Politics and Method in Plato's Political Theory

Polis 23 (2):328-349 (2006)
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For much of the past century, Barker and other scholars took Plato seriously as a political actor, and so considered his political activities and those of the school he founded in interpreting his political works. As a result, these scholars viewed the Republic and Laws as bearing on practical politics, perhaps as blueprints for intended political reform. Although I do not argue for the strong thesis that the works should be accepted as blueprints, I believe they should be read against the backdrop of Plato's political activities. Doing so allows us to recognize strong connections between Plato's political aspirations and the views advanced by his main characters in the Republic and Laws. Consistency of views represented by Plato's political activities and the overt content of his political works support non-ironic, essentially non-literary, readings of these works



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