On Law and Justice Attributed to Archytas of Tarentum

In David Wolfsdorf (ed.), Early Greek Ethics. Oxford: pp. 455-490 (2020)
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Archytas of Tarentum, a contemporary and associate of Plato, was a famous Pythagorean, mathematician, and statesman of Tarentum. Although his works are lost and most of the fragments attributed to him were composed in later eras, they nevertheless contain valuable information about his thought. In particular, the fragments of On Law and Justice are likely based on a work by the early Peripatetic biographer Aristoxenus of Tarentum. The fragments touch on key themes of early Greek ethics, including: written and unwritten laws; freedom and self-sufficiency; moderation of the emotions and cultivation of virtues; equality and the competence of the majority to participate in government; criticism of “rule by an individual”; a theory of the ideal “mixed constitution”; distributive and corrective justice and punishment, and of the rule of law. The fragments also contain one of the only positive accounts of democracy in ancient Greek philosophy.
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Archival date: 2020-12-08
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