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The CRITO CHLLENGE our duty to the law or why don’t you run for it Socrates?

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Presentation on theme: "The CRITO CHLLENGE our duty to the law or why don’t you run for it Socrates?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The CRITO CHLLENGE our duty to the law or why don’t you run for it Socrates?

2 The CRITO CHLLENGE : Background – 1) Who wrote the Crito Plato. 2) Who are the interlocutors Socrates and his wealthy friend Crito (of similar age) 3) What is it about? justice (dikē), injustice (adikia), and the appropriate response to injustice, brought about by Crito’s efforts to persuad Socrates to escape his execution 4) What important principle of democracy makes its first appearance in Western thought? This dialogue contains an ancient statement of the social contract theory of government, and one’s duty to the state, and the limits to that duty. 5) This social contrat is a rights/duties issue. What exactly is the issue here? If one accepts the rights and benefits of any society (by staying there) then one is duty bound to obey its laws – (the only way out is to change to the laws or move out)

3 The CRITO CHALLENGE : gaol time 1) Where in the sequence of the 4 “last days” dialogues, does the Crito fall? After the Apology, and before the Phaedo 2) Normally Socrates would have been executed the day following his trial, why not this time? There are religious observance to be completed. The ship to Delos commemorating the victory of Theseus over the Minotaur to whom some young women and men of Athens were sacrificed annually in King Minos’ day (1000 years before) had departed and the city was in mourning until their return in about a month. 3) How does this dialogue open – what news is brought? with Crito, an old friend of Socrates visiting him early in the morning to tell of the sighting of the death ship a day away (off Cape Sunium), and thus this is his final day. 4) How come Crito is allowed in so early? He is calling in a favour from the gaoler. 5) What surprises Crito when he enters? Seeing how peacefully Socrates is sleeping – given his aproaching execution. 6) What does Socrates say to this? “When a man has reached my age he should not be fearful at the prospect of death”

4 The CRITO CHALLENGE: Reasons for the early morning visit & Crito’s arguments. 1) Socrates rebuffs the report. How? Saying he has just had a dream of a white-cloaked woman saying in 3 days he will go to Phthia, (Achilles home). Socrates believes this clearly means it will be three days until he dies. 2) What is Crito’s 1 st argument to persuade Socrates to escape? if he follows through with the execution, people will assume that Crito and friends were too cheap to finance an escape (the expected course for friends to take). 3) Socrates refuses Crito's initial offer to pay bribes. What does Crito tell him? Informers ("sychophants") are cheaply bought and if Socrates is afraid of depleting Crito's account, there are foreigners (xenoi), Simmias and Cebes, who have come to town with money. 4) Having failed to persuade him, Crito moves to a moral argument. What is it? a father has an obligation to nurture and educate his children, and should avoid orphaning them if at all possible. He say this will be the fate of Socrates’ sons. 5) Crito next turns to his final argument. What is it? that the trial should never have taken place, might have been managed differently, and gives an unjust victory to his enemies. Failure to escape will be a ridiculous climax to the whole affair, and be seen as shameful cowardice of Socrates' friends.

5 CRITO CHALLENGE : Socrates answers Crito 1) Socrates first line of argument is about the value of opinions of others. What is his position? People must be guided by reason, not advice of friends. He has no time for the opinions of the uninformed masses of mankind who think irrationally and act randomly. 2) He uses an argument of analogy to make this point. Explain. a man in training should take the opinion only of an expert - the trainer. As the soul is more important than the body so, even more, he should not take the opinion only of the only person who understands honour and justice. Money, reputation and feeding children are values of thoughtless men. 3) Socrates then considers the definition of justice, and whether it is ever right to do wrong intentionally. To what question does he reduce this issue? “shall we be acting justly by.. showing gratitude to these people who are going to rescue me …or shall we really be acting unjustly in doing all this?” 4) What do they agree about committing injustice or defend oneself against injury by retaliation despite the provocation? That it is never right. 5) Socrates' claim that "resisting evil by any means other than persuasion is evil" is an ancient statement of what? moral pacifism. Socrates rests its logical defense entirely upon an analogy (50b-).

6 CRITO CHALLENGE: the voice of “the Laws of Athens” argues the social contract 1) What does Socrates think of leaving the prison and his fate without persuading the state to let him go It is to commit the injustice of breaking his agreements. 2) What does he “invent” to argue this point (by analogy), and why is it neccesary? A character - “the Laws of Athens” – ‘shes’ necessary as Soc has already argued that only expert opinion is of any value, so whose opinion is more epxert than “the laws” herself! 3) How does he begin this analogy? By considering her reaction if she arrived as they were getting ready to escape and asked if Socrates intends to run and therefore “destroy us, the laws, and the whole state as well” How can she (the Laws of Athens) can survive if private citizens can abolish those they do not like. 4) She further asks if that is not a denial of the agreement between her and him (as a citizen). What is this so-called agreement? She has given him life, and nurtured him in Athens, ensured that his father educate him, and protected him, and his ancestors with stable laws: He should not retaliate against the “laws” which have protected him just because they have justly condemned him to death? She says he should honour her even more than his parents. 5) What conclusions does this lead socrates to? That he must do whatever his country’s laws requires unless he can justly persuade his fellow citizens to change the laws, and that violence against them (by breaking them) is an unholy act and a great sin against your state – even a small act against the is a total attack in that they are destroyed by disobedience. 6) What two parallels does Socrates draw similar to the way citizens stand regarding the state? as the child does to the parent, as the slave does to his master.

7 The CRITO CHALLENGE: Sealing the social contract 1 How does “the laws” say the agreement is sealed. “any Athenian.. man.. is permitted if he is not satisfied.. go away wherever he likes.” and conversely that by staying he agrees to do as the City tells him. 2 Socrates has freely made this agreement how? By staying in Athens, so to now break this because it suits him is a great injustice against “the Laws” 3 If Socrates ran what would be the consequences in the world (as well as sinning against the city)? He will be despised wherever he goes as a law breaker, and will be mocked for his past moral claims, and it will not help his sons. And t will also put him in a difficult position when he enters the underworld. 4 The dialogue ends. What is Crito’s position? He reluctantly agrees with Socrates’ rational argument, and to stop urging him to escape his imminent execution 5 How reliable do you think this dialogue is, and why? Probably not very in detail, but it is probably typical of socrates. Why? Because Plato could only have got the details 2 nd hand, so at best the general flow of the argument. Also Plato may have been using Socrates voice to express some of his own arguments.

8 SUMMARY of Crito's arguments for escape  1)Socrates is endangering the good reputation of his friends. If Socrates is executed, Crito will appear to honour money over friends. Crito considers this reputation shameful and damaging even though it will be the opinion of those who do not know Socrates and Crito adequately, namely, the many. One must respect the opinions of the many because they can bring about great evils.  2) Socrates should not worry about Crito's reputation or money. Escape from death is more honourable.  3) Socrates has support in other cities, including Thessaly and exile would not be a bad option, although Socrates said in his defense that he would rather die than be exiled.  4) Socrates would be acting unjustly by not fulfilling his parental obligations.  5) Socrates would be acting cowardly by not resisting injustices (implying that the court decision and Socrates' subsequent execution are unjust). He would be joining his enemies. He is choosing the "easiest path" instead of the courageous, honourable and virtuous path, which Crito feels is to flee from certain, unjust death.

9 SUMMAR Y OF Socrates response to Crito’s argument  1) Public opinion is not important to the decision; the many's ignorance does not allow them to have true choice, and therefore their opinions are of no value to the one who strives after the truth and the good.  2) The essential concern is whether to escape would be just.  3) One should never do injustice; doing evil to humans/human evil leads to injustice.  4) Men, especially those so old as Socrates, should not fear death.

10 SUMMARY of The Laws' arguments  1) The Laws are more honourable than one's parents, for they too beget, educate, and nurture their citizens. Just as one should respect the decisions of one's parents, so should one respect the decisions of the Laws, but to an even greater degree. There is confusion as to whether this respect is due to the Laws or due to the fatherland.  2) Socrates tacitly agreed to obey the Laws by remaining in Athens after reaching maturity, witnessing how the Laws are structured and how they work and by having raised his children in Athens too.  3) Socrates would be seen as a corrupting force wherever he went.  4) If one has the ability to choose whether to obey a law, then he is destroying the power of the law. Destroying law is unjust, for men require a community and a community requires law.  5) It would put him in a precarious position in the afterlife.

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