Connor Fairbairn (KCL) - 2016-17 Students

Political Innovation in Plato’s Statesman, Republic and Laws

I aim to investigate the various positions on political innovation presented by Plato throughout his Laws, Statesman and Republic. The position contrast from two different extremes; from allowing complete freedom to the statesman in Statesman to completely restricting any political change to part of Kallipolis in Republic. Naturally, owing to Plato’s intricate writing style, there will be plenty of contextual factors to contend with from changing interlocutors to different type of cities and rulers. I will also deeply investigate the divide in Plato’s works into three distinct periods: ‘early, middle and late Plato.’ Because the texts I will be analysing fall into different areas, the difference and, indeed, contradiction in the positions is often attributed to a change of overall philosophical position by Plato. I propose that although Plato’s writing style does, quite distinctively change, he does not move philosophical stance as definitively as is commonly believed and, in fact, I will attempt to marry the positions in Statesman and Republic up to show that he merely develops his initial idea and does not move on to reject his earlier work. Ultimately, I am aim at finding the true position or positions of Plato on innovation in the state.

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