Reading nature through culture in Plato and Aristotle's works on law

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Abstract
In the human and natural sciences there are many ways of examining nature. While archaeologists, anthropologists and other scientists prefer to examine nature empirically, philosophers and other humanists are more likely to examine texts in order to arrive at an idea of, for example, the Greek world's understanding of nature. Among the scholarly treatises that we typically consider to be sources for research into Greek philosophy of nature and the environment, I selected, for the purposes of this paper, Plato's The Laws and Aristotle's Constitutions of Athens. In this paper I will argue that if we want to understand ecology or environment as cultural concepts, and we look to the law of Classical Greece, or at least Athens, we find that knowing the law is not the direct process of the present day - that is to say, we cannot simply look to written codes to understand the legal practices. Plato in The Laws, points to a comportment toward nature, through the law, which can be based upon objectively-obtained values, without resulting in material scientism. With this in mind, we citizens can determine environmental policy and law, without pretending that it is dictated by earth, air and water.
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Archival date: 2016-08-23
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