By Lewis Meek Trelawny-Cassity
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Extra resources for Plato's legislative demiurgy: a study of the character of the
82 While Plato uses a different word for “cave” than τὸ σπήλαιον, there are some 81 This comparison might be supported by the claim of Seth Benardete that the Athenian suggests that the city of Magnesia and the prison for atheists are located in the same place, Plato's “Laws”: The Discovery of Being: 312. I am sympathetic to the general point, but the specific philological claim seems to be a case of the hermeneutic excess that Benardete is perhaps inclined towards. 82 Morrow suggests that the interlocutors are walking up Mount Ida, Plato's Cretan City: 28.
96 The second-bestness of Magnesia is not such that it could ever be superseded by the “truly” best city of Kallipolis, or even that Kallipolis is the paradigm which Magnesia imitates. Rather, the Athenian's second-best mode of legislation is akin to Socrates' second-best mode of inquiry into the world presented in the Phaedo; while a different, seemingly “better” way of proceeding can be imagined, the modes presented in the Laws and Phaedo are the best for human beings. ” The best city of the Republic is constructed not for the sake of creating a blueprint for political action but for investigating the nature of justice.
In discussing the Divided Line with Glaucon, Socrates attempts to explain how one attains knowledge of the intelligibles. Geometry, Socrates states, is able to go 102 See LSJ, διαλεκτικός. For an excellent discussion see David Roochnik, Beautiful City: The Dialectical Character of Plato's “Republic”: 131-151. 103 For a discussion of this issue which has influenced my own views see Charles Griswold, “Reflections on 'Dialectic' in Plato and Hegel,” International Philosophical Quarterly 22 (1982) : 115-130.