This book is the first extended attempt to explain Platos ethics of natural law, to place it accurately in the history of moral theory, and to defend it against the objections that it is totalitarian. Wild provides a clarification of Platos ethical doctrine and a defence of that doctrine based t only of his analysis of the dialogues but on the belief that Plato must ackwledged as the founder of the Western tradition of natural law philosophy. The book begins with a presentation of the major objections raised against Plato by modern authors -- Toynbee, Karl Popper and others who have condemned the so called totalitarianism of Platos thought. Wild answers these objections point by point and with a wealth of evidence taken from Platos own arguments. He then presents a historical study of the ethics of natural law, defining the theory and showing through an examination of relevant dialogues that Plato held such a theory. The work concludes with a systematic study of his realistic ethics and its bearing on contemporary problems.
John Daniel Wild was a distinguished professor of philosophy at Harvard (1927-1961), Northwestern University (1961-1963), Yale University (1963-1969), and the University of Florida in Gainesville (1969-1970).