How Joseph De Maistre Read Plato’s Laws

in Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought
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Maistre’s Soirées de Saint-Pétersbourg is modeled on Plato’s Laws. Plato and Maistre both demand the political control of natural inquiry, and implement these controls through theodictic conversation. Maistre, following the lead of Plato’s legislator, publishes an exemplary conversation about providence between a young man tempted by an atheistic Enlightenment and two older, wiser, and more learned men of affairs. Maistre defends providentialism from materialist interpretations of natural science even as Plato defended it from ancient materialism.

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