An insightful commentary on Plato’s Laws, his complex final work.
The Laws was Plato’s last work, his longest, and one of his most difficult. In contrast to the Republic, which presents an abstract ideal, the Laws appears to provide practical guidelines for the establishment and maintenance of political order in the real world. Classicist Seth Benardete offers a rich analysis of each of the twelve books of the Laws, which illuminates Plato’s major themes and arguments concerning theology, the soul, justice, and education.
Most importantly, Benardete shows how music in a broad sense, including drama, epic poetry, and even puppetry, mediates between reason and the city in Plato’s philosophy of law. Benardete also uncovers the work’s concealed ontological dimension, explaining why it is hidden and how it can be brought to light. In establishing the coherence and underlying organization of Plato’s last dialogue, Benardete makes a significant contribution to Platonic studies.