January 30, 2014
Arguments on the Crito
In the Crito, Plato introduces several arguments that Socrates makes on whether or not it would be just for him to escape from prison when the Athenians have not acquitted him. Socrates begins by arguing that one must never do wrong. One of the most compelling arguments that he goes on to make is that doing harm to someone is wrong and therefore one must never engage in retaliatory harm. Under certain circumstances, such as self-defense, retaliatory harm is necessary. Socrates also argues that whenever you violate an agreement, you harm the person you made the agreement with. Therefore, escaping is wrong. In this paper, I shall argue that although the arguments support each other and the final conclusion, I do not agree with the argument that Socrates makes about one never doing retaliatory harm.
In the Crito, Plato demonstrates Socrates arguments on whether or not it would be just to escape from prison even though the charges were unjust. Socrates was first sentenced to court on the following political charges: teaching, making the weaker arguments the stronger, and studying the heaven and the earth (Plato page 28:19b). Later on in the trial, Socrates is then charged with corrupting the cities youth and believing in atheism (23d). At the end of the trial, Socrates is found guilty and is sentenced to prison and death. While in prison, Socrates must decide if escaping would be just or unjust. Through the view of Plato, we are given several premises from Socrates that will then lead up to later arguments; one must never do harm, to harm someone is to do wrong, and escaping violates a just agreement. Through these premises, Socrates is able to make a reasonable argument as to why he ought not to escape from prison.
In the Crito, Plato begins by introducing Socrates initial claim that starts his argument. He explains that, “one must never in any way do wrong willingly” (49a). If one is never to
Cited: Cahn, Steven M. "Crito." Classics of Western Philosophy. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2012. 40-46. Print.