Plato?s Laws

Spring 2009

Lecturer: Jakub Jinek



Course description


The course is designed to be an introduction to Plato?s Laws. Our first objective is to explore the construction of the ?second best constitution? and its philosophical fundamentals such as: virtue, political friendship, education, equality and the philosophical knowledge. Second, we will explore the connection between the Republic and the Laws and ask whether Plato abandoned and revised his original project at the later stage of his life.




Students will be expected to do the assigned reading before the class and to actively participate in discussions. Each session will deal with a particular subject attached to each Book of the Laws (see the schedule). Students are required to give an oral presentation of this subject based on the recommended readings.


Required texts

Plato, Laws, preferably the translation by Trevor J. Saunders, London: Penguin Classics, 1970.


Recommended texts

(All available in the library)


Barker, E., The political thought of Plato and Aristotle, New York 1959.

Benardete, S., Plato's "Laws", Chicago ? London 2000.

Bobonich, Ch., Plato?s utopia recast: his later ethics and politics, Oxford ? New York 2002.

Friedländer, P., Plato: an introduction, translated by Hans Meyerhoff, New York 1964.

Görgermanns, H., Beiträge zur Interpretation von Platons Nomoi, München 1960.

Guthrie, W. K. C, A history of Greek philosophy. Vol. 5, Cambridge 1978

Havlíèek, A. ? Karfík, F. (ed.), The Republic and the Laws of Plato: proceedings of the first symposium Platonicum Pragense, Praha 1998.

Hentschke, A. B., Politik und Philosophie bei Plato und Aristoteles: die Stellung der Nomoi im Platonischen Gesamtwerk und die politische Theorie des Aristoteles, Frankfurt a. M. 1971.

Klosko, G., The development of Plato?s political theory, 2nd ed., Oxford ? New York 2006.

Knoch, W., Die Strafbestimmungen in Platons Nomoi, Wiesbaden 1960.

Krämer, H. J., Arete bei Platon und Aristoteles, Heidelberg 1959.

Lisi, F. L., Einheit und Vielheit des platonischen Nomosbegriffes, Königstein 1985.

Morrow, G. R., Plato?s Cretan city: a historical interpretation of the Laws, Princeton 1993.

Schofield, M., Plato: political philosophy, Oxford 2006.

Schöpsdau, Klaus (pøekl.), Platon, Nomoi I-III, Götingen 1994.

Schöpsdau, Klaus (pøekl.), Platon, Nomoi IV-VII, Götingen 2003.

Scolnicov, S. ? Brisson, L. (ed.), Plato's Laws: From Theory into Practice, S. Augustin 2003.

Stalley, R. F., An Introduction to Plato?s Laws, Indianapolis 1983.