A Stranger's Knowledge
Statesmanship, Philosophy, and Law in Plato's Statesman: Statesmanship, Philosophy, and Law in Plato's Statesman
Marquez shows how this impasse is the key to understanding the ambiguous reevaluation of the rule of law that is the most striking feature of the political philosophy of the Statesman. The law appears here as a mere approximation of the expertise of the inevitably absent statesman, dim images and static snapshots of the clear and dynamic expertise required to steer the ship of state across the storms of the political world. Yet such laws, even when they are not created by genuine statesmen, can often provide the city with a limited form of cognitive capital that enables it to preserve itself in the long run, so long as citizens, and especially leaders, retain a “philosophical” attitude towards them. It is only when rulers know that they do not know better than the laws what is just or good (and yet want to know what is just and good) that the city can be preserved. The dialogue is thus, in a sense, the vindication of the philosopher-king in the absence of genuine political knowledge.
Parmenides Publishing, 9781930972797, 420pp.
Publication Date: June 7, 2012
About the Author
Xavier Márquez teaches political theory and political science at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. He specializes in the history of political thought, and has published pieces on ancient as well as modern thinkers. He is a native of Caracas, Venezuela.