Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Crito

We are studying a Plato dialog between Socrates and his wealthy friend Crito regarding justice, injustice, and the appropriate response to injustice. 
Brief background: Socrates has been sentenced to death for preaching against the government of Athens.  He is in prison.  Crito, representing those friendly to Socrates, bribes his way in and is offering to get him out, no questions asked.

Socrates responds with a fairly famous argument of why he needs to stay and die.

Socrates thinks that injustice may not be answered with injustice, and refuses Crito's offer to finance his escape from prison.
"Now can there be a worse disgrace than this -- that I should be thought to value money more than the life of a friend? "

Is it more important to agree with the majority or to do what you believe is right?

Issues of justice supersede issues of the body or any thought about one's death.

What would Socrates think of this premise?

Premise: The use of low gas mileages suvs is a luxury, not a necessity

Conclusion: having an suv or a similar luxury car makes us an agent of evil.

Final conclusion: if I want to be a good person, I need to buy a used Geo Metro without air conditioning or even a cd player

Students brainstorm their own premises in small groups, based on the argument of Socrates regarding the state & individual and law & justice.

Is there a social contract?  What covenants and agreements are operate in stable societies? Does the state supersede the individual?
Is justice bigger than law?

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