whether good or bad, can only be judged of rightly b ...more
Despite having been assigned it in 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
Garrett Cash
This mammoth work is one of Plato's most important, and not very widely read books. There's good reason for this, while there are important passages in this, the work is ultimately like reading an Ancient Greek version of Leviticus. In other words, it's really... really boring.
Jun 26, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Billie Pritchett
Mar 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
"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
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.
David Sarkies
Oct 18, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Plato's Dystopia
18 October 2016

For some reason when people think of Plato and government we seem to automatically jump to the though 'gee, what a wonderful idea' as if a Platonic government would actually be a good thing. The question that I raise is what if it isn't? What if this form of government that Plato outlines actually isn't all that good, or moreso what if it doesn't work. In a way it is a bit like the western reaction to Buddhism. For some reason the young and hip seem to love Buddhi
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
George Simopoulos
The last book of Plato indicates the progression of the writing style and the age of the author. The element of dialogue is limited in this book, and any dialogue that takes place, is non-vivid and without any contemplating effort. Most of the book is thus occupied by long monologues and law statements. Some of these statements are quite boring and only concern the age of Plato. Unfortunately, as this is his last work, Plato is old and his mind has become rigid and narrow-minded and conservative ...more
Bob Nichols
Plato’s ideal state in The Laws is modeled after the divine, immortal world. But could it be that its ultimate purpose is to promote entry into the divine world, that its purpose is not earthly happiness but a divine happiness based on virtue, which is knowledge of and respect for the “real” world, the eternal realm of the soul?

The primary substance is not material. It’s soul. Soul precedes matter and “is pre-eminently natural.” It is self-generating motion and “the source of all motions.” It mo
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greci, filosofici
Platone qui tenta di educare il politico all'ideale di governo delineato nella "Repubblica". E dice che lo Stato veramente giusto non è quello governato da pochi o da molti, dai ricchi o dai poveri, accettato volontariamente o a forza: il vero governo è quello che sia retto da chi abbia scienza, la scienza dialettica delineata nella Repubblica.
Tuttavia Platone si rende conto che le riforme non si possono fare da un giorno all'altro e dal di fuori perciò sottolinea l'importanza di inserirsi nella
Luke Echo
Plato's Laws is one sprawling mess of detail and theory all jumbled in together and periodically punctuated with 100 or so individual laws. Its quite an ordeal to read. I was rather determined though.

What can one learn from the Laws today? I really don't know. I think the starkest contrast for us today is the extent to which the individual is subordinated to the aims of the state. Also perhaps the enduring tension between the desire to regulate (every last thing) and the danger that it will dilu
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
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
Alby Malka
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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)
Tony Gualtieri
Jan 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's fascinating that Plato's final work abandons the lofty abstractions of The Symposium, Phædrus, and The Republic for a detailed legislative plan to establish a new colony in Crete. Socrates is absent as is the Theory of Forms. It's as if Plato chose to leave something concrete and practical as his last testament. Sadly, little of his literary art remains, especially in the latter half.
Dec 06, 2013 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 .
I'd like to be the sort of person who can quote Plato. But I don't think it's meant to be. I've never enjoyed reading philosophy much, and here, Plato is incredibly rigid and controlling. That's not remotely what I want in a society. Though, in the spirit of Plato and Socrates, I had better make sure that I think this opinion through XD
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
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.
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The most evil and sublime monster I have ever read. Rather than the other readings, growing like a mustard seed inside you throughout time, this one is a true monster. Bloody sun shall set, old men shall die -- and they shall see dreams in the last night, before the eternal night.
Mikhail Belyaev
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Why so many scholars comment on the political theories of The Laws, but there are virtually no exploration of Plato's ideas in civil law? A substantial part of the dialog deals with contract and family law, economic regulation and civil process.
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Joel Zartman
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Plato ought to be encouraged to write as many books as possible.
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 :)
Peter J.
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Favorite book.
I wouldn't want to live under the authoritarian laws set out here, but it was a very interesting book to read.
Matthew Schmink
Jul 22, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
Another weak attempt by Plato to sell the notion of totalitarianism.
It's just too bad many politicians actually try to implement these ideas.
Jul 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greek-roman
A little too dull for me.
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The History Book ...: This topic has been closed to new comments. PLATO'S - THE LAWS 1 7 Sep 06, 2015 08:00PM  
Politics: Laws 1 5 Nov 08, 2013 05:15AM  
Philosophy: Plato's Republic and Laws 152 167 Aug 22, 2012 06:14PM  
  • The Athenian Constitution
  • Natural Right and History
  • The Nature of the Gods
  • Critique of Practical Reason (Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • Elements of the Philosophy of Right
  • Four Texts on Socrates: Euthyphro/Apology/Crito/Aristophanes' Clouds
  • The Enneads
  • Untimely Meditations
  • Guide to Greece: Central Greece (Guide to Greece, #1)
(Greek: Πλάτων) (Arabic: أفلاطون) (Alternate Spelling: Platón, Platone)
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 philosoph
More about Plato...
“Si vis pacem, para bellum” 10 likes
“The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.” 8 likes
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