[SydPhil] Critical Antiquities Workshop - André Laks
tristan.bradshaw at sydney.edu.au
Mon Apr 26 13:47:11 AEST 2021
At the next Critical Antiquities Workshop, Professor André Laks (Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City) will be presenting his paper, ‘Actualizing Plato’s Laws.’ The meeting will take place on Friday, May 7 11am-12:30pm Sydney time (that’s Thursday, May 6 9-10:30pm in the eastern US). The abstract is posted at the end of this email.
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Tristan Bradshaw and Ben Brown
Plato’s last and longest dialogue is a fascinating, but little frequented work, even if progress has been made among specialists during the last 30 years or so. This is paradoxical. One cannot conceive of Aristotle Politics, of Polybius’ analysis of the Roman constitution or of Cicero’s pair Republic/Laws – not to speak about the Church Fathers and the Founding Fathers – without referring to Plato’s Laws. For it is there that we find, for the first time, four basic concepts and principles systematically articulated in a cluster that proved to be of lasting political value: that all unaccountable power corrupts; that law should rule; that a ‘mixed’ constitution is the best that human beings can achieve; and that laws require a preamble. On the other hand, actual readers of the Laws, at least in the world most of us still live in, are not likely to feel much affinity with Plato’s ultimate political proposals. There is little doubt that Plato’s “second city” accentuates rather than alleviates the most unpleasant tendencies of the Republic, and that it shows a great number of traits that are, at best, questionable, and at worst – using an anachronistic word that is now at home in the political vocabulary – ‘totalitarian’. The question I want to discuss in my talk is how to think about the relationship between importance, influence and distancing in the case of a work that represents a fundamental benchmark in the history of political thought. But the question is of a more general nature, too.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow | Co-director, Critical Antiquities Network
The University of Sydney
Department of Classics and Ancient History
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Office: H606, Main Quadrangle | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006
+61 406 747 955
tristan.bradshaw at sydney.edu.au<mailto:tristan.bradshaw at sydney.edu.au> | fass.can at sydney.edu.au<mailto:fass.can at sydney.edu.au>
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