Published: February 2005
The final and longest dialogue Plato wrote in his life, this work is set on the island of Crete, where three old men are journeying to the cave of Zeus in imitation of Minos, the ancient Cretan lawmaker. Along the way, they ask and attempt to answer many questions concerning legislation and governing. With Athenian and Spartan law systems clearly in mind, these speakers envision a new set of laws for a utopia called Magnesia. Beyond laws that regulate crime and its punishments or the organization of rule, Plato explores a sort of code of conduct that would encompass every aspect of life in Magnesia, from education and recreation to religion and sexual intimacy. Though it can be read as authoritarian, Plato's true intent seems to be a comprehensive method of societal reform, revealing the mature mind of one of history's preeminent thinkers.