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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front Phil Chin    2013, Vol. 8 Issue (4) : 530-545
research-article |
Plato the Democrat? Some Thoughts on the Politics of the Laws
Thomas M. Robinson()
Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2J7, Canada
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In the Laws (which Plato calls his “second-best society”) Plato asserts that the best attainable form of society will combine the better features of autocracy and democracy. The democracy will be one where aidos (“respect”) will be a prominent feature, as will be the rule of laws underpinned by the belief that God, not man, is the measure of all things. Unlike in the Republic, the accumulation of wealth and property will be the right of all citizens, including rulers. But it will operate under strict limits: a maximum of four quanta of property will be allowed by any citizen, while a minimum of one (which will provide a good life though perhaps not a rich one) will be guaranteed. The affinity of such a view with that of John Rawls is striking. The article ends with a brief interview between the reader and Plato, in which some of the above issues are discussed.

Keywords Athens      autocracy      democracy      equality      God      justice      Laws      property      Plato      Rawls      Republic     
Corresponding Authors: Thomas M. Robinson,   
Issue Date: 05 December 2013
 Cite this article:   
Thomas M. Robinson. Plato the Democrat? Some Thoughts on the Politics of the Laws[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2013, 8(4): 530-545.
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