Plato‘s uneasy founding: On reputation in the Laws

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Avgousti, A. (2018). Plato‘s uneasy founding: On reputation in the Laws. Diálogos, (98), 85–110. Recuperado a partir de


In Greek political theoretical practice, according to Rousseau and Arendt, the founder of a constitution leaves once he has legislated. The politeia of Plato‘s Laws violates this familiar trope. This observation –hitherto unnoticed in the secondary literature– suggests that scholars have not paid sufficient attention to Magnesia‘s founding. Herein I establish the role of reputation in the founding, thus touching upon a concept that is central to Plato‘s Athens yet radically understudied in Platonic studies. I begin by outlining the parameters of founding: the conceptual commitment that humankind lives not in the age of Cronus, but in the age of Zeus. I then evince that in this age reputation is both instrumental to, and constitutive of, the founding. The instrumental role is shown via the presence of Magnesia‘s founder, Cleinias of Cnossos, in the frame of the dialogue. The constitutive role is evidenced in the legislation for the incoming Dorian colonists. I conclude by proposing some virtues of Plato‘s account as motivated by my reading.


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