Plato's Statesman: A Philosophical Discussion

Panos Dimas, Melissa Lane, Susan Sauvé Meyer

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Plato’s Statesman reconsiders many questions familiar to readers of the Republic: questions in political theory – such as the qualifications for the leadership of a state and the best from of constitution (politeia) – as well as questions of philosophical methodology and epistemology. Instead of the theory of Forms that is the centrepiece of the epistemology of the Republic, the emphasis here is on the dialectical practice of collection and division (diairesis), in whose service the interlocutors also deploy the ancillary methods of myth and of models (paradeigmata). Plato here introduces the doctrine of due measure (to metrion) and a conception of statecraft (politikē) as an architectonic expertise that governs subordinate disciplines such as rhetoric and the military – doctrines later developed by Aristotle. Readers will find a sustained defence of the importance of expertise (technē or epistēmē) in the conduct of affairs of state, a robust (although not unqualified) defence of the rule of law, and an unsparing but nuanced critique of democratic government. The chapters in this volume provide a comprehensive and detailed philosophical engagement with the entirety of Plato’s wide-ranging dialogue, with successive chapters devoted to the sections of the dialogue as it unfolds, and an introduction that places the dialogue in the context of Plato’s philosophy as a whole. While not a commentary in the traditional sense, the volume engages with Plato’s Statesman in its entirety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages293
ISBN (Electronic)9780192898296
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Plato
  • Statesman
  • democracy
  • dialectic
  • division
  • myth
  • paradeigma
  • political expertise
  • rule of law
  • techne


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