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Law and Justice among the Socratics: Contexts for Plato’s Republic

Horky, Phillip Sidney (2021) 'Law and Justice among the Socratics: Contexts for Plato’s Republic.', Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Thought, 38 (3). pp. 399-419.

Abstract

At the beginning of Republic 2 (358e–359b), Plato has Glaucon ascribe a social contract theory to Thrasymachus and ‘countless others’. This paper takes Glaucon’s description to refer both within the text to Thrasymachus’ views, and outside the text to a series of works, most of which have been lost, On Justice or On Law. It examines what is likely to be the earliest surviving work that presents a philosophical defence of law and justice against those who would prefer their opposites, On Excellence by an anonymous author usually referred to as ‘Anonymus Iamblichi’; the views on these topics among the Socratics, including Crito, Simon the Cobbler, Aristippus of Cyrene, and Antisthenes; and Socrates’ debate with Hippias ‘On Justice’ in Xenophon’s Memorabilia (4.4.5–25). Its main contention is that the ‘countless others’ referred to by Glaucon points chiefly, but not solely, to the members of the circle of Socrates, who themselves espoused a range of views on justice and law, and their relations.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1163/20512996-12340342
Publisher statement:© Phillip Sidney Horky, 2021 | doi:10.1163/20512996-12340342 This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license
Date accepted:27 July 2021
Date deposited:27 July 2021
Date of first online publication:09 September 2021
Date first made open access:18 January 2022

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