POLS 2000 Lecture Notes September 19, 2013
Lecture 3: The Crito
• Note the major difference between the Apology and the Crito and how in the
Apology Socrates states that he will follow the laws of the God and in the Crito,
he says all citizens must follow the laws of their respective cities.
• When Crito goes to visit Socrates, Socrates is having an easy sleep.
• This is significant in that it shows that Socrates was not afraid of death.
• Also, the extra time to sleep allowed Socrates to have a dream.
• In the dream, a beautiful woman in white approaches Socrates and says “Thou
wilt go to Athea in three days”.
• This is from the Iliad.
• It is significant because Plato is putting Socrates on par with famous Greek
• “Go to Athea” could mean come home to Hades (die) or it could mean in three
days Socrates would flee to Thessaly.
• 1) Socrates.
• 2) Crito.
• 3) Speech of the Laws.
• Critoa longtime friend of Socrates.
• He’s wealthy.
• He’s rational.
• He cares about the opinions of others.
• He considers himself virtuous.
• Is it just for Socrates to flee Athens/escape from prison?
• Crito’s Arguments:
• 1) “Escape Socrates or I will lose a good friend” (more about Crito than
• 2) My reputation will suffer because I will be perceived by the many as someone
who had enough money to get you out but didn’t (about Crito).
• 3) Socrates has a duty to himself and to his sons to escape so Socrates and his
friends will be regarded as useless because he did not get out.
• Crito makes this about him by saying that if they do not help him escaCrito
overlooks Socrates obligation to the city, they will all be considered worthless.
• Crito does not mention Socrates’ responsibility to the city (IMP!)!
• Socrates’ Arguments:
• His first response is that he will listen but he will only listen to rational
• Crito himself is representative of the opinions of the many.
• This means that Crito himself will be incapable of understanding what they
• The Greek word “doxa” mean opinions.
• Socrates is talking about the experts of “the body”.
• However, there may be the idea that the health of the mind and the health of the
body are impossible.
• 44 he asked Crito why he cares about public opinion.
• He has a response for this.
• He said the virtuous life should be the good life.
• The good life is distinct for the individual.
• Crito ridicules Socrates.
• Crito does not believe When Socrates advocates the “good life” e is saying that
there must by experts.
• Crito does not believe in Socrates in Socrates (“daimineon”)
• Crito says that he and his friends should help Socrates get out of prison.
• He is evidently agree because the accusers Socrates of a number of things.
• Crito describes people in sets of terms, many of who do not.
• Socrates seems concerned that Crito is so concerned with public opinion. 3
POLS 2000 Lecture Notes September 19, 2013
• In terms of his life being on the line, Socrates responds that it is not about living
in and of itself, it is about living the “good” or examined life.
• Is it just for Socrates to flee Athens if he is no longer the equal citizen he once
• If there is no “expert”, then the consequence must be for us to break the law.
• The relation between the philosophic life and the relation between political life.
• At point in the Crito, he all of a sudden drops the argument on the (“expert”)
• On justice, he says that one must never, under any circumstances harm another
• Socrates questions the validity of the laws by questioning their makeup.
• “SupraLegal” means “above positive law”.
• At 50a!!!
• Speech of the Laws
• A character of the dialogue.
• Initially Crito is being interrogated but then drops out.
• Then, Socrates is interrogated by The Speech of the Laws.
• In essence, he is being interrogated by himself.
• He is pretending that he is about to flee Athens in an effort to see what he might
• The “expert issue” has been replaced speech of the laws.
• 54a and 54b.
• By running away, Socrates intends to destroy the city and its laws.
• He will do this by demonstrating that by his leaving/fleeing Athens, everyone will
come to believe that they can do anything and disregard the rule of law.
• Second, he refuses to submit to their authority.
• Do either what the fatherland wants by obeying the laws of the city or do not do
what the fatherland wants and disregard the laws.
• In the 50 this where the above is. 4
• Socrates fleeing would damage his friends’ status, their property, his children’s
• These are concerns but not main concerns.
• If he flees Athens, than he is doing an injustice and is doing evil to the city.
• He is breaking Athenian Law.
• The personification of the Speech of the Laws takes the laws high above man.
• What Socrates is trying to establish is that we need to talk about these laws as
though they are above positive laws (humanmade laws) (NATURAL LAWS ARE
SUPRELEGAL TO POSITIVE LAWS).
• By placing them above positive laws, he is making them natural laws.
• They are not the same thing as God; they take the place of God.
• Although he defers to these Laws (Speech of the Laws), he tells them that it is
appropriate to obey some of the laws of Athens.
• He jumps from respect fo