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Lecture 3

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2000
Scott Brandon

POLS*2000 Thursday September 19 , 2013 – Lecture #3 Plato’s Crito • Characters: Socrates, Crito, and the Speech of the Laws • Positive Law are laws that are created by people. Human made laws. • Speech of the Laws is a supralegal argument • The main issue of Crito is: Is it just for Socrates to against the laws ofAthens, and flee/escape from Prison. Crito • Long-time friend of Socrates • Awealthy man as he is offering money for Socrates to leaveAthens • Values the opinions of the masses, which is somewhat contradictory to the values that Socrates presents upon society. • Crito can be considered under the category of the opinions of the many, while Socrates would be put under the Experts/Specialists category. The Text • Crito bribes the judge with a sexual favour in order to get in to the prison to visit Socrates. However, Socrates is asleep when he arrives, so he chooses to let him sleep before his execution. • Socrates wakes up, and explains that he had a dream about a beautiful lady that came to him, sort of resembling an event from the Iliad. Plato combined two different passages from the Iliad, and this is important later on. • The dream says on: Socrates on the third day, the boat will arrive in Thea (Which is a part of Thessaly.) • This is significant because it can be interpreted two ways o Achilles had two choices, he could return home and live longer, or go in battle and be killed, but die a hero. o Socrates is confronted with two choices. He could go back to his homeland, “the true fatherland Hades” (Drinking the poison and die), or he could flee to some other Polis (Which would be Thessaly). Die now and secure good reputation by obeying the law ofAthens, or escape from Prison and live a little longer, however go against the law of the state. • Crito tells him that the ship is going to arrive today, and he will be executed the following day. However, Socrates says for a fact that he knows it isn’t going to arrive today, despite the fact that he has been locked within this jail cell for a few days, with no access to this information. It is because of his dream that he believes this knowledge, and also because of his Daimonia, the voice inside of his head that we talked about in Apology. • Crito at this point reveals his reasons for meeting Socrates at this time: Obey what he has to say and flee prison, as Crito does not want to lose his long-time companion. • Crito has three arguments o Socrates has a duty toAthens, as well as his children, to stay alive and raise them. o “Escape Socrates or I will lose a good friend” o Crito’s reputation will suffer because he will be condemned by the many for letting his friend die, when he, and Socrates other friends, had enough money to put forward and allow him to escape. The underlying theme of all three of these arguments are that they are very self-oriented. They all relate back to what is going to happen to Crito. The points that Crito bring forth only relate to his duties to him, not to Socrates duties to the city, which are exactly the only thing that Socrates wants to argue and values as important, since the law of the city is extremely important. • Socrates tells him that he will listen to whatever Crito has to say, but he is only going to consider the best reasons, or basically the ones that only speak the truth, and are rational arguments. Socrates already knows what he is going to say back, and already has his stance on this issue plotted out in his head. Crito is very representable of the opinions of the many, and is mostly concerned with how his reputation is going to be harmed. Crito wants to place Socrates in the opinion of the many, however, Socrates is against this thought. • Crito privileges the opinions of the many over the opinions of the wise/experts. • Socrates argues that the health/life of the soul is important because it is equivalent to a virtuous life, which Socrates holds in the highest value. Good should be striven for, and good actions should be the only actions that should be committed. Vengeance should not happen because somebody has wronged you. • Why should Socrates care about the opinions of the many? He never has until this point • The many people can neither produce the greatest evils, or the greatest goods. That’s why Socrates must choose the good life, which is distinct from the influence of the many. • Crito ridicules Socrates, by saying that his behaviour at the trial was “unmanly”. Crito does not believe in Socrates Daimonia. The first indication is at the beginning when he doesn’t believe Socrates dream. • IF we eliminate the specialists in society, we eliminate knowledge. Socrates believes this only leaves opinion, which is essentially the idea of Democracy, since the majority is deciding things.As we know Socrates is anti-democracy since he values the idea of the Specialists and believes that the normal person shouldn’t make political decisions. • Crito believes that it would be just for him and his friends to help Socrates fleeAthens. Socrates brings up the fact that they might bring harm to him if they help him flee. Crito responds by saying these things are all worth it to save the life of his friend. • Crito is upset, and you can tell this through the language that he uses. He accuses Socrates of being unjust and not manly, due to him abandoning his sons as well as his life. • Socrates could have fled Athens and avoided the whole trial in the first place. • The other thing Crito says is that Socrates should stop philosophizing, and you know that he would never choose to do this while he was alive. Socrates would argue by saying the manliness is not the way of the just. • In terms of his life being on the line, Socrates responds to Crito by saying that it isn’t about living, it is about living well, which includes a life of philosophy and just choices. • Is it Just for Socrates to fleeAthens when he does not have the permission of theAthenians? This is extremely important because HE WAS OFFERED EXILE DURING THE TRIAL, and he chose to not accept it. • One must obey the expert of the just an
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