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Civic Freedom in Plato’s Laws

Civic Freedom in Plato’s Laws AbstractIn Book 3 of Plato’s Laws, we read that a legislator must aim to endow the polis with a trio of properties: freedom, wisdom, and internal friendship (philia). This paper explores what such freedom consists in, with a focus on the so-called doctrine of the mixed constitution. It argues that such freedom is a constitutional matter; that it is not to be identified with ‘voluntary servitude to the laws’ cultivated by persuasive preludes to the laws; nor is it the rational self-control essential to virtuous character, or citizens’ ability to decide and act for themselves; nor is it a restriction on the size of individual political authority. Rather, it is a freedom based on equality: a polis is free to the extent that its constitution mitigates the inherent inequality between rulers (archontes) and ruled (archomenoi), between those who wield political authority and those who are subject to that authority. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought Brill

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0142-257x
eISSN
2051-2996
DOI
10.1163/20512996-12340348
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractIn Book 3 of Plato’s Laws, we read that a legislator must aim to endow the polis with a trio of properties: freedom, wisdom, and internal friendship (philia). This paper explores what such freedom consists in, with a focus on the so-called doctrine of the mixed constitution. It argues that such freedom is a constitutional matter; that it is not to be identified with ‘voluntary servitude to the laws’ cultivated by persuasive preludes to the laws; nor is it the rational self-control essential to virtuous character, or citizens’ ability to decide and act for themselves; nor is it a restriction on the size of individual political authority. Rather, it is a freedom based on equality: a polis is free to the extent that its constitution mitigates the inherent inequality between rulers (archontes) and ruled (archomenoi), between those who wield political authority and those who are subject to that authority.

Journal

Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political ThoughtBrill

Published: Sep 9, 2021

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