Richard Stalley on Platonic Legislations (2017)

International Journal of the Platonic TraditionRichard Stalley reviews my book Platonic Legislations (2017) in The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition.

“Dusenbury’s … suggestion that Plato engages in a critique of law undoubtedly offers a fresh and potentially illuminating approach to Plato’s political and legal philosophy,” Stalley writes, “and also raises some significant issues for the philosophy of law.”

He continues: “The point here is not simply that Plato is critical of existing systems of law but, rather, that he points to weaknesses which are implicit in the very nature of law itself. These imply that all codes of law must be more or less defective. On Dusenbury’s reading Plato deals with this point in the  by arguing that if any state governed by law is to survive it must allow for the ‘supplementation, emendation and abrogation of its laws’ (p. 1). So the ‘hypothetical law-states’ he describes in the  and the  provide for a ‘non-democratic “flux” of law’.”

I am chided, however, for keeping Platonic Legislations so short (120 pp.). Because of this: “Dusenbury … lacks adequate space to develop his own views (some of which are very controversial).”


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