Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Crito and Phaedo

I'll have to read the first two chapters, Euthypro and Apology later. I've finally finished reading Crito and Phaedo. Sometimes I allow distractions and my wandering eye to take my attention away from reading. One reason why I'm don't often read a book, but when the subject interests me I can read away.

Reading Crito was interesting. Socrates was sentenced to death and if you don't know Greek history Socrates death sentence was to drink some hemlock. I'll have to get back to you on his crimes although from what I heard at lecture his only crime was going against the grain of Athenian society. Well like I said more details on that later.

Anyway he was in jail and he had a visitor Crito, who wanted to help him escape. Socrates didn't seem to want to hear it, because he know what he was getting into as an Athenian citizen. He knew that if he was convicted the punishment that would be brought. He also provided a statement that reeked of patriotism. In ancient Greece, that world was dominated by city-states. We hear the most surely about Athens and Sparta.

Anyway he wouldn't hear of it because he respected the laws and customs of his beloved Athens. Leaving Athens would show his lack of regard for the laws of Athens and could damage his reputation. Justice for Socrates was to stay in Athens instead of going into exile because of his love for Athenian society.

Crito's form of justice meant that he must help his friend leave Athens and do what it takes to get him out. Especially spending money and bribing the prison guards. Not using his money would mean that he values money more than his friendship with Socrates.

This brings up another point I took down in class on Thursday. There are several definitions of justice going on here. The first idea is about helping your friends and harming your enemies and the idea Socrates espouses, a social contract of sorts. That to be just you have to respect that laws of the place where you reside. Socrates was indicating that he chose to live in Athens, that he respects Athens, and I would dare say he loves Athens enough to take his punishment. To go into exile would ruin his reputation.

Phaedo I'll have to read again. In that chapter Socrates takes his punishment, death by drinking hemlock. The part I remember vividly was him discussing the sensations he'd feeling. He's cold in his lower limbs and declares that he's been dead when the cold reaches his heart. It was pretty deep.

I'll get back to the first two chapters of these dialogues later. I'm already halfway thru my current ready "Justice" from Plato's Republic.

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