Hey Kids, More Euthyphro!

by John Holbo on May 20, 2008

It’s time for my annual Plato’s Euthyphro post! If you recall, I’ve previously kicked around the subject of the legal status of Euthyphro’s case, his proposed prosecution of his father for murder. I did more research and hammered out a draft paper on the subject. I call it “Twelve Twists In Euthyphro’s Case” (PDF). It may be flagrantly overinterpretive, but I think it’s sort of fun anyway: what might have happened had such a case come to trial? It turns out to be surprisingly complicated. The draft is quite polished for reading, but still a bit thin in the research department. I kept expecting to find that someone had already written this paper, but apparently not. If I’m wrong about that, I’d like to know. I’d also appreciate fact-checking by knowledgeable classicists and historians and other people who may know I’m dead wrong about something. I want to add some actual philosophy at the end, too.

I’m not sure who will be interested. I’m writing an (illustrated!) introductory Plato text – three dialogues with commentary (translations by Belle W.) – and this was supposed to slot in there, but this bit’s gotten a bit long and standalone-ish. Still, it seems to me maybe intro philosophy teachers would be curious. Lots of undergrads read the dialogue (mine do). Lots of profs teach it, without having a clue what the workings of the Athenian courts would have really been like (I taught it for several years without asking myself these questions.)

I got a lot out of one book in particular: Athenian Homicide Law in the Age of the Orators, by Douglas MacDowell (1964). The research in it was well-reviewed at the time and, so far as I can tell, does not seem to have been overturned. (It was reprinted in 1999). The only controversial claim of the book is that we can really know nothing about the evolution of homicide law up to this period. Whether it had basically stayed the same since Draco or not. Some scholars think that’s too pessimistic. But I don’t really touch on any of that. If anyone is aware of any errors by MacDowell that I might be in danger of replicating, I would appreciate hearing about it.

Care Talk Blog

by Ingrid Robeyns on May 20, 2008

“Nancy Folbre”:http://people.umass.edu/folbre/folbre/, who is widely considered to be one of the most knowledgeable economists on issues of care work, has recently started a new blog, called “Care Talk”:http://blogs.umass.edu/folbre/. It’s a research blog that “aims”:http://blogs.umass.edu/folbre/welcome-to-care-talk/ to bring together interdisciplinary insights on issues of care — child care, care issues related to primary education, elder care, care for disabled, and health care. Care is a neglected issue in several disciplines and subdisciplines, including economics and political philosophy, and I can only applaud this initiative. I hope that this will become a genuine international blog — much can be learnt from looking at how care work is organised and divided in other countries.

Folbre published earlier this year her new book “Valuing Children”:http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/FOLOUR.html which I have here on my desk. I promise our readers a review of that book sometime in June.