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The Laws is Plato's last and longest dialogue. The question asked at the beginning is not "What is law?" as one would expect- that is the question of the Minos. The kick-off question is rather, "Who is given the credit for laying down your laws?"It is generally agreed that Plato wrote this dialogue as an old man, having failed in his effort in Syracuse on...
The Laws is Plato's last and longest dialogue. The question asked at the beginning is not "What is law?" as one would expect- that is the question of the Minos. The kick-off question is rather, "Who is given the credit for laying down your laws?"It is generally agreed that Plato wrote this dialogue as an old man, having failed in his effort in Syracuse on the island of Sicily to guide a tyrant's rule, instead having been thrown in prison. These events are alluded to in the Seventh Letter.Unlike most of Plato's dialogues, Socrates does not appear in the Laws. This is fitting because the dialogue takes place on the island of Crete, and Socrates never appears outside of Athens in Plato's writings, except in the Phaedrus, where he is just outside the city's walls. Instead of Socrates we have the Athenian Stranger (in Greek, 'xenos') and two other old men, an ordinary Spartan citizen (Megillos) and a Cretan politician and lawgiver (Kleinias) from Knossos.The Athenian Stranger, who is much like Socrates but whose name is never given, joins the other two on their religious pilgrimage to the cave of Zeus. The entire dialogue takes place during this journey, which mimics the action of Minos, who is said by the Cretans to have made their ancient laws, who walked this path every nine years in order to receive instruction from Zeus on lawgiving. It is also said to be the longest day of the year, allowing for a densely-packed twelve chapters.By the end of the third chapter Kleinias announces that he has in fact been given the charge of laying down laws for a new Cretan colony, and that he would like the Stranger's assistance. The rest of the dialogue proceeds with the three old men, walking towards the cave and making laws for this new city. (Quote from wikipedia.org) Show Less
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