Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-n6p7q Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-03-02T04:40:21.023Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 12 - Injury, Injustice, and the Involuntary in the Laws

from Part IV - Projects, Paradoxes, and Literary Registers in the Laws

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 July 2023

Malcolm Schofield
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Get access

Summary

The Laws makes clear its commitment to a form of Socratic paradox: no one who is unjust is so voluntarily. I show first how its protagonist – the Athenian Visitor – maintains this position, without resorting to the Socratic thesis that knowingly acting against one's beliefs about what is best is some sort of impossibility, and indeed recognizing the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance. My main concern, however, is with the Athenian's treatment – near the outset of the penology of Book 9 – of what is presented as a serious threat posed by the paradox to any viable theory of criminal behaviour and its punishment; or as he puts it, to the distinction drawn 'in every city and by every legialator there has ever been between two sorts of wrongdoing (adikêmata), voluntary and involuntary'. The Athenian's strategy for resisting the threat (as most commentators note) relies on distinguishing between volutarily harming someone, which requires compensation and often purification, and involuntary commission of injustice, which merits punishment, reconceptualized however as treatment for psychic disease. How far this distinction is successful in defusing the problem is then explored.

Type
Chapter
Information
How Plato Writes
Perspectives and Problems
, pp. 240 - 250
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×