Plato’s legal positivism in the Laws

Jurisprudence 9 (2):209-235 (2018)
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ABSTRACTIn this paper I reassess the place of Plato’s Laws in the history of legal thought. The Laws has been traditionally considered to present a natural law theory of law. I argue instead that it presents a positivist account of the nature of law. Through analysis of some key passages of the Laws I argue that in that dialogue law is identified with conclusions of enkratic civic reason that may systematically conflict with precepts of substantive moral reason. I also argue that in the Laws the rule of law is a precondition of a legal system but lacks inherent moral significance. For the rule of law to obtain there needs to be some compromise between the political interests of rulers and subjects which is grounded on political pragmatism and not on moral considerations.



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Antony Hatzistavrou
University of Hull

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Akrasia and Self-Rule in Plato's Laws.Joshua Wilburn - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 43:25-53.

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