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Art and Ethical Perspective: Notes on the Kalon in Plato’s Laws

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Abstract

Suppose you believe that there are objective truths in matters of value: mind-independent facts about what is worth pursuing, knowledge of which is crucial to living well — to being virtuous and happy. Suppose you also believe that these facts are very difficult to grasp, and, indeed, that most people get them badly, dangerously wrong. Now suppose that you are a vastly ambitious moral reformer: you want to design a system whereby all members of society will be as virtuous and happy as possible. You lay out all kinds of laws to regulate every aspect of life, major and minor, public and private, all with a view to the virtue of the citizens. You hold that the most important part — the foundation of all the rest — is moral education (paideia), a program for instilling virtue in the citizens in the first place. What will you prescribe?

Keywords

  • Moral Education
  • Ethical Perspective
  • Human Affair
  • Virtuous Character
  • Musical Education

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Education comes originally from Apollo and the Muses … So by an uneducated man we shall mean a man who has not been trained to take part in a chorus; and we must say that if a man has been sufficiently trained, he is educated … And this means that the finelyeducated man will be able both to sing and dance finely [kalōs].

(Laws 654a–b)1

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Bibliography

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© 2012 Jessica Moss

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Moss, J. (2012). Art and Ethical Perspective: Notes on the Kalon in Plato’s Laws. In: Denham, A.E. (eds) Plato on Art and Beauty. Philosophers in Depth. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230368187_10

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