The Form of Freedom in Plato's Laws: An Interpretation


Abstract
The article argues that Plato's Laws contain an implicit conception of freedom, particularly in Book III. It proposes that, while the concept is not treated systematically by Plato, it merits attention due to its presence in the text. I argue that there is a Form of Freedom in the book. It is comprised of two dimensions: an organic and a civic component. They are mediated by human agency. However, freedom in its ideal form is only possible for a select intellectual elite that can grasp these two dimensions. This elite is composed of a few wise elder men who take up the task of lawmaking as a ludic or playful enterprise. I also argue that degeneration away from true freedom is possible when political elites mislead a community away from Plato's ideal, such as with Cyrus in Persia. Ultimately, Plato's idea of freedom tells us that liberty is only truly available to a select few, not to a broad citizenry. Thus, freedom and democracy are not tied intimately but are opposed to each other
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3167/th.2012.5913204
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 44,327
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Plato's Doctrine of Freedom.R. F. Stalley - 1998 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (2):145–158.
Akrasia and Self-Rule in Plato's Laws.Joshua Wilburn - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 43:25-53.
Freedom, Liberality, and Liberty in Plato's Laws.André Laks - 2007 - Social Philosophy and Policy 24 (2):130-152.
Plato and the Need for Law.Anthony Woozley - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239):373-395.
This Site is Under Construction: Situating Hegel's Plato.Maureen Eckert - 2006 - Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 53:1-23.
Property, Impiety, and the Problem of Ending: Plato’s Laws Books XI & XII.Eric Sanday - 2012 - In Gregory Recco & Eric Sanday (eds.), Plato's Laws: Force and Truth in Politics. Indiana University Press. pp. 215-235.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-12-13

Total views
27 ( #323,479 of 2,271,462 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #829,300 of 2,271,462 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature