David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Social Philosophy and Policy 24 (2):130-152 (2007)
This essay aims at establishing that the word “free” (eleutheros) and related terms are used by Plato in the Laws in two main senses. There is, first, the constitutional meaning of “freedom” which is put to work in book 3 in order to analyze moderately good and degenerate forms of historical constitutions. Strikingly enough, this meaning does not play any subsequent role in the shaping of the Platonic constitution itself—a fact which requires some kind of explanation. There is, then, scattered throughout the work, the behavioral meaning of “freedom” according to which the citizens of Magnesia, who are free in the sense that they are free men, are supposed to behave as such and to be educated accordingly, that is as “gentlemen.” One important aspect here is that a free education will appeal to rationality. The philosophically interesting fact, however, is that there appears to be no intrinsic link for Plato between freedom and rationality, as we might expect on the basis of modern philosophical assumptions whereby freedom is grounded on rationality. Rather, freedom is the condition for exercising rationality, because this exercise takes time. True, there is in the Laws a unique occurrence of yet another conception of “freedom” according to which one is free when one's reason masters one's desires. One might speculate why Plato did not develop this specific conception of freedom, which is in some sense closer to some modern views about liberty, as is shown, for example, from I. Berlin's concept of “positive liberty.” Footnotesa I would like to thank the editors for revising the English of this paper, as well as for a further series of useful suggestions.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Thomas McFarland (1996). Paradoxes of Freedom: The Romantic Mystique of a Transcendence. Clarendon Press.
Mary T. Clark (ed.) (1973). The Problem of Freedom. New York,Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Philip Pettit (2009). Law and Liberty. In Samantha Besson & José Luis Martí (eds.), Legal Republicanism: National and International Perspectives. Oup Oxford.
Ian Hunt (2001). Overall Freedom and Constraint. Inquiry 44 (2):131 – 147.
Matthew A. Smith, Religion and the Freedom-Weighted View: Reconsidering First Amendment Challenges to Laws Promoting Autonomy.
Thomas Pink (2011). Thomas Hobbes and the Ethics of Freedom. Inquiry 54 (5):541 - 563.
Richard E. Flathman (2003). Freedom and its Conditions: Discipline, Autonomy, and Resistance. Routledge.
Wells Earl Draughon (2003). What Freedom Is. Writer's Showcase.
Matthew J. Kisner (2011). Spinoza on Human Freedom: Reason, Autonomy and the Good Life. Cambridge University Press.
R. F. Stalley (1998). Plato's Doctrine of Freedom. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (2):145–158.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads39 ( #52,323 of 1,679,436 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #78,545 of 1,679,436 )
How can I increase my downloads?