Claire McCusker


Plato 's Minos is the only Platonic dialogue in which a character asks the question "What is law? " Yet the Minos has been largely neglected by modern philosophers of law; indeed, it has been all but expunged from the Platonic corpus due to concerns about its lack of sophistication and coherence. This Note offers a novel interpretation of the dialogue, demonstrating its coherence and bringing the Minos back into the clarifying light of scholarship. Moreover, the Note argues that Plato has, through the person of Socrates in the Minos, suggested a novel account of the nature of law that has the potential to advance a natural law-legal positivism debate that many have viewed as stalled on semantics. That is, Plato argues through the Minos for a view of law wherein law aspires to conformity with the true, but is not always able to achieve that conformity. In arguing for this quasi-natural law view, Plato develops trenchant critiques of positivism not yet answered by modern positivistic philosophers of law.