The Three Choruses of Plato’s Laws and their Function in the Dialogue

A New Approach

In: Phronesis
Julia Pfefferkorn Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Germany

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This article questions a longtime credo concerning Plato’s Laws, namely that the three choruses introduced in Book 2 are institutions of the dialogue’s political project. A detailed analysis of relevant passages shows that the evidence is insufficent. Rather, it is argued, this part of Book 2 is essentially plurivalent: on three separate semantic layers, the choruses illustrate political, moral-psychological and key educational issues of the Laws. Apart from explaining the disappearance of the choruses after Book 2, the proposed reading aims to bring to light an impressively artful philosophical and literary strategy of Plato’s.

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