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date: 25 May 2022

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

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