Plato's Utopia Recast is an illuminating reappraisal of Plato's later works, which reveals radical changes in his ethical and political theory.
Christopher Bobonich argues that in these works Plato both rethinks and revises important positions which he held in his better-known earlier works such as the Republic and the Phaedo. Bobonich analyses Plato's shift from a deeply pessimistic view of non-philosophers in the Republic, where he held that only philosophers were capable of virtue and happiness, to his far more optimistic position in the Laws, where he holds that the constitution and laws of his
ideal city of Magnesia would allow all citizens to achieve a truly good life. Bobonich sheds light on how this and other highly significant changes in Plato's views are grounded in changes in his psychology and epistemology.
This book will change our understanding of Plato. His controversial moral and political theory, so influential in Western thought, will henceforth be seen in a new light.
`Review from previous edition
In this careful, illuminating and fascinating book Bobonich demonstrates that Laws marks an important stage in Plato's philosophical development, and constitutes a major contribution to moral and political philosophy ... Bobonich's book is an important contribution. With its help, students of Plato's and Aristotle's moral and political philosophy can now do justice to Laws.'
The Philosophical Quarterly
`Review from previous edition Bobonich's study of the Laws (along with related aspects of other post-Republic dialogues, such as Phaedrus and Statesman) is truly brilliant and extraordinarily innovative. There is no doubt but that it will be seen on publication to have revolutionized our understanding of this sprawling, difficult work.... The result is a challenging new view of Platonic politics, based upon the most complete, most insightful account of
Plato's moral psychology - and its development - that anyone has yet provided.'
John Cooper, Princeton University
`Bobonich's discussion is rich and dense, and it covers an extremely wide range of topics. Since his interpretation is supported by careful exegesis of many texts and by keen philosophical argument, the result is a book of exceptional importance for our understanding of Plato's work. . . . by far the best account we have of the ethics and political philosophy of the Laws. It is also a major contribution to our understanding of the philosophy of mind and
metaphysics of value in Plato's later dialogues.'
Charles Kahn, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy
`Professor Bobonich marshals his arguments with subtlety and skill and carefully considers countervailing scholarly interpretations ... .turns on its head the traditional scholarly utopian interpretation of Plato's middle and later work ... a book that should be of paramount interest to all students of utopian thought ... magisterial in its scope and scholarly in its erudition.'
`The ambition of Bobonich's project is likely to provoke a great deal of further debate, as much about psychology as about freedom and community, and is what makes the publication of Plato's Utopia Recast a memorable event in Plato scholarship.'
Malcolm Schofield, Times Literary Supplement
`... one of those rare things, a really exciting work of philosophical scholarship, which has me wanting to turn every page ... one of the best things that I have read on Plato for a very long time ... a thoroughly original book, not just in terms of its thesis, but in terms of its strikingly clear approach - which allows fresh meaning to shine out.'
Christopher Rowe, University of Durham
`... an extraordinarily ambitious study of Plato's growth as an ethical and political philosopher from the Phaedo to the Laws. Its principal theme is that Plato came to regard the moral psychology and theory of cognition in the IRepublic as a failure in its own terms; that he therefore radically revised his views in the later dialogues; and that these changes reach their culmination in the Laws. This is a work of great scope and boldness, and
is bound to be controversial. Whether readers agree with Bobonich or not, they will inevitably learn a great deal by having to come to terms with his admirably detailed and systematic account of Plato's development.'
Richard Kraut, Northwestern University