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Author of the book Stuart: A Life Backwards

Philosophical Thinking between Crito and Socrates

Philosophical Thinking between Crito and Socrates


Crito and Socrates are unquestionably one of the most influential ancient philosophers who played a critical role in the inception and development of philosophical concepts (Spector 34). For instance, Crito considered Socrates as one of his best friends and used his arguments to learn a lot of philosophical perspectives. The most interesting relationship between the two is depicted in the Crito, where the incumbent philosopher persuades Socrates to escape from the prison and ran away from Athens.

However, Socrates impersonates the Athenian laws by refusing to flee from the jail. This assertion implies that Socrates operates in political agreement with the state laws. As such, his escape from the prison would only breach of that contract (Crowe 55). The purpose of this paper is to explicate and explain the argument between the two philosophers while assessing and critiquing the laws’ arguments.

An Explanation of the Argument

According to Athman, the dialogue between Socrates and Crito shares a close relationship with the character traits foreseen in the conversation between Apology and Euthyphro (37). The character of Socrates resembles that of Apology and Euthyphro.  The entire conversation demonstrates how Socrates chose to experience difficult circumstances without considering whether they could overcome him.  The Crito lays emphasis on the exact reasons developed by the incumbent philosopher for rejecting to heed to Crito’s advice of escaping from the prison as a way of saving his life. The circumstances were favorable to the extent that Socrates could flee from the jail as requested by his friends but he could not take up that decision leaving the rule of law to take its course.

Socrates present a set of arguments that are intended to change Crito’s mind regarding his plans to smuggle him out of prison and send him to the exile for safety (Spector, 55).  It is, however, more interesting to see Crito also engaging in detailed arguments to convince Socrates.  Practically, Socrates’ friends including Crito fear the death of Socrates due to the feeling that they will be held responsible for having done nothing to safeguard him. Crito convinces Socrates that he shouldn’t be worried about the financial implications of his flee as they are well prepared and willing to pay (Crowe, 78).

As such, they have also prepared a pleasant life in the exile where he would go to hide. Crito presents two different arguments in saving Socrates from the jail: first, he believes that leaving him in prison will be a way of helping his enemies in wronging his long-term friend (Athman, 234). This action would also imply Crito wronging himself. Secondly, Crito Socrates that remaining in jail will lead to his death which would suggest abandoning his sons and leaving them without a father.

According to Crowe, Socrates negates Critos assertions by saying that people should not be worried about the opinion of the public but only listed to the expert and wise advice (89). Socrates implied that Crito needed not to worry about what would happen after his death but focus on behaving well. The incumbent philosopher argues that he would consider escaping from the jail if it is just. As such, he would consider leaving with his friends including Crito to exile. However, Socrates will remain in prison and face death if the decision to escape unfair.

This is the point when Socrates considers introducing the voice of the laws of Athens (Spector 100). These laws are in a deep conversation with him and explain why it is unfair for him to leave the prison.  Socrates argues that breaking one law will mean violating the whole laws governing Athens since all Laws exist as a single entity. For instance, all citizens are bound to each and every section of the law governing his state just as a child is linked to his or her parents. Therefore, going against the Laws would be comparable to striking one’s parent (Athman, 55).

Socrates adds that it would be considerable for him to persuade the law to let him leave the prison rather than simply breaking them and escaping. The existing Laws demonstrate the duty of the citizen to uphold them in the form of a standard social contract between the two (Crowe, 123). The decision to leave Athens would, therefore, imply that such a citizen is indirectly endorsing the Laws; hence he is ready and willing to abide by them strictly.  Socrates has chosen to comply with the guidelines stipulated in this social contract, as he has led a happy life conforming to the Athenian laws for the last 70 years.

Socrates adds that fleeing the prison would make him uncivilized and would see him not received in any other country. Additionally, he would be harshly judged in the underworld upon his death for having violated his city’s laws. At last, Socrates manages to win over Crito that staying in the jail while waiting for His verdict would be better that deciding to escape.

Assessing and Critiquing the Law’s Argument

Socrates chooses to remain in the jail failing to heed to his friend’s plea of leaving Athens to exile. He is convinced with the social contract that he believes that it has been put forth by him and the law. However, the entire argument reveals that he is correct, righteous and would win the case. But would the judges and the existing Athenian laws let him win? Socrates intelligence has failed to allow him to understand the challenges involved in his decision of not fleeing the court (Spector, 33). The rules might be correct, but what of the people bestowed with authority to enforce them?

According to Athman, Any contract that offers terms that are contrary to the fundamental obligations should be considered invalid (65).The assertion that the existing laws share a close association with the relationship between parents and their children are hypothetical. It is easier to question whether a child should keep on following the father’s advice, rules and guidelines even he or she is being misled. Probably, no rational individual would choose to adhere to the notice of the father when he is wrong.

In the same manner, Socrates ought to have breached his acclaimed social contract with the Laws of the City of Athens and fled away for hi security. It is important to put into consideration all the advice one get from the friends due to their significant role in shaping our well-being (Spector, 123). It is, hence, evident that the analog postulating the maintenance of the link and respect between parents and their children does not hold water.


The Crito plays a critical role in the development of philosophy and philosophical arguments by recording the conversation between Socrates and Crito. The setting of this case is in prison in Athens. Socrates appears confined in prison anxiously waiting for this the execution to take its course. However, Crito who is an elderly Athenian, a firm believer in Socrates’ teachings and a long term devoted friend convinces him to escape from the jail. This conversation is taking place at the time when everyone knows that it would be the final destiny of the life of Socrates. As such, it is fallacious for Socrates to refute escaping from the Prison yet he knows that the Athenian Laws, which he claims to be sharing a social contract with, would not set him free.



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