Virtue Ethics, Politics, and the Function of Laws: The Parent Analogy in Plato's Menexenus: Dialogue

Dialogue 46 (2):211-230 (2007)

Authors
Sandrine Berges
Bilkent University
Abstract
ABSTRACT Can virtue ethics say anything worthwhile about laws? What would a virtue-ethical account of good laws look like? I argue that a plausible answer to that question can be found in Plato's parent analogies in the Crito and the Menexenus. I go on to show that the Menexenus gives us a philosophical argument to the effect that laws are just only if they enable citizens to flourish. I then argue that the resulting virtue-ethical account of just laws is not viciously paternalistic. Finally, I refute the objection that the virtue-ethical account I am proposing is not distinct from a consequentialist account.
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DOI 10.1017/S0012217300001724
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