Understanding the role of the laws in Plato's statesman
Society for the Advancement of Philosophy, Zagreb, Croatia
5 - 23
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In the Statesman, Plato seems to be advocating that in the absence of a true king who will rule independently of laws, the next best thing as far as just rule is concerned is to adhere rigidly to existing laws, whatever they are. The rule of the true king is given as an example of virtuous rule in the sense that virtue politics or jurisprudence holds that laws cannot always deal justly with particular cases. But Plato's view of what we must do when there are no true kings forthcoming seems to preclude a virtue theoretical understanding of politics and laws. In this paper I will investigate the view that the image of the true king, who relies on written laws for convenience only, provides a model for a more realistic appeal to virtue in jurisprudence, that is, a respect of laws that is compatible with equity, in the sense understood by Aristotle.