POLI 347 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: John Stuart Mill, Critical Legal Studies, Legal Education

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8 Aug 2016
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Sep 9
Plato: The Tyrant, The Rule of Law, and The Philosopher-Ruler
Tyranny
-Contrasts law w/tyranny; the problem with tyranny is that there are no citizens. The fear
developed by tyrants eliminates the possibility of civilization.
-Law provides as a framework for diversity and is therefore important.
-Law allows for: diversity, citizens, and civilization.
-Concerns for the future/critiques of law:
oPeople don’t appreciate what they have.
oPutin  wants to re-create the Soviet Union. Marx  communism/no need for
law/capitalist: The ruler of men becomes replaced with the administration of things
oRadical feminists: law is just male power
oCritical legal studies (neomarxist): Law is about organized power
oLegal education is training for the hierarchy. What classes can make you money?
-2 theories of law:
1) Law is a neutral system of rules that provides peace and order w/options (Hyek)
Letwin favors this one
2) Law has a purpose that creates a certain kind a citizen with a certain kind of life. A
form of education that pushes you in a direction (Aristotle)
Plato’s Life: 427-347 BC; Athens: The death of Socrates. Plato vs Pericles
Plato on Law: a) The Crito; b) The Republic; c) The Statesman, The Laws
-Democracy is a problem. It is the enemy of philosophy.
-Tyranny is the worst regime, democracy is the second worse.
-Democracy leads to tyranny because it breaks down by the equality of everyone’s opinions.
-Democracy makes us think of the public good
-It doesn’t force us to do anything
-No ruling class
-Plato on democracy: A democratic man is selfish and doesn’t care about the public good
How many Platos? A) Letwin on 2 theories of law in Plato; b) Plato’s development and
possibly 3 approaches to law in Plato
-Young Plato (Crito)
1) Not really what Plato believed in. And instead what he thought that Socrates or
someone that he admired would approve of.
-Middle and Old Plato
1) Starts developing his own ideals
2) In the Republic, there are ‘true’ things and there are ‘truths’. In contrast w/Crito and
the ideals of Socrates, where he believes that there isn’t a definite answer.
3) Law is a utopian idea
4) Plato favors which regime? Spartan regime
Plato’s basic premise and critique of democracy:
a) rule by a tyrant is unacceptable but the alternative is not democracy
b) Athenian democracy means absolute equality and unlimited freedom under: law which
leads to anarchy and then tyranny
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