Analysis of the Crito

Topics: Plato, Morality, Law Pages: 3 (1159 words) Published: April 17, 2008
Analysis of the Crito
The life of Socrates provides one example of someone who seeks a justification for his or her moral actions by living out his convictions even to the point of death. Socrates tries to use reason (rather than the values embedded in his culture) to determine whether an action is right or wrong. The dialogue called the "Crito" contains an image of Socrates trying to adopt what could be called the “moral point of view” (as opposed to the point of view of one's religion or society) when faced with the difficult decision of weather or not to spare his own life. After conviction for teachings against popular opinion, Socrates was sent to the jail where he was to be executed. At that time, a ship was sailing on a sacred mission and no executions were to be performed during its absence. Thus it happened that Socrates was confined to his cell for some 30 days. Two days before the ship was to return, an old friend named Crito came to visit. Crito told Socrates that plans were in place to prepare for his escape and journey to another country. Socrates points out that by escaping, he would be breaking the Laws. And so the practical question in this dialogue becomes: Ought I to break the Laws, even if they are injust? The Argument (48b-54d) The First Premise (48b-49b): ONE OUGHT TO LIVE RIGHTLY. The most important thing is "to live rightly" ("living well" and "living justly" are the same). Would it be right to disobey the laws (to escape from jail) even if they are in and of themselves unjust? Socrates argues that the Laws are more honorable than one's parents, for they too offer structure, educate, and nurture their citizens but have to do so on a larger scale and are therefore held to a higher standard of morality. 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 because the laws are there to govern all people where a parent’s are only meant for the individual...
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