SpringerBriefs in Philosophy

Platonic Legislations

An Essay on Legal Critique in Ancient Greece

Authors: Dusenbury, David Lloyd

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  • Presents a new, global interpretation of Plato’s corpus by way of the task of law-making
  • Offers a fresh investigation of the - still contemporary - question of divine law in Plato's political thought
  • Shows how Plato first targets imperfections in the most celebrated Greeks law-codes
  • The first work - ever - to argue that Plato "executes" Socrates in the last pages of his final dialogue, the Laws
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eBook 44,02 €
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-59843-7
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover 57,19 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-59842-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
About this book

This book discusses how Plato, one the fiercest legal critics in ancient Greece, became – in the longue durée – its most influential legislator. Making use of a vast scholarly literature, and offering original readings of a number of dialogues, it argues that the need for legal critique and the desire for legal permanence set the long arc of Plato’s corpus—from the Apology to the Laws.

Modern philosophers and legal historians have tended to overlook the fact that Plato was the most prolific legislator in ancient Greece. In the pages of his Republic and Laws, he drafted more than 700 statutes. This is more legal material than can be credited to the archetypal Greek legislators—Lycurgus, Draco, and Solon.

The status of Plato’s laws is unique, since he composed them for purely hypothetical cities. And remarkably, he introduced this new genre by writing hard-hitting critiques of the Greek ideal of the sovereignty of law.

Writing in the milieu in which immutable divine law vied for the first time with volatile democratic law, Plato rejected both sources of law, and sought to derive his laws from what he called ‘political technique’ (politikê technê). At the core of this technique is the question of how the idea of justice relates to legal and institutional change.

Filled with sharp observations and bold claims, Platonic Legislations shows that it is possible to see Plato—and our own legal culture—in a new light

In this provocative, intelligent, and elegant work D. L. Dusenbury has posed crucial questions not only as regards Plato’s thought in the making, but also as regards our contemporaneity.”—Giorgio Camassa, University of Udine

There is a tension in Greek law, and in Greek legal thinking, between an understanding of law as unchangeable and authoritative, and a recognition that formal rules are often insufficient for the interpretation of reality, and need to be constantly revised to match it. Dusenbury’s book illuminates the sophistication of Plato’s legal thought in its engagement with this tension, and explores the potential of Plato’s reflection for modern legal theory.”—Mirko Canevaro, The University of Edinburgh

About the authors

David Lloyd Dusenbury is a research fellow of the De Wulf-Mansion Centre at the University of Leuven. He is the author of a book on Augustine of Hippo, The Space of Time (2014), and has written scholarly articles on the legal thought of Carl Schmitt and Giorgio Agamben. 

Table of contents (5 chapters)

Table of contents (5 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 44,02 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-59843-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Softcover 57,19 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-59842-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Platonic Legislations
Book Subtitle
An Essay on Legal Critique in Ancient Greece
Authors
Series Title
SpringerBriefs in Philosophy
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-59843-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-59843-7
Softcover ISBN
978-3-319-59842-0
Series ISSN
2211-4548
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXIII, 116
Topics