Advertisement

Socrates, the Athenian

  • Jean Roberts
Chapter
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 120)

Abstract

The speech Socrates gives in the Crito, in the voice of the Laws of Athens, although it claims that an Athenian citizen owes absolute obedience to its laws, does not articulate Socrates’ full and considered judgment about his moral obligation to act in accordance with Athenian law. Rather, the speech articulates Socrates’ conception of his legal obligation, an obligation that is, in the broader context of the argument in the Crito,, carefully subordinated to his broader moral obligations. Thus, the otherwise curious feature of Socrates speaking as the Laws of Athens is explained. The Laws are made to describe their understanding of a citizen’s commitment, an understanding that Socrates endorses as such in speaking for them. Nevertheless, just as any other commitment or agreement in Socrates’ view, this one should only be kept as long as doing so does not require doing injustice, a principle enunciated immediately before the speech of the Laws. Since this is not a situation in which Socrates is ordered to do anything unjust, he is bound to obey.

Keywords

Moral Obligation Moral Authority Real Reason Life Worth Living Moral Expertise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography

  1. Allen, R.E. 1980. Socrates and legal obligation,. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  2. Brickhouse, Thomas C., and Nicholas D. Smith. 1989. Socrates on trial,. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, Lesley. 2006. Did Socrates agree to obey the laws of Athens? In Remembering Socrates: Philosophical essays,, ed. Lindsay Judson and Vassilis Karasmanis, 72–87. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Congleton, Ann. 1974. Two kinds of lawlessness. Political Theory, 2: 432–446.Google Scholar
  5. Harte, Verity. 1999. ,Conflicting values in Plato’s Crito,. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie, 81: 117–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hume, David. 1994. Of the original contract. In Political essays,, ed. Knud Haakonssen. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Kraut, Richard. 1984. Socrates and the state,. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Lane, Melissa. 1998. Argument and agreement in Plato’s Crito,. History of Political Thought, 19: 313–330.Google Scholar
  9. Reeve, C.D.C. 1989. Socrates in the apology,. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing.Google Scholar
  10. Vlastos, Gregory. 1974. Socrates on political obedience and disobedience. The Yale Review, 63: 517–534. New Haven.Google Scholar
  11. Weiss, Rosalyn. 1998. Socrates dissatisfied: An analysis of Plato’s Crito,. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations