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The authority of law in Plato's Crito

Hatzistavrou, Antony



In this article I analyze the speech of the Laws in Plato’s Crito from a jurisprudential perspective. More specifically I explore the Laws’ views about the authority of law. I offer new interpretations of their famous ‘persuade or obey’ alternative and of their arguments about their superior moral status and the agreements of the citizens with them. I also explore the rather neglected topic of the mental attitude towards their authority that they demand from the citizens and conclude with a discussion of their understanding of the relation between law and morality. I approach the speech of the Laws as a historian of legal thought and try to locate their arguments firmly within both the context of the ancient Athenian legal system and the context of Platonic philosophy.


Hatzistavrou, A. (2019). The authority of law in Plato's Crito. Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, 32(2), 365-387.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 3, 2019
Online Publication Date Aug 20, 2019
Publication Date Aug 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 20, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 22, 2019
Journal Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence
Print ISSN 0841-8209
Electronic ISSN 2056-4260
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 2
Pages 365-387
Keywords Authority of law; Plato; Crito; Ancient Athenian law
Public URL
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