Archaic moral values and political behaviour in Plato's earlier and middle dialogues and the Laws (or, from the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy)


  • Ιωάννης Ν. Περυσινάκης University of Ioannina



Ιn this paper basic terms such as agathos, arete and dikaiosyne are traced in Plato's earlier and middle dialogues (Protagoras, Meno, Republic) and the Laws. It is examined whether moral values and political behaviour of the Archaic period are valid in Plato's dialogues or not, and if they are transformed and in what way. Methodologically, the analysis deploys the basic distinction between co-operative (or quiet) values (or excellences) and competitive values (or excellences) , drawn originally by Α. W Η. Adkins. It is acknowledged that Plato's chief problem in ethics is the problem which has existed in the Greek value system from Homer onwards, namely that of affixing dikaiosyne, and the quiet virtues generally, to the group of values based οn arete so firmly as to make future severance impossible.
Ιn the dialogues mentioned above the paper draws attention to unnoticed Homeric or lyric passages which are transformed in the Platonic context, so as to function within the frame of co-operative values. Ιη this way it can be better appreciated how co-operative values manage to come into their own in the Platonic corpus, since the lack of them causes the ruin of the states.
Ιn an annexe demioergos and techne are examined οn the basis of the discussion in Meno and the Republic primarily. It is suggested that by classifying himself to the craft of the demioergoi, Plato manages to use the craft analogy in his theory of virtue. It is also argued that the craft analogy can be found and consistently traced in the Platonic works and it proves essential to the understanding of Plato's inature moral theory. Plato's theory of virtue is through the craft analogy.

Author Biography

Ιωάννης Ν. Περυσινάκης, University of Ioannina

Τμήμα Φιλολογίας
Πανεπιστήμιο Ιωαννίνων



How to Cite

Περυσινάκης Ι. Ν. (2006). Archaic moral values and political behaviour in Plato’s earlier and middle dialogues and the Laws (or, from the ancient quarrel between poetry and philosophy). Ariadne, 12, 69–92.