Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Plato’s term eleutheria may be translated as “freedom” because it signifies the same triadic relation as the English term—freedom of an agent from impediments to a goal. While it is generally recognized that Plato rejects the democratic idea of personal freedom, it is often overlooked that he offers in its place an alternative, “aristocratic,” conception of freedom, originating in the moral psychology of Socrates and reflecting a popular view of freedom as opposed to slavery. In the Republic Plato describes aristocratic freedom as the rule of reason over the soul unimpeded by desires. In the Laws aristocratic freedom entails “willing enslavement to the laws,” which represents a due measure between extreme slavery and extreme freedom. Though different from the modern liberal concept of liberty, Plato’s conception leads to important innovations. Plato’s ideal of aristocratic freedom was shared and developed further by Aristotle.

Keywords: Plato, freedom, law, Socrates, aristocratic, aristocratic freedom, liberty, eleutheria, Aristotle

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.