Plato on Virtue and the Law

Plato on Virtue and the Law

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Ancient philosophy is no longer an isolated discipline. Recent years have seen the development of a dialogue between ancient and contemporary philosophers writing on central issues in moral and political philosophy. The renewed interest in character and virtue as ethical concepts is one such issue, yet Plato's contribution has been largely neglected in contemporary virtue ethics. In Plato on Virtue and the Law, Sandrine Berges seeks to address this gap in the literature by exploring the contribution that virtue ethics make to the understanding of laws alongside the interesting and plausible insights into current philosophical concerns evident in Plato's dialogues. The book argues that a distinctive virtue theory of law is clearly presented in Plato's political dialogues. Through a new reading of the Crito, Menexenus, Gorgias, Republic, Statesman and Laws, Berges shows how Plato proposes several ways in which we can understand the law from the perspective of virtue ethics.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 188 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 10mm | 272g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1441111506
  • 9781441111500

Table of contents

Chapter One: Some Key Concepts in Ancient Virtue Ethics; 1. Plato and Aristotle's Virtue Ethics; 2. Agent Focused and Agent Based Virtue Ethics; 3. What is Virtue Jurisprudence?; Chapter Two: Obedience and Persuading the Laws in the Crito; 1. Introduction; 2. The incompatibility problem introduced.; 3. Unconditional Obedience.; 4. Agreement.; 5. The Role of the Laws: the Parent Analogy.; 6. The Crito, the Apology, and Civil Disobedience.; Chapter Three: Promoting and Preserving Virtue in the Menexenus; 1. Introduction; 2. The relevance of Plato's proposal to contemporary debates; 3. Alternative Accounts: Slote and the Republic; 4. The Argument in the Menexenus; 5. Why the Virtue Politics Account is not Overly Paternalistic.; Chapter Four: Virtue as Mental Health in the Gorgias and Other Dialogues; 1. The Model of Psychic Health in Plato.; 2. How the model works: elenchos as therapy.; 3. Virtue and the situationists.; 4. Community service for offenders as elenctic therapy: a case study.; Chapter Five: Paternalism in the Republic; 1. A problem and a solution?; 2. Paternalism in the Republic; 3. Educating the philosopher kings and the rest.; 4. Paternalism in education.; 5. Conclusion.; Chapter Six: The Statesman and Equity; 1. Introduction.; 2. Two attitudes to the laws in the Statesman.; 3. The anti-democratic reading of the second claim.; 4. Equity.; 5. An objection.; 6. Making way for the Laws.; Chapter Seven: The Laws: Persuading the citizens; 1. Introduction.; 2. Preambles.; 3. The two audiences for the preambles.; 4. Are the preambles paternalistic?; 5. Persuading the Laws.; Chapter Eight: Towards virtue-promoting Democratic Institutions; 1. A flourishing environment: from laws to institutions.
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Review quote

"Berges' project in this book is to develop a virtue theory of the law by way of a close examination of six of Plato's dialogues. This is an intriguing- and fruitful line of inquiry, at the intersection of virtue ethics, ancient philosophy, and the philosophy of law... No existing study covers the ground that she covers in this book, and her treatment is thorough, scholarly, and well-informed." -- Tim Chappell, The Open University, UK "This is a marvelous book that undertakes the novel but vital project of examining Plato's dialogues for the insights they provide into virtue ethics and especially the implications of virtue ethics for political philosophy. Anyone interested in Plato, contemporary virtue ethics or contemporary political philosophy will benefit from reading it." - Professor Chris Bobonich, Stanford University, USA
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About Sandrine Berges

Sandrine Berges is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Bilkent University, Turkey.
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