Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Plato: Crito

In this dialogue, Socrates is in his cell waiting execution. His friend Crito visits him and tries to convince him to flee, saying that he can bribe the guards and help him escape. Socrates says that he cannot flee, since he has always obeyed the laws of Athens and he would be a hypocrite if he fled now. He would lose all integrity and respect and his life would mean nothing.

Crito thinks that it is OK to break the law if he considers it unjust. Socrates has adopted a form of a “social contract” with the state of Athens and accepts their judgment. I am inclined to agree with Crito that I would rather rebel against an unjust law rather than sacrafice my life obeying a flawed state. I especially believe this given that democracies are unstable and capricious.

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