Plato’s Laws, Book I: The Divine Puppet

The first word of the first sentence of the Laws is "god". Plato's Laws ("nomoi") is one of four dialogues whose titles indicates the subject matter, the others being the Republic, the Statesman, and the Sophist. The later interpolated subtitle can be translated literally as "Acts of Lawgiving", unlike the Republic, whose subtitle is "On the Just". The Laws is, therefore, focused on the activity of … Continue reading Plato’s Laws, Book I: The Divine Puppet

On the Theages

The Theages, now considered a spurious Platonic dialogue, mirrors the form but not the content of the Laches. Whereas in the Laches, the theme is of 'Courage", the theme of the Theages is of wisdom. Demodocus, perhaps the noted military man from Thucydides, is frantic and goes to visit Socrates. They speak in private at Socrates's "leisure" under the portico … Continue reading On the Theages

On the Cleitophon

As with many others, the Cleitophon is believed to be a spurious dialogue. Nevertheless we must consider it, as the ancients considered it a legitimate source of Platonic wisdom. After all is was Thrasyllos, the Hellenistic critic, who closely associated the Cleitophon with the Republic. Who was Cleitophon? In short he was an oligarchic Athenian statesman. He speaks … Continue reading On the Cleitophon

Timaeus and the Likely Story

The Timaeus is the strangest dialogue in the Platonic corpus. It begins, appropriately, in counting. Socrates counts "one, two, three..." but notes there is a missing fourth person. Timaeus informs Socrates that the missing fourth person has fallen ill but otherwise would be there. Yesterday, Socrates had treated four men to an account of his conversation … Continue reading Timaeus and the Likely Story