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Plato takes a transcendentalist interlude

Posted on November 18, 2010 |
By Victor Nuovo



 

Author’s note: This essay interrupts the sequence of expository essays on Plato’s Laws to answer an objection that questions the validity of the entire series. Transcendentalism is the name of an intellectual movement that flourished in the United States during the 19th century, especially in New England. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are its leading proponents. Their writings range over a wide range of topics, literary, philosophical, religious, and political. The influence of Plato and Platonism is evident throughout them.

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Plato honored the art of lawmaking

Posted on November 4, 2010 |
By Victor Nuovo



This is the fifth in a second series of essays and reflections about politics and the moral life. The themes of the essays are drawn from Plato’s “Laws,” his last and longest philosophical dialogue written shortly before his death in 347 B.C. “Laws” is a fictional account of a conversation involving three old men with long experience in politics: Cleinias, from the Cretan city of Cnossos; Megillus, from Sparta; and an Athenian stranger who is not named, but who may be Plato himself.

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Plato: Politicians employ dense, Platonic turn-of-phrase on regular basis

Posted on October 21, 2010 |
By Victor Nuovo



Author’s note: This essay begins a second series of essays and reflections about politics and the moral life. Each essay develops a theme from a work by the philosopher Plato, entitled “Laws,” which he wrote shortly before his death in 347 B.C. “Laws” is written as a dialogue involving three old men with long experience in politics: Cleinias, from the Cretan city of Cnossos; Megillus, from Sparta; and an Athenian stranger who is not named, but who may be Plato himself.

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Fall 2010, Plato part 1: The Laws of Plato and the rule of Law

Posted on October 7, 2010 |
By Victor Nuovo



An Essay by Victor Nuovo, Middlebury College professor emeritus of philosophy

1. The Laws of Plato and the rule of Law

Author’s note: This is the first of a series of essays or reflections about a book written two and a half millennia ago by Plato, the great philosopher. It is titled “Laws” and is his last and longest work. According to a reliable tradition, when Plato died, in 347 BCE, he had finished a draft of the whole work; it was edited and published posthumously by Philip of Opus, Plato’s secretary, a member of Plato’s Academy and a philosopher.

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Plato part 6: On dancing masters and oracles

Posted on April 15, 2010 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of essays about politics and the moral life. The essays develop themes from a work by the philosopher Plato titled “Laws,” which he wrote shortly before his death in 347 BCE. “Laws” is written as a dialogue involving three old men with long experience in politics: Cleinias, from the Cretan city of Cnossos, Megillus, from Sparta, and an Athenian stranger who is not named, but who may be Plato himself. The theme of this essay is education and the educative role of dance, music, poetry and wine.

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Plato part 5: Love forms foundation for rule of law

Posted on April 8, 2010 |
By Victor Nuovo



5. All you need is love

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of essays about politics and the moral life. The essays develop themes from a work by the philosopher Plato, entitled “Laws,” which he wrote shortly before his death in 347 BCE. “Laws” is written as a dialogue involving three old men with long experience in politics: Cleinias, from the Cretan city of Cnossos; Megillus, from Sparta; and an Athenian stranger who is not named, but who may be Plato himself. This essay follows Plato’s digression into the “Symposium.”

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Plato part 4: On drinking one's way to sobriety

Posted on April 1, 2010 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of essay about politics and the moral life. The essays develop themes from a work by the philosopher Plato, titled Laws, which he wrote shortly before his death in 347BCE. Laws is written as a dialogue involving three old men with long experience in politics: Cleinias, from the Cretan city of Cnossos, Megillus, from Sparta, and an Athenian stranger who is not named, but who may be Plato himself.

This essay and the next two explore the role that the emotions play in the rule of law.

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