Understanding the Role of the Laws in Plato's "Statesman"

Prolegomena 9 (1):5-23 (2010)
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Abstract

In the Statesman, Plato seems to be advocating that in the absence of a true king who will rule independently of laws, the next best thing as far as just rule is concerned is to ad here rigidly to existing laws, whatever they are. The rule of the true king is given as an example of virtuous rule in the sense that virtue politics or jurisprudence holds that laws cannot always deal justly with particular cases. But Plato’s view of what we must do when there are no true kings forthcoming seems to preclude a virtue theoretical understanding of politics and laws. In this paper I will investigate the view that the image of the true king, who relies on written laws for convenience only, provides a model for a more realistic appeal to virtue in jurisprudence, that is, a respect of laws that is compatible with equity, in the sense understood by Aristotle.Čini se da Platon u Državniku zagovara shvaćanje prema kojemu u odsutnosti istinskog kralja koji će vladati neovisno o zakonima druga najbolja stvar, što se tiče pravedne vladavine, jest strogo pridržavanje postojećih zakona, što god oni bili. Uloga istinskog kralja navodi se kao primjer vrle vladavine u tom smislu što politika ili jurisprudencija koje se zasnivaju na vrlini drže da zakoni ne mogu uvijek pravedno izlaziti na kraj s pojedinačnim slučajevima. No čini se da Platonovo shvaćanje toga što moramo činiti kada ne postoje istinski kraljevi sprječava razumijevanje politike i zakonâ koje se zasniva na teoriji vrline. U ovom članku ispitujem shvaćanje prema kojemu slika istinskog kralja, koji se na pisane zakone oslanja samo iz praktičnih razloga, pruža model za realističnije pozivanje na vrlinu u jurisprudenciji, to jest poštivanje zakonâ koje je spojivo s nepristranošću u onom smislu u kojem to razumije Aristotel

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Sandrine Berges
Bilkent University

Citations of this work

Rules for rulers: Plato’s criticism of law in the Politicus.Huw Duffy - 2020 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 28 (6):1053-1070.

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References found in this work

The Basic Works of Aristotle. Aristotle - 2001 - New York, NY, USA: Modern Library.
Virtue ethics: A misleading category? [REVIEW]Martha C. Nussbaum - 1999 - The Journal of Ethics 3 (3):163-201.
The Basic Works of Aristotle. [REVIEW]E. A. M. - 1941 - Journal of Philosophy 38 (20):553-555.
Agent-Based Virtue Ethics.Michael Slote - 1995 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 20 (1):83-101.
Plato: The Collected Dialogues.Edith Hamilton & Huntington Cairns (eds.) - 1961 - Princeton: New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

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