Plato's Cretan City is a thorough investigation into the roots of Plato's Laws and a compelling explication of his ideas on legislation and social institutions. A dialogue among three travelers, the Laws proposes a detailed plan for administering a new colony on the island of Crete. In examining this dialogue, Glenn Morrow describes the contemporary Greek institutions in Athens, Crete, and Sparta on which Plato based his model city, and explores the philosopher's proposed regulations concerning property, the family, government, and (...) the administration of justice, education, and religion. He approaches the Laws as both a living document of reform and a philosophical inquiry into humankind's highest earthly duty. (shrink)
The volumes in the Clarendon Aristotle Series seek to meet the needs of philosophically inclined readers who do not know Greek by providing accurate translations of selected Aristotelian texts accompanied by philosophical commentaries. To these ends, Trevor Saunders’s welcome addition to the series, a treatment of the first two books of Aristotle’s Politics, provides a number of useful tools. First there is a new translation of books I and II. Saunders numbers the paragraphs of the translation and the corresponding sections (...) of the commentary to facilitate reference to the text and commentary within the discussion of each chapter, though not across chapters. Saunders provides Greek-English and English-Greek glossaries. These will be especially useful to Greek-less readers, because Saunders is often traditional in his translation of key terms and thus, for example, obscures connections that have to be made explicit. So, for example, Saunders follows the very common practice of rendering the cognates polis, politês, and politeia as ‘state’, ‘citizen’, and ‘constitution’, respectively. Each section of the commentary begins with an introduction and proceeds to discuss each paragraph in turn, often including several recommendations for where to go next in the secondary literature. The book also has a guide to the translation and commentary, a brief but helpful introduction, a short appendix on the alleged oligarchic bias in Plato’s Laws, a list of departures from Ross’s Oxford Classical Text, a bibliography of works cited, and a selective index. Sadly, but in company with most of its companions in the Clarendon Aristotle Series, it lacks an index locorum. (shrink)
In response to woozley's paper in "philosophical quarterly" 22 (1972), 303-17, This article argues: (a) that plato's penology in the laws is radically 'reformative'. (b) that his overriding concern is not with blame or guilt or moral responsibility, But with an exact diagnosis and then 'cure' of the criminal's 'unjust' state of mind. (c) that he uses 'hekousios' and 'akousios' in effect in the sense 'prompted by injustice in the soul of the agent' and 'not thus prompted' respectively. (d) that (...) accordingly laws 866a5-867c2, On killing in anger as midway between 'hekousios' and 'akousios' homicide, Should be read not in woozley's manner, As a tentative extension of the area of diminished responsibility, But as a grading of four possible states of mind in a killer: (1) no intention to kill; (2) a brief intention to kill; (3) a long-Standing intention to kill; (4) a full intention to kill, Inspired not by anger but by full 'injustice'--Greed, Lust, Envy etc. (e) finally that on this analysis, Certain terminological distinctions of modern english, Employed by woozley in an attempt to elucidate the passage, Are irrelevant. (edited). (shrink)
In 191O Wilamowitz suggested that the account of the election of the first Magnesian officials is a conflation of two originally separate sets of proposals. After long neglect his arguments have been resurrected, with one major modification and in more detail, by Morrow. I intend to argue that both commentators are fundamentally mistaken, and that, properly interpreted, the passage yields limited but valuable information about Plato's plans for coping with the problems of founding a state from scratch. These plans are (...) not simply of theoretical interest: as D. A. Russell has remarked, the Laws is our best guide to the policies and practices of the constitutional advisers sent out by the Academy. (shrink)
Although Plato and Aristotle in their own way share the conviction that social control and individual freedom should go hand in hand, they both are obviously quite unfamiliar with the modern idea of private initiative being required for progress. According to them there are fixed and ascertainable norms of human virtue, which, if observed, do ensure that men flourish, however, if ignored, do leave them in misery. For certain prudential reasons (although different in either case), Plato and Aristotlefavour the notion (...) of authority, over and as opposed to the individual, in elaborate hierarchical forms. If in general the author succeeds to posit clearly where Plato and Aristotle fall on the spectrum between authoritarianism and individualism, in detail he considers the picture to be a mixed one, one which restrains him from trying to be too exact. (shrink)
At the beginning of Book 5 Plato catalogues the ways in which men ‘dishonour’ ([Greek text] 727 c 3) their souls, and at 728 ab sums up by saying that any man who does not practise what the lawgiver describes as noble and good is treating his soul dishonourably. He goes on to say that hardly anyone takes account of [Greek text] (728 b 2), which is to cut oneself off from good men and be completely assimilated to the bad (...) [Greek text]. We the n read. (shrink)
At the beginning of Book 5 Plato catalogues the ways in which men ‘dishonour’ their souls, and at 728 ab sums up by saying that any man who does not practise what the lawgiver describes as noble and good is treating his soul dishonourably. He goes on to say that hardly anyone takes account of, which is to cut oneself off from good men and be completely assimilated to the bad. We the n read.
Newman ad. loc. regarded it as ‘on the whole … most probable that both and ’ on whose generic differences Aristotle insists so strongly earlier in the chapter; Susemihl and Hicks ad. loc. merely asserted Newman's tentative view dogmatically, and it now seems to have become almost canonical. I think it needs to be challenged.
BL Contains a clear, accurate translation of Books I and II, together with a philosophical commentaryAristotle's Politics is a key document in Western political thought; it raises and discusses many theoretical and practical political issues which are still debated today. This edition is well suited to the requirements of students, including those who do not know Greek.