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The Minos is said to initiate the natural law tradition because it claims that an unjust law is not truly a law. But the dialogue also shows that reason cannot recognize that a given statute, as such, is a law. Along with this criticism of law, the Minos shows why the Socratic inquiry into law must consider whether divine law is based on a kind of knowledge through which law can be recognized as authoritative. Thanks to the Minos, we see that Plato's Laws begins by examining the kind of knowledge that underlies divine law and that throughout the dialogue the Athenian Stranger is testing whether human reason can know and establish divine law. In the end, the Minos and Laws establish a once influential but now neglected Socratic tradition of inquiry into law.
In Plato's Republic (606e), Socrates reports that Homer's admirers consider him the “educator of the Greeks.” Socrates himself emphasizes how greatly Homer shaped the Greek understanding of what constitutes human virtue as well as their understanding of the gods (Republic 377d, 386–94, 514b, 599d2–3; also Herodotus, Histories 2.53).
Theory: Rorty argues that liberals can forsake philosophic guidance and accept the historical character of the self and truth without sacrificing traditional, communal respect for the" Socratic virtues" of talking, listening, and deliberating in common. Argument: According to Nietzsche, however, insights into the historical character of the self and truth call for overturning democratic morality and establishing radical aristocracy.
Many contemporary observers believe that liberal states need to encourage the virtues of citizenship as a corrective to calculative individualism. Yet others fear that any such effort will jeopardize autonomy and diversity. A fuller understanding of Plato's account of the character, importance, and deficiencies of civic virtue provides the best starting point for our own reflections on civic virtue. A dramatic reading of The Republic elucidates Plato's account of the differences between civic and philosophic virtue by focusing on what prevents Glaucon from understanding and accepting Socrates' teaching about justice. Because Glaucon regards justice as altogether selfless while also insisting that it is the means to his own complete happiness, his virtue is sub-philosophic. Not only are his opinions shaped by the standards of his political community but he also lacks the steadfastness of soul needed to understand how justice can lead to his own happiness or recognize how it does so in Socrates. At the same time, this dramatic reading reveals that Socrates does not simply dismiss civic accounts of virtue since it is only by recognizing their power that he can affirm the nobility, justness, and goodness of the philosophic life.
A crucial dimension of Platonic political philosophy is the investigation of eros for to kalon, the desire for beauty or nobility that is at the core of heroic and political virtue. Socrates' "turn" to the investigation of "the human things" is due in part to his discovery that his ostensibly apolitical eros for the beauty of the ideas is based on problematic opinions about noble virtue, justice, and the gods. His inquiry into these matters is practical for Socrates as it teaches him how to live and is useful for politics insofar as it helps us scrutinize political opinions and gives us a model of deliberation that is helpful for politics.