22 Following



Currently reading

The Stand
Stephen King
David McCullough


Crito - Plato This is my least favorite of the few Socratic dialogues of Plato that I've read thus far. Firstly, because the approach Socrates took was more demagogic than dialectic; the character of Crito served as little more than someone for Socrates to talk at, as opposed to other dialogues, where Socrates wonderfully dissects the inconsistencies on their beliefs.

So I felt it was a weakly argued point he was trying to make. Secondly, and less importantly, I don't wholly agree with his conclusion. I understand the importance of citizens obeying the law; if we allow Socrates to undermine the law, we allow anyone to undermine the law, and if lots of people start to do that, we have no more law and the polis crumbles. However--and this may be a weakness in translation that is less ambiguous in Ancient Greek, but since I can't read "Crito" in its original, I can only take the translation as it is--I don't agree that staying in Athens, and thereby agreeing to live by its rules, and fleeing when faced with obvious injustice are at odds. Yes, by staying in Athens, Socrates has agreed to live by her laws; laws such as don't murder, don't steal, don't cheat, etc. However, if you are wrongly convicted of breaking those rules, how can one say that you have truly reneged on your agreement to follow the law? You have certainly not disobeyed the law by not killing, not stealing, etc.; you've only disobeyed a disobeyed law, for just as you agreed to follow the law of Athens, so has Athens agreed not to capriciously adjust the law on a whim. So if Athens has convicted an innocent man, Athens has done wrong, an injustice, and it would not be an injustice--and injustice being reneging on the agreement to obey the law--for Socrates to flee.

I'm sure a wise man like Socrates would be able to tear holes into my argument, but I sure I wish I could have tried to persuade him!