An approach to the ''Laws'': The problem of the harmony of by Raphael Arteau McNeil

By Raphael Arteau McNeil

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Extra info for An approach to the ''Laws'': The problem of the harmony of the goods in Plato's political philosophy

Sample text

That is, he can make all of these distinctions before even having identified the work of statesmanship as such. Because the architectonic art alone presupposes the knowledge enabling one to measure the worth of the produced work, it is alone legitimated to rule over the co-working arts. On that basis, the Stranger can now separate statesmanship from both all the other co-working arts inside the city and the spurious imitators of that art. 7. Separating statesmanship from the arts and its spurious contenders First, the Stranger lists the most obvious auxiliary causes to statesmanship.

Statesman, 272b8-c5. 33 showing the art of statesmanship is the art of weaving. The explanation of this analogy between statesmanship and weaving is the goal of this first chapter, after which we will be able to turn to the Republic and the Laws. It is then not inappropriate to pause here in order to flesh out the standard for politics the Stranger just gave. What strikes one at first is not so much that philosophy stands in the position of the highest good. What is more striking is that philosophy is not a distinctive human activity but is enlarged to encompass all the beasts and animals.

We may thus understand that if quickness and slowness are in themselves opposite, it does not follow from this that the goodness of quickness and the goodness of slowness are also opposite. Yet instead of pursuing the inherent conflict of courage and moderation (or decorum), the Stranger launches a second argument that shows the necessity of weaving together these two goods. The Stranger observes that those who are “exceptionally decorous”65 become, “due to this love [of them] which is more inopportune than what is needed” (dia ton erōta dē touton akairoteron onta ē chrē; 307e6-7), so unwarlike that they end up being the prey of aggressors, that is, they end up slaves.

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