Presentation on theme: "Phil 160 Crito By Plato. The setup: Socrates is tried and found guilty of “corrupting the youth” and is imprisoned pending execution. His friend Crito."— Presentation transcript:
Phil 160 Crito By Plato
The setup: Socrates is tried and found guilty of “corrupting the youth” and is imprisoned pending execution. His friend Crito bribes the guards and sneaks in to smuggle Socrates out and get him on a boat out of Athens. Socrates decides to stay. The dialog is a discussion of Socrates’ reasons for staying.
Crito’s first ploy: Crito appeals to what “everyone would say” if they heard of the situation. They would all blame Crito for valuing money above his friends and failing to bribe the guards so that Socrates could get away. They would never believe that anyone would choose to stay.
Socrates: The populace, the masses, have no clear grasp of what is ultimately best, and popularity is no evidence of the rightness or wrongness of anything.
The Expert Argument: Socrates says that the difference between the masses and an expert is that an expert’s advice helps you because they know what they are talking about. If you followed just anyone’s advice when in physical training, you would spoil the state of your body. If you follow an expert though, your training is effective and improves you. So what is wanted here is a moral expert.
Expertise Socrates and Crito note that they have no clear expert available to them, so Socrates proposes that if his own reasoning stands up to careful scrutiny, then they shall follow that reasoning. Socrates also notes that what is damaged in failing to follow moral expertise is that part of us that goodness belongs to (roughly, the soul) and that the soul is ore important even than the state of the body.
Argument from the Laws Socrates and Crito both agree that it is always wrong to ill-treat someone, no matter how they have treated you in the past. Socrates then personifies the Laws of the society in which he was born, raised, lived in, defended at war, and stayed in willingly and happily for his whole life. He concludes that to disobey the law by fleeing from it’s sentence now would be to ill-treat not only the spirit of the law but also his own soul. In short, it is not okay to act against morality just because sometimes it demands unpleasant things of us.
Prudence and Morality Prudence is acting in one’s self-interest Morality is doing the right thing. A persistent question in ethics concerns to what extent prudence and morality are related. Is it in our best interest to be moral? If it is not, how much can morality demand of us that is counter to prudence?
Prudence and Morality Socrates provides one potential answer to this question in Crito. Socrates clearly insists that living well is more important than merely living, and seems to contend that living well means living morally. So for Socrates, prudence and morality are the same, and whatever morality demands of us is in our best interest.