The Law Most Beautiful and Best: Medical Argument and Magical Rhetoric in Plato's Laws

Front Cover
Lexington Books, 2003 - Philosophy - 178 pages
How can citizens be persuaded to voluntarily obey good laws? Randall Baldwin Clark addresses this question by looking at one of the oldest works ever to pose it: Plato's Laws. The Law Most Beautiful and Best explores one of the most striking metaphors in the Laws: the suggestion that the gentle and persuasive bedside manner that characterizes rational medicine should serve as the model for political persuasion. Clark's careful reading of the Laws challenges traditional interpretations of this metaphor, emphasizing instead the way the dialogue subtly reasserts the efficacy of the magical arts. Just as the Athenian stranger treats his patients with a combination of rational and irrational therapies, so too must the philosophical reader-should he wish to preserve his city's health-be willing to avail himself of both the gentle persuasion of reasoned discourse and the enchanting coercion of irrational rhetoric. Both a close examination of the Laws and a thoughtful approach to an ageless political dilemma, The Law Most Beautiful and Best is essential reading for scholars interested in jurisprudence, classics, rhetoric, and political science.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Philosophy and the Rule of Law
Platos Grimoire
Eat Drink Man Woman
The Law Most Beautiful and Best
Select Bibliography
Citation Index
Topical Index
About the Author

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2003)

Randall Baldwin Clark holds a doctorate in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Following a year's service in the chambers of the Hon. Edith H. Jones, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and three years in private practice, Mr. Clark returned to the academy, teaching at the George Mason University School of Law and the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Bibliographic information