Plato's Laws X

We're down to the last quarter of the book, for those of you who are happily anticipating an end to this series. Yet I've really been enjoying it; if you have nominations for a philosophical work to read after this (ancient or medieval by preference, but I'll entertain other suggestions), please drop it in the comments.

This book of the Laws should be fun to read. It contains a proof for the existence of the gods, against "those" who say that things like stars and planets are just rocks and fire in the sky. We're in the unusual position of (a) knowing that the planets and suns are in fact 'rocks and fire,' and not gods, but also (b) believing in theology (as far as I know; it's fine if any of you are atheists, but I'm not aware of any atheists in the audience). The theology Plato is defending is of a very different sort from the kind of theology that was developed by Avicenna, and later altered and adopted by Jewish and Christian philosophers. So you're free to entertain the idea that these arguments are just wrong; but also to entertain the idea that there might be something to them.

It's also worth asking yourself which side Plato is really on here. As with the last section of Laws IX, it's possible that Plato intends for the Athenian's arguments to fail. Maybe Plato really doesn't believe in Apollo, as Socrates was said not to; but he can't say that he doesn't because that sort of thing gets you killed. Which side comes out stronger in the work?

I'm not going to provide any further analysis today, just this introduction. Read it yourselves first, if you like, and see what you think before I tell you what I think. 

No comments: