Crito & Apology

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OCT 4, 2010
• 1. In the Apology, Socrates recounts how he disobeyed the unjust order of the Thirty Tyrants to arrest a fellow citizen; he also claims that he will never stop philosophizing, regardless of what the legally constituted political authority commands. Yet, in the Crito, Socrates provides numerous arguments for obeying the decision of the legally constituted political authority, even though the decision (to put Socrates to death) was unjust. Critically assess whether Socrates’s view about political obligation in the two texts is consistent.

In both Crito & Apology Plato presents Socrates’ argues clearly and succinctly. The claims and arguments constructed in the Crito ultimately lead to the conclusion that ‘a failure to persuade ones government, one must diligently obey the orders of the state. Socrates posits that ‘when one has come to a just agreement with another, one should fulfill it’. As a citizen of Athens who as enjoyed the ‘liberties and privilege’ of being Athenian, Soctates has entered into an agreement of obedience in exchange for ‘privilege’. Crito underlines the process of rebuttal, dialogue and reason however the obedience to the state is paramount; Socrates accepts and respects this as just. In Apology, Socrates threatens to disobey a court order to discontinue his philosophizing. Socrates makes a promise disobey an order by the Athenian jury, legally or illegally, if it prevents him from philosophizing. The former position emphasizes and underlines obedience; the latter position expresses direct disobedience. Socrates’ positions in Crito and Apology are irreconcilable, contradictory and mutually exclusive. The position taken in Crito is of complete obedience to the state, is arrived at through three sections of dialogue that offer specific concurrent arguments. In the first section Socrates dismisses a series of arguments put forward by Crito. The arguments concern financial and the...
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