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POLIS The Journal of the Society for Greek Political Thought

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CRITO IN PLATOS EUTHYDEMUS: THE LOVER OF FAMILY AND OF MONEY Martin J. Plax1
Now I tell you that sophistry is an ancient art, and those men of ancient times who practiced it, fearing the odium it involved, disguised it in a decent dress. . . . But I believe that they did not accomplish any of their designs, for the purposes of their designs did not escape the men of affairs of the city. Plato, Protagoras 316d, 317a

I The Problem of Understanding Crito Who is Crito and of what philosophic significance is he for Plato? Most students of Plato are familiar with him through the dialogue named after him. In that dialogue Crito uses his money to bribe the jail guard in the middle of the night, while Socrates is asleep. He has done so because he wishes Socrates to escape from jail and thus avoid the death penalty. But Crito fails in his mission because Socrates dissuades him from pressing his case by seemingly refuting his opinions about the relationship of the citizen to the laws of the city. Why, therefore, is it necessary to raise the questions? Because Platos Crito continues to be read, and interpreted, as are nearly all Platonic dialogues, as a study of a philosophic problem in which Socrates refutes the opinions of one or more of his conversational companions. In this case, Socrates corrects the opinions of his life-long companion and benefactor. Whether one argues that Socrates opinions about the obligation to obey the law reflect the opinion defended by the laws of Athens or whether one argues that they do not reflect that opinion, there appears to be agreement on one assumption, that Socrates is the standard by which Critos nature, opinions and actions are to be measured and judged. Compared to an Icon, Crito is commonly understood as one of the Many, or an Everyman. In more scholarly language, he represents vulgar, or unironic virtue as opposed to philosophic, or ironic virtue. It is further presumed that philosophic virtue is untouchable by vulgar virtue. Thus, both interpretations share the common assumption that the Crito is a particular case of the study of Otherness. This essay will challenge this familiar understanding of the Platonic character Crito.2 It will demonstrate that Crito, who is both a successful businessman-farmer and a father, and therefore a lover of money and family, is not entirely Other. Rather, he straddles between his philosopher friend and the
1 c/o AJC, 1422 Euclid Ave. #625, Cleveland, Ohio 44115, USA. Email: cleveland@ ajc.org. 2 See my Review Essay, Taking Crito Seriously, Polis, Vol. 16 (1,2), 1999, pp. 8692.

POLIS. Vol. 17. Issues 1 and 2, 2000

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Many. Like the Many, he envies others; but like Socrates, he is envied. As such, his opinions and his actions are more complex than has been appreciated in recent scholarship. This essay will expose that complexity by an analysis of a lesser-known Platonic dialogue entitled Euthydemus. It will also demonstrate that, as characterized in this dialogue, Crito proves to be capable of both understanding Socratic irony and of practicing an irony of his own. Once exposed, it becomes possible to see both Critos practised manner of speaking and the character of his philanthropy. The latter is related to his being strongly affected by the passion of Envy. Crito is a representative of a category of beings in-between the Many and the Philosopher.3 He is a Gentleman (kalos kagathos) and he is present in the Platonic corpus because of Platos interest in exposing the peculiar nature of the Gentleman and his relationship to the philosopher. While a friend of philosophy, Crito is also properly critical of the philosopher. His criticisms are aimed as much as at what Socrates has done as at what he has thought and said. II Critos Presence in Platos Dialogues Crito appears in four dialogues. Three of these the Apology, the Crito and the Phaedo are related to Socrates indictment and trial, his conviction and sentencing and his imprisonment and his being put to death. The fourth is the Euthydemus. Aside from the Crito, it is the only other Platonic dialogue in which Socrates and Crito carry on a sustained conversation. That conversation took place prior to Socrates trial, but since both he and Crito are old men at the time, one can infer that the events reported in the Euthydemus took place close to the time of Socrates trial. One can rightfully expect, therefore, that the conversation with Crito about eristics is related in some way to Socrates indictment and, when studied, prepares the way for new questions about the three more well known dialogues. There is a curious commonality among all four of the dialogues in which Crito appears. In none of them does Socrates ask a question of the form: What is x? If this question signals a philosophic inquiry, then in none of these dialogues is there a philosophic discussion. While in the Phaedo, Socrates does raise serious questions regarding the soul, Crito is not present when these questions are posed. 4 This absence of philosophic inquiry may not be
3 The clearest evidence that Crito is not a representative of the Many is to be found in the Apology. There, Socrates speaks directly to the Many, who convict him and sentence him to death. When the issue of Socrates punishment is raised, three of his friends offered to pay a fine of 30 minae to insure Socrates release from prison Socrates disciple Apollodorus, the philosopher Plato, and Crito. These three men stand in contrast to the Many. In relation to the other two, Crito appears to stand in-between being a disciple and a philosopher. 4 His son, Critobulus, is, however, a listener to these conversations.

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accidental; it may follow necessarily from an understanding of who Crito is, as he is revealed in the Euthydemus. The Euthydemus, when read literally, exposes the scandalous ways in which two teachers of eristic, the art of refutation, exploit the equivocal meanings of words in producing victory. Because it treats eristics in a comic, almost mocking fashion, the Euthydemus seemingly denies the credibility of eristical refutations. But what seems to be the case, may prove to be a form of ironical feigning on the part of Socrates. The comic treatment of eristics in the Euthydemus is a reflection of the low quality of the two brothers abilities. But this fact does not negate the power, or the truth, of eristics. As the dialogue exhibits, there are a variety of eristical techniques. Taken collectively, the goal of eristics is not simply to refute arguments but to change peoples opinions and to dissuade them from taking certain actions. The Euthydemus is a battle between a lover of wisdom and a lover of money, each seeking to dissuade the other from taking certain actions.5 III Crito in the Euthydemus Who is the Platonic Crito? That there was an historical person named Crito is confirmed by the fact that there is a brief biography of him in Book II of Diogenes Laertius Lives of Eminent Philosophers. Among others whose lives are included in that same volume are Socrates and Xenonphon, along with Phaedo, Glaucon, Simmias and Cebes. These last four are also Platonic characters. Diogenes life of Crito is as follows:
Crito was a citizen of Athens. He was most affectionate in his disposition towards Socrates, and took such care of him that none of his wants were left unsupplied. Further, his sons Critobulus, Hermogenes, Epigenes and Ctessipus were pupils of Socrates. Crito too wrote seventeen dialogues, which are extant in one volume. The titles are: One Doesnt Become Good by Learning; On the Meaning of Greed; What is Expedient, or the Politician; On the Noble; On Doing Evil; On Orderliness; On Law; On What Is Divine and What is Not; On the Practical Arts; On Keeping Good Company; On Wisdom; Protagoras, or the Politician; On Grammar; On Making (Producing) Things; On Learning; On Firm Knowledge; What is Knowing a Thing?

Compared with Diogenes treatment of Crito, Platos Crito is not necessarily the historical Crito. Platos Crito never directly indicates that he was the author of anything. Furthermore, of the four dialogues in which Crito appears, only in the Euthydemus does Crito reveal that he has more than one son. There, Crito, a contemporary of Socrates, is an old man and mentions that he
5 Formally speaking, the Crito is also about the dissuasion of Crito, from violating the law that provides for the death penalty.

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has two sons, not four. As the producer of sons and dialogues, Platos Crito is less than, and in this sense, Other than, the historical Crito. How does Crito appear in the Euthydemus? That dialogue consists of two kinds of conversations: those between Crito and Socrates directly and those recalled by Socrates and told to Crito. The latter are conversations he had with the Sophists Euthydemus and his brother Dionysodorus, and about eristic conversations between the brothers and two young Athenians Cleinias and Ctessipus and himself. Structurally, the conversations between Crito and Socrates surround, and divide, the Socratic recollections. In a metaphorical sense, Crito is the father of Socrates narrated speeches. It was he who stimulated Socrates to remember what had been said the day before and to tell him today. It was also Crito who concluded the dialogue. In that final conversation with Socrates, he chastised Socrates for engaging in conversations with the brothers in public. The conversation between Crito and Socrates in the middle of the dialogue begins when Crito interrupts Socrates narrative and explicitly challenges the accuracy of Socrates recollection. Some of what Crito had already heard made him suspicious that Socrates was being ironic. Internally, the narrated conversations are of two kinds. The first are refutations of a relatively innocent young man, Cleinias and one of his admirers, Ctessipus of Paeania,6 by the two teachers of eristic who claim that their art is the key to teaching virtue. The second are arguments by Socrates aimed at persuading Cleinias to pursue virtue by acquiring knowledge through philosophy. In both, Crito is the listener. Socrates internal narratives are introduced to Crito in a curious manner.
How can I relate what happened next? It is no small matter to be able to recall accurately their wisdom. So, like the poets, I must begin my narrative with an invocation to the Muses and Memory ( Mnemosyne ). So Euthydemus began, if I remember correctly, with words something like this. (275d)

Socrates account of eristics is poetic in character. When speaking to Crito about eristics, he will be aided by divine inspiration. His ability to recollect what transpired the day before seems to need assistance. As the Muses aided Homer and Hesiod to sing, Socrates narrative regarding what occurred the day before might be properly judged to be a song, whose words are inspired by something more than the singer alone. To further indicate the shakiness of his memory, Socrates begins with a hesitation if I remember correctly. It would be an error to treat the Socratic account of his encounter with the teachers of eristic as though it were a literal reporting of the art of eristic refutation. This is the presupposition underlying recent insightful and analytically
6 While he has the same name as one of Critos sons, the fact that he is from Paeania reveals that he is not Critos son.

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rich scholarly studies of the Euthydemus.7 These studies treat the recalled eristic speeches in the dialogues as though they were complete and as though they were recalled unironically. The validity of this entire approach can be challenged on still other grounds. Socrates tells Crito he convinced the brothers to compress their display when questioning Cleinias. One is dealing regularly, therefore, with incomplete arguments. Furthermore, the brothers move from directly exploiting the equivocations in words as they are used in daily speaking, to making absurd assertions that do not even depend on equivocations and which are not arguments at all. In the last eristic conversation, they argue as though they have become drunk, but without ever drinking. It would also be an error to accept the alternative interpretation, that because of the illogical evolution of the arguments, one must be totally dependent on ones poetic insight and intuitive understanding in order to penetrate the mysteries of the Euthydemus. It may be true that when a poet sits on a tripod of the Muses, he is not in his right mind,8 but Socrates conversations with Crito are laced with references to historically identifiable places and to certain poets and Sophists. The two friends dont stop to acknowledge the meanings of these persons and places because they are shared memories. Therefore, they can be investigated as reflections of Memory alone, without the aid of the Muses. But we, readers of the dialogue, who do not share their memories, must make an effort to ascertain the meanings they might have for Crito. IV Crito as a Father Who is the Platonic Crito in the Euthydemus?9 First, he is a father, and in more than one sense. The opening words of the dialogue are his, expressed as a question to Socrates that sets the dialogue in motion. In that opening scene he reveals himself as a father of a son who is a concern to him.
Cri: Who was it, Socrates, that you were talking with yesterday at the Lyceum? Why, there was such a crowd standing about you that when I came up in the hope of listening I could hear nothing distinctly. Still, by craning over I got a glimpse, and it appeared to me that it was a stranger with whom you were talking. Who was he?

7 See Thomas Chance, Platos Euthydemus (Berkeley, 1992); R.S.W. Hawtrey, Commentary on Platos Euthydemus (Philadelphia, 1981); R.K. Sprague, Platos Use of Fallacy (New York, 1962), pp. 133. 8 These are the words of the Athenian Stranger in Platos Laws (719). 9 The method of analysis presented here was expressed in Jacob Klein, A Commentary on Platos Meno (Chapel Hill, 1965), Introductory Remarks and in Stanley Rosen, Platos Symposium (New Haven, 1968), Introduction.

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Soc.: Cri:

M.J. PLAX
About which are you asking, Crito? There were two of them, not one.

The man who I mean was sitting next but one to you on your right. Between you was Axiochus boy, and he, Socrates, seemed to me to have grown a great deal, so as to look almost the same age as my Critobulus, who is rather puny, whereas this boy has come on finely, and has a noble air about him. (271a,b)

Critos opening question was apparently stimulated by what he saw rather than what he heard. He saw an older man sitting next to a young man. The youth, whom he recognizes as Axiochus son (he does not mention Cleinias by name), is younger than his son Critobolus. Unlike Critobolus, however, he has become physically well developed and handsome. Seeing the boy, Crito immediately compares him to his own son, whom he described to Socrates as weak and undersized. Given the positive way in which he spoke of Cleinias physique, Critos inquiry seems to have been the expression of disappointment on his own behalf and pity on behalf of his son. At the end of the Euthydemus, Crito exposes the extent of his disappointment about Critobulus to Socrates. It is far more extensive than a simple sadness that his son has not developed physically as he had hoped. Crito passionately expresses doubt about his whole way of life.
When I am in your company, the effect on me is such as to make me feel it is mere madness to have taken ever so many pains in various directions for the good of my sons. First, I married with an eye to them being of very noble birth, on their mothers side. Then, I spent my life making money with such fervor so that they might be as well off as possible, that I have neglected them by neglecting their training. (306d,e)

This is the expression of self-doubt regarding the priorities that have directed a large part of his activities. He has misspent his life because he had the wrong priorities. Evidently he was not of noble birth himself and has devoted his life to transforming his status.10 It sounds as though Crito is complaining that he has lived his life through his aspirations for his children and now may have doubts as to whether it has been entirely worth it. He has doubts, now, about having lived for their benefit and not for his own. Good birth and money have not proven to be sufficient as the proper goods for his sons. Critos message is an equivocal one. On the one hand, he expresses regret that hes been too busy making money to attend to the education of his sons, and in particular, of Critobulus, who does not appear to have developed physically as Crito would have hoped. He now seems to believe that a good education will be the proper corrective to what Crito judges is an error in nature.
10 This would suggest that, at the time he married, class lines in Athens were not unalterably fixed. Crito may have been concerned that Critobolus was unprepared to fare well in the democracy in which they were currently living.

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On the other hand, Critos enthusiasm for being in Socrates company also expresses a sadness that hes wasted a great deal of his life worrying about his sons at all. Perhaps he should have imitated Socrates way of life and not have concerned himself with his sons, or even perhaps his wife. He is experiencing ambivalence about which way of life he should have chosen. If anything, Critos passionate confession is an expression of envy of the Socratic life. At the extremes of the dialogue Crito therefore exposes himself as being reluctant to admit that he is ambivalent about anything. That reticence is consistent with his general reticence about revealing any of his emotions. Socrates narrative provides him with an opportunity to openly and passionately express at least one emotion, and that expression will permit us to penetrate Critos poker face. Critos animated expression of self-doubt at the end of the dialogue was not the first time he openly expressed himself enthusiastically. In the middle of the dialogue, Crito interrupted Socrates account of his conversation with Cleinias. Socrates had been reporting on Cleinias rejection of generalship as the art that will produce happiness. He had noted also that, almost as an aside, Cleinias also rejected geometry, astronomy and calculation. Socrates then praised Cleinias. As though in a response to the praises, Crito boldly interrupted, challenging Socrates memory and asserting that Cleinias could not have made those observations! In effect, Cleinias could not have been able to make such observations. He is too young to be able to know these things. If his first expression of envy of Cleinias was controlled, the second was far more emphatic. Critos momentary expression of enthusiasm is uncharacteristic. Socrates was narrating his conversation with Cleinias in which the two were searching for that art which would produce human happiness. Cleinias had rejected speechmaking in general. He did so because speechmaking can be divided into two parts: speech-writing and speech-delivering. Not all speechwriters are good orators (or rhetors) and not all orators are good speechwriters. The rejection was based on the assumption that happiness requires the unity of production and use. Socrates ironically praised Cleinias for having offered sufficient proof for his rejection. He then tells Crito directly that, for him, the art of the orator is a part of the sorcerers art. Sorcerers charm snakes, tarantulas, scorpions and other beasts and diseases. By implication, orators charm juries, assemblies, crowds, etc. Socrates is indirectly revealing the art required to tame the citizens of a democracy. Having rejected speechmaking, Socrates and Cleinias came to a dead end. They are rescued by a Socratic inspiration Generalship or Strategy is the art that produces happiness! Cleinias is quick to reject this, too. Generalship, per Cleinias, is a species of hunting men, so generals, qua generals, too fail to meet the criterion of self-sufficiency. Cleinias argues that hunters and

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fisherman turn their catches over to caterers (or cooks, who prepare the catch to be eaten), just as geometers, astronomers and calculators, at least those who are not foolish, turn their discoveries over to dialecticians to use properly. Socrates calls Cleinias handsome and ingenious. Encouraged by the praise, the young man continues. When generals have successfully captured a city or an army they turn it over to politicians, just as quail-hunters hand birds to quail-keepers. On hearing this, Crito bursts out:
Crito: Socrates: Crito: What you are saying, Socrates? Such was said by that boy? You dont believe it was he, Crito? By Zeus, I dont. I am absolutely certain that if he did, he would not need an education from Euthydemus or any other human being! Then, by the gods, perhaps it was Ctessipus, and my memory fails me. Ctessipus indeed!

Socrates: Crito:

Quite uncharacteristically, Crito challenges Socrates. He doesnt ask, in a quiet way, if Socrates is certain it was Cleinias who said it. Rather, he is adamant in his expression of incredulity. When Socrates responds with a question about Critos belief, Crito answers firmly and affirms his certitude by swearing by Zeus. As though mocking Crito, Socrates, curiously, answers an oath with an oath of his own. Crito, however, is not convinced that Socrates claim that his memory failed him was serious. In other words, Crito is not unaware of Socratic irony. Socrates recognizes that Crito, in expressing himself so directly and forcefully, was acting out of character. After then eliminating both Euthydemus and Dionysodorus as sources of the statements, Socrates addresses Crito in a surprising manner:
Socrates: Tell me, daimonic Crito, was there a superior power that was there to speak? For that speech I heard, I am sure.

It is unlike Crito to challenge Socrates. Something mysterious must be moving him to do so.11 Recognizing that he has revealed more of himself that he might wish, Crito retreats to his sober self. He drops his quest for the author of Socrates account, asking Socrates what art, that is, what human invention satisfies both the conditions of making and using properly.

11 This parry to Critos thrust also affirms that Socrates narrative is a product of the Muse, not of Memory.

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CRITO IN PLATOS EUTHYDEMUS V Critos Envy

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What was it that prompted Crito to lose control, even if only for a moment? Critos guarded nature make a direct answer impossible to ascertain. But it can be inferred from an explosive encounter in which Ctessipus (who may be a possible rival of Critobulus for the affections of Cleinias) expressed his indignation towards Dionysodorus. Socrates account of Ctessipus emphatic accusation of Dionysodorus exposes an ambivalence in Ctessipus that provides an indirect clue to a certain unexpressed ambivalence that Crito has about his own son, Critobolus. After refuting Cleinias on the question of who a knower is, the wise or the ignorant, Dionysodorus asked Socrates whether he wants Cleinias to be wise, that is, not unwise. Socrates agrees. Dionysodorus then asks whether Cleinias is wise yet. Socrates says no. Dionysodorus then concludes, So you wish him to be what he is not and to be no longer what he is now. (283e) Socrates, pausing in his narrative to speak directly to Crito, admits he was confused. He then reports that Dionysodorus seized that moment, and exploiting the equivocal meanings of being (living or having a certain condition) and not-being (dead or having a different condition, in this instance wise), drives home the following conclusion: Since you want him to be no longer what he is now, you wish him, apparently, to be dead. (283e) Ctessipus indignantly objected to the implication of this equivocation. It clearly reflects badly on him and on his reputation, especially with Cleinias. He threatens Dionysodorus, reminding him that he is not a citizen, but a visitor to Athens, calling him stranger from Thurii. Ctessipus then accuses Dionysodorus of speaking falsely about him when concluding that he, Ctessipus, wishes for the death of Cleinias. He charges the brothers with being uncaring about love; they are cold towards eros. But before he expressed a desire for revenge, he hesitated, excusing himself on the grounds that it would be too rude and impious to express it. Ctessipus might have simply laughed at the ridiculous nature of Dionysodorus inference and ridiculed it. But he did not. What stimulated Ctessipus indignation? Ctessipus was not angry at simply being falsely accused. His expression of indignation reveals ambivalence by Ctessipus towards Cleinias. Dionysodorus ridiculous conclusion exposed Ctessipus equivocal admiration for his beloved. What appears to have been a ridiculous logical jump by Dionysodorus, proved to be, in reality, an insightful psychological revelation. What did Ctessipus indignation cover up? That one who is a beloved is not just pursued, but envied by the lover for being so beautiful. The lover not only knows that he (or she) is the less beautiful. This knowledge makes the lover feel inferior and compels him to wish that his beloved would be the pursuer instead. Because Ctessipus feels inferior to Cleinias in beauty, he gets

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pleasure, albeit a secret, impious pleasure, in contemplating Cleinias beauty to perish!12 Envy stems from our capacity to make comparisons. Making comparisons, humans become competitive and wish to attain superiority. But not all comparisons are true comparisons. People make imaginary ones every day. Most often, these imaginary comparisons affirm ones own feeling of inferiority and ones desire to feel superior. Thus, imaginary comparisons make it easy to conclude that what is mine is the best. Only when these imaginary claims of superiority are challenged is the person compelled to consider whether the self-affirming conclusion of a comparison is a misjudgment or not. When compelled to conclude that what is ones own is inferior, the person is inclined to wish that what is his or her own would be other than what it presently is. People are also likely to become indignant (thymotic). Envy, however, can also give rise to pleasure. In the Philebus (48b), Socrates tells his companion, Protarchus, that the envious will come to light as taking pleasure in the evils of his neighbors. Envy, which can be easily hidden, will be exposed when the person envied suffers in some way. Crito, the envious father, has no doubt been taking pleasure in listening to the way Cleinias has been suffering at the hands of the two brothers, even though he does not express it to Socrates. As he does with other matters, Crito withholds expression of his emotions. It would not be honourable to do so. He might also be taking secret pleasure, on behalf of his son Critobolus, in the thought of the handsome Cleinias being dead. What can be said, therefore, of Critos feelings towards his son, Critobolus? Envy is often accompanied by self-pity. So it is likely that on seeing Cleinias, Crito also experienced feelings of shame and fear that his son, and by extension, himself and his wife, will be silently laughed at. In the Crito, he acknowledges that he is concerned with the opinion of the Many. It would not be a surprise if Crito believes that Critobulus small size reflects badly on him, and on his wife. There is no question that Crito loves his son. But having made the comparison with Cleinias, he was likely to secretly harbour his own wish that Critobulus be other than he presently is. Dionysodorus bold assertion that anyone who wishes for a beloved one to be other than he presently is wishes that the beloved one be dead exposed a painful truth about Critos relationship with his son Critobulus. The wish, even if it remained unspoken, could hardly be anything but embarrassing for a father, especially for someone so sensitive to the opinions of the Many. Indignant, if not painfully guilty, at his own impious wish, Crito underwent a momentary emotional change, that was
12 The threat to Socrates from his formal accusers will come from defenders of the city, whose thymos is directed at Socrates in the same fashion that Ctessipus defends Cleinias indignation by any hint that what is loved is being attacked and is being threatened with destruction. This analysis may suggest that they are similarly ambivalent, in this case, about the city and about the gods of the city.

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made manifest in his emphatic expression of incredulity about who it was who uttered the denial of the absolute goodness of productions of generals, geometers, astronomers and calculators. Envy, therefore, was the stimulant that initiated the second (middle) discussion Crito had with Socrates. In that middle conversation between Crito and Socrates, Crito appears interested in finding out whether Socrates and Cleinias were able to identify that art which produces human happiness. But Crito knows that Socrates has not been truthful with him, so he is likely suspicious about anything that Socrates will tell him. In response to Critos question, Socrates in effect says, Dont be silly, we didnt even get close to an answer. For having asked the question Crito is jokingly referred to as innocent (makarie). Socrates reports that he and Cleinias failed in their quest to find the art that satisfies both the requirements of production and proper use of what is produced. Each time they thought they had the answer, they discovered it was not correct. The answers, Socrates tells Crito, were like crested larks that seem to escape the grasp of children running after them. Socrates metaphor implies that the inquiry made by Cleinias and him was not truly artful, but random, like children running after any bird they believe they can catch. In other words, they seem to have grasped at whatever came up. This method has the same character as that used by the brothers, for which they will be criticized later, when Crito reports to Socrates a conversation he had with someone who had also been present at yesterdays conversations. Socrates does not offer to repeat the entire process of questioning. What need is there to tell the story at length? By the time we reached our examination of the Kingly Art . . . we were as though in a labyrinth. Since he fails to repeat for Crito why each of them was rejected, one can only infer what Socrates and Cleinias talked about. What topics did Socrates take for granted that Crito recognized and understood without being explicitly reminded? Socrates relates he and Cleinias took up the subject of the Political Art and took the view that this art and the Kingly (basilike) Art, or the Art of the King, implies the Art of Ruling by One Man. (It is not evident whether they dismissed all other forms of rule out of hand or whether they explored each and rejected all of them, except Monarchy.) In the course of describing how he and Cleinias searched for the Ruling Art, Socrates made use of three words that later became part of the philosophic vocabulary telos, arche and eudaimonia. Since Socrates is conversing on this subject with a young man who is unfamiliar with philosophy, he cannot have meant these terms as abstract philosophic concepts, but instead, as they would be familiar to anyone in daily speech. Greater light is shed on the meaning of these words by considering that Cleinias can be translated as famous, in contrast to his father, whose name

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Axiochus, can be translated as sufficient or satisfactory. Cleinias name reveals the core of his character. He is ambitious, suggesting that the three words should be understood as relating to that ambition. Crito, who is a successful entrepreneur, also likely interprets these words in light of his own ambition, even if he does not expressly reveal himself as politically ambitious. Eudaimonia can mean happiness but ordinarily means prosperity. Telos can mean complete or perfect, but ordinarily means accomplished or perfect in his kind. Arche, refers to first principles, but when used in speaking about politics, can mean realm or form of government, or present government.13 Crito would have therefore understood that Socrates and Cleinias were searching for the perfect form of government. What would that mean? As a successful entrepreneur, Crito would have understood Socrates to be saying that he and Cleinias were trying to determine which kind of Ruler would produce the greatest prosperity. Socrates tells Crito that he and Cleinias examined the political art as the source of right conduct (orthos prattein), precisely as Aeschylus line expresses it, seated alone at the helm of the city, steering the whole, commanding the whole, and making the whole useful. Socrates neither mentions the name of the play, nor does he quote the line precisely. The proper quote is: Whoever is at the helm of the city keeps watch upon affairs, guiding the tiller without resting his eyelids in sleep. Neither does Socrates indicate that it is the opening line of Seven Against Thebes. He fails to identify the fact that the statement was made by the King of Thebes, Eteocles. Socrates is also silent about the fact that the words were uttered at the opening of a play that reveals the ravages of a fratricidal civil war, in which family justice opposes political justice. Nor does Socrates reveal that Eteocles is the son of Oedipus, the parricide and tyrant. Oedipus, who is both the father of his sons and their brother, is the model of equivocation. Perhaps Critos relationship with his son is equivocal in yet another sense. He is as much a brother to his son as he is a father. In other words, his Paternal Authority may be compromised by Critos attempt to get close to his son as a buddy. Eteocles is a general and a king who is defending his own territory from attack, by his brother. The play therefore reveals a defect in Cleinias description of the general. In some cases, generals, especially those who are also kings, are not simply hunters; they can also become the hunted. Eteocles might have avoided becoming the hunted if he had properly judged his brother Polyneices ambition. Rather than dealing with his brother politically and sharing the monarchy as had been agreed to, he offered to give
13 The word arche is also the root of the ancient Athenian post of archon. The Platonic dialogue Euthyphro takes place on the porch of the Archon.

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his brother an economic solution instead. In effect, he acted as though political ambition could be treated as a matter of doing business, that is, as simply a matter of money. His effort failed and intensified the civil conflict. The desire to rule politically cannot be satisfied by wealth. Wealth, in terms of money, is not the goal of the politically ambitious and offers of money only intensify the envy that the aspirant has towards the ruler. Why would Socrates introduce this issue in such an indirect way? Is Critos household in a state of civil war? Is it possible that Critobolus has become contemptuous towards his father? Crito did later admit that he had been too busy making money to educate his son. Crito may have erred by trying to dissipate his sons contempt with money. This philanthropy towards his son might also help assuage whatever negative feelings he would have towards Critobulus poor physical condition. Sensitive to both his own inferiority and his fathers compensating action, Critobulus would predictably be contemptuous towards Crito. Socrates seems to be inviting Crito to further learn that wealth cannot be a satisfactory ground of Paternal Authority. VI Crito as a Farmer and Lover of Money In the middle discussion with Crito, Socrates also indicates that Crito is a farmer. But given that he has the leisure to come to the Lyceum, it is clear that he does not work the land by himself. He is not a subsistence farmer, but rather, is what one might today call a commercial farmer. Since he is identified later as being excessively interested in making money, it is reasonable to infer that Crito is what would today be called a businessman or entrepreneur. This is significant for the discussion of the subject of Generalship or Strategy, along with the subject of happiness. Crito, as a commercial farmer, would readily have inferred that the discussion of the wealth-producing city was one that involved a discussion of the production of a policy of building an Empire. Furthermore, since Socrates also told Crito that happiness requires not just production but also proper use, then it is also likely that he and Cleinias discussed the goodness of the Athenian Empire. For Crito, the Economists Art or the Art of Household Management, is what defines the Ruling Art. The polity is the household writ large. Crito had uncharacteristically challenged Socrates account of his discussion with Cleinias when the subject of Generalship or Strategy as the Ruling Art was considered and rejected. What would have made Crito so sensitive? In addition to being envious of Cleinias physical attractiveness, Crito could easily have inferred that the discussion considered politicians like Pericles, and generals like Alcibiades, Cleinias grandfather; that is, the Peloponnesian War and its effects on Athens. As a commercial farmer, Crito may well have also sold food to supply Athenian military and naval personnel. Just as profit for the entrepreneur means expansion of business, Crito would have had good

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economic reasons to support any political action that would have meant expansion of the Athenian hegemony. Having laid the groundwork for a discussion of this topic, Socrates continued his narrative about the direction of his conversation with Cleinias. Later we considered whether the Ruling Art (the Kingly Art) that rules over all, produces any thing or not. He tells Crito they agreed it did and then asked Crito if he agreed. He did. Crito is then asked by Socrates what the effect, that is, product, of the Ruling Art is. In order to help him answer, Socrates offers two examples of arts that do have products: medicine and farming. If the physicians end is to produce health and the farmers is to produce food, what does the Ruling Art produce? Socrates, again, forecloses on any answer Crito could provide by suggesting that perhaps he is not ready to answer. Crito grabs the opportunity not to answer. But he responds, again, with an oath: No, by Zeus, Socrates! This dramatic response is a signal that Crito is embarrassed. When Socrates says . . . this much you know, that if this is really the one (art) we are searching for, it must be useful (ophelimon), Crito answers: Certainly. When Socrates asks: then it must provide some good? Crito responds, Necessarily. The good follows necessarily from the useful or beneficial. Since ophelimon, which can mean useful or beneficial can also mean profitable, Crito is likely to have understood the question of not just producing food, but selling it and making money. What was unsaid, by either Socrates or Crito, and therefore remains unexamined, is whether the art of household management, that is, the art of money-making, is an art that is the same as, or different from, the arts of medicine and farming. Whatever may be the case,14 Critos political judgment may have been flawed. When Crito, in his first discussion with Socrates, learned that there were two men and they were Sophists, he asked where they were from. Socrates responded with two answers. They were born, he believed, on Chios, but they most recently came from Thurii, from where they had been exiled. Chios is the alleged birthplace of Homer. But the brothers did not remain there. But also mentioned is Thurii. What is the significance of that location for Crito? Since he and Socrates discussed the political art in their second conversation, it is not unreasonable to assume that Thurii is of political significance to Crito personally. Socrates was familiar with the brothers. They had been in Athens before going to Thurii. Socrates described them as Pancratists (all-around fighters), differentiated from the two brothers from Acarnania, who fight with their bodies only (271c). There is nothing Socrates says anywhere else that gives the reader a clue as to why he made the contrast. But because of that, it is evident that Socrates is speaking to Crito about something Crito understands,
14

This issue will be examined in a forthcoming essay.

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even if no one other than Crito understands what he is referring to. In other words, there are some parts of the discussion between the two men that are private but may not be unknown to Critos contemporaries. A contemporary reader is therefore compelled to search for the significance of this comment outside of the dialogues. Crito offers no evidence that he is familiar with the brothers or that Thurii means anything to him. This does not mean that he had no interest in the references to Thurii and to the Acarnanians. Having revealed how cautious Crito is about exposing his emotions about anything, one might not be surprised. It would be reasonable, therefore, to suspect that his reference to both is of significance to Crito. Thurii was an Athenian colony in Italy and played a role in the Peloponnesian War. The word Thurii means New Town.15 It was an Athenian colony founded after an indigenous population, the Sybarites, invited the Athenians to help them rebuild after they had been defeated by a neighbour, Croton. The Sybarites asked the Athenians to supply settlers to increase their population. Pericles was able to create a Pan-Hellenic colony, composed of settlers from various parts of Greece, including people from Chios. He provided also for the creation of a new constitution by enlisting the aid of the Sophist Protagoras. According to Aristotle (in the Politics), the regime was unstable. Thurii is cited as an example of a regime that decayed into factional conflict due to dissimilarity of stock. This occurred twice in the history of the city, both times over the question of which people should rule the city as a result of having been among its founding members. Instead of assimilating into one community, the founding fathers remained identified by the cities of their birth (1303a29-31). Aristotle also reports on civil conflicts arising due to an improper balance of power between the economic classes and age groups. The wealthy distributed public offices on the basis of the ability to pay taxes and they bought all the available land of the city. Furthermore, when younger generals were prevented, by law, from being elected, as generals, for more than five years, they rebelled. Successful in pressing for the overturning of this law, they pressed for changes in many other parts of the law (1307a5-30). Aside from the error he admitted regarding his marriage, Crito also appears to have made a political error, one that Socrates knows, but fails to press Crito to openly admit. Ironically, Socrates seems purposefully trying to prevent him from doing so. Socrates achieves this by cutting Crito off before he ever has a chance to respond to any questions Socrates poses. It is as though confessions of past errors are not what Socrates is seeking. It was not the actual error in the policies he supported that is at issue for Socrates, but the assumptions on which
15 The account of Thurii was found in Donald Kagan, The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War (Ithaca, NY, 1969), Chapter 9.

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the errors were made. To discern those assumptions, it will be necessary to return to the start of the discussion between Socrates and Cleinias about the Kingly Art. Socrates reports that he and Cleinias reached the Kingly Art and tried to ascertain if this art provides and produces happiness (eudaimonia). But the quest advanced nowhere; each time they returned to the beginning. In other words, they came back to the assumption that the Political and the Kingly Art are the same. Socrates and Cleinias arrived at this assumption by adopting the position of the status of the various arts in a democracy that had been expressed by Socrates, in the Protagoras (319 c,d). In that dialogue, Socrates observed that, in a democracy, the opinions of those skilled in such arts as medicine are given deference when issues arise for which the knowledge of medicine is necessary to solve the problem. The same is not the case when political questions arise. When questions of policy are debated, no one is recognized as having a superior level of knowledge. On the basis of this observation, he concluded that in a democracy there is no recognition of the existence of a Political Art. Yet Socrates indicates to Crito that he and Cleinias continued to search for the political art. He cites two examples of arts that produce some effect: medicine and farming. He gets Crito to agree that medicine produces health and that farming produces food. Having provided answers to his own questions regarding medicine and farming, Socrates next turns to the political art itself.
Soc. And what of the Kings Art? In ruling over all that comes under its rule, what does it produce? Perhaps you are not quite ready with the answer. I am not, by God (Dia), Socrates.

Cri.

Again Crito responds with an oath. Is he embarrassed that he has no answer or is he relieved that he doesnt have to provide one?
Soc. Nor were we, Crito. Yet you know that if this is really the one we are seeking it must be beneficial.

But what could be embarrassing? Is it that Crito really does not have an answer, or is the answer he had in mind embarrassing? Is it not likely that Crito would have said that the product, or the end, of the political art is the Laws or Justice? As a commercial farmer, Crito had to deal with his fellow farmers in the course of commercial competition. Some of these farmers were Imperialists. Some may have contested the boundaries of their neighbours properties in an effort to acquire more land for themselves. Others may have grazed their cattle on their neighbours property. Still others may have prevented a neighbour from having access to water by diverting it. Some may have poisoned the

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water that they did allow to flow on their neighbours property (Laws 885). As much as he might have wished that the laws of the city were to define Justice as minding your own business, in reality Crito knew from experience that Justice more closely approximated the idea of giving what is owed. This latter principle is the key to Critos philanthropy towards his life-long friend Socrates. In the Crito he exhibits it by his willingness to take the risk of coming to the jail, bribing the jail guard, and trying to convince Socrates to escape. But does Crito reveal any similar inclination towards philanthropy in the Euthydemus? VII What is Ones Own? Socrates final narrative of his encounter with the brothers is a report of how they defeated him. That defeat had been initiated with a discussion of what is ones own and with recognizing wisdom as ones own. This concluded the subject, begun at the start of the dialogue, of what it means to know. (Knowing and who is a Knower started the dialogue.) But it ended, not as it started, but by considering who is an Owner and what can be owned. Socrates tells Crito that the issue closing the discussion with the brothers was whether Socrates can sell or sacrifice his Zeus (who is, ironically, the protector of oaths). The topic is the Olympian gods. By exploiting the equivocal meanings of zoa (living being or animal) and psyche (soul or life), Dionysodorus got Socrates to agree that gods are like mere animals. Dionysodorus then asked Socrates:
Are these gods (Zeus, Apollo and Hera) living beings? You admitted that what has psyche (life) is a living being (animal). Or do the gods have no psyche?

If the opposite of zoa is not-living, then it is possible to interpret not-living as dead or not being. In effect, Socrates agreed that man is the master of the gods and not the reverse (302d-303b). Thus, Socrates agreed, in public, that the gods might not exist. Socrates, therefore, was forced to agree, in public, with the Sophist Protagoras. Having done this, Socrates admitted defeat. Socrates defeat was not simply a matter of having lost a meaningless debate. What Socrates agreed to in public will prove to be the grounds of the charges against him by his accusers. The defeat of Socrates in the Euthydemus presages his being charged in court. VIII Critos Cautiousness Overcome Only after Socrates has recalled his defeat does Crito truly reveal himself. He does so, ironically, by mimicking Socrates. He does so by providing a recollection of his own. He tells Socrates of an encounter he had with a third person

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while I was taking a stroll before he approached Socrates with the question that opened the dialogue. The man referred to by Crito had asked him whether he had learned anything from yesterdays demonstration by Euthydemus and Dionysodorus.16 Crito strongly denied it with, God No! Crito then reports to Socrates that he told the man that it was impossible for him to hear anything, since the crowd around the discussants was too large. Crito repeats to Socrates now what he told Socrates at the start of their conversation at the beginning of the dialogue. How trustworthy is this repetition? The strength of Critos rejection, with the oath, must raise the suspicion that either he took his cue from the mocking tone of the questioner, or he actually did hear what the brothers were saying but did not want anyone to know. The man then, tongue-in-cheek, praised the brothers as the best among those who were teaching at this time. But he then demeaned the brothers, says Crito, for making inconsequential ado about matters of no consequence, . . . (or) . . . something like that (304e) (italics mine). Crito is demonstrating the he, too, can give a poetic recollection. One can imagine Crito smiling behind his poker face and thinking to himself, Two can play the game of having faulty memories! Socrates seems less interested in Crito than he is with the nameless speechmaker. He asks, what kind of speechmaker is this man? Is he an orator or a speechwriter? Crito answers that he is a speechwriter, but he responds as though he were surprised by the question. He swears by god (Dia) that the man is not an orator (rhetor). He does not speak in court, nor has he ever tried a case. But the man has a good reputation for knowing about things in general (pragmata), by god! for being clever at turning out speeches in the courts, involving public crimes (dikasteria). According to Crito, this nameless man considers himself wise. Crito further tells Socrates that the nameless speechwriter has a reputation for exciting people by his work, by God! What is all the swearing on Critos part about? It appears to be Critos way of preventing Socrates from asking him to name the speechwriter. In fact, Crito stops swearing as soon as Socrates changes the subject, thereby indicating that he will not ask Crito for the persons name. Relieved of the concern of exposing his source, Crito tells Socrates that the speechwriter told him that Euthydemus and Dionysodorus were careless in the way they created their arguments. He also asserted to Crito that philosophy is useless. Crito reports to Socrates that he made a mild defence of the brothers by saying, philosophy is something charming. His one-phrase defence is met with an attack on himself by the speechwriter. Crito tells
16 Would the man have asked about Crito becoming a student of the brothers had he not had some reason to believe that Crito did hear what was taking place? That he saw Crito there is evident. But where did he see Crito standing? It must not have been obvious, to him at least, that Crito could not have heard yesterdays conversations.

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Socrates that the nameless man responded with, You foolish innocent (makarie). In admitting to Socrates what the nameless speechwriter said of him, Crito, in effect, exposed himself in a self-effacing manner that is yet another reflection of Socratic irony his self-deprecating innocence. After having exposed himself as an innocent, Crito then reports to Socrates that the man was also critical of Socrates for having held a discussion with the brothers. The nameless man criticized Socrates for conversing with the bothers, since they do not care what they say, but fasten on to any phrase that turns up. As practised by Euthydemus and Dionysodorus, eristic is a knack rather than an art. The nameless speechwriter is far more critical of the brothers than he is of Socrates. Crito then chastises Socrates himself, saying that Socrates should not have spoken with the brothers in public. As Crito reports the conversation, the criticism expressed by the speechwriter is equally critical of both the brothers and Socrates. He is indifferent as to whether Socrates conversed in private or in public. The political implication of Socrates conversation is not the crux of his criticism. But it is the crux of Critos criticism. Critos concerns are the result of his sensitivity to matters political. While sounding as though it was merely a copy or image of that of the speechwriter, Critos criticism is directed only to Socrates. It is, in reality, an accusation against Socrates. Critos criticism is not of what Socrates said, but what he said in public. It is a criticism of Socrates imprudence. Since Socrates did not resist the conclusion that was drawn by the brothers, Crito rightfully assumed that Socrates was being ironic. Therefore he is critical of Socrates for being ironic in a circumstance that will prove harmful politically. IX Critos Philanthropy Critos accusation of Socrates imprudence is, in effect, a demonstration of Critos philanthropy. He came to warn Socrates of his error and the vulnerability he has opened himself to. This is the other reason he appealed to Socrates to recollect what took place at the start of the dialogue. But, as all of Critos actions, this one is also not expressed boldly. He neither exhorts Socrates to refrain from further public displays of this nature, nor does he chastise Socrates in public. He only chastises Socrates, in private, after he has heard, from Socrates himself, what Socrates expressed in public. Crito was able to anticipate the problem for Socrates precisely because he was sensitive to the opinion of the Many. Socrates failure, in Critos eyes, is that he ignored the opinion of the Many in encouraging the young, by exhortation and by deed, to study eristics. In other words, Critos accusation against Socrates is that Socrates was being apolitical and by being so, was putting himself at risk. If the Apology provides any clue of this, Socrates admits to being inattentive to the change that has taken place in the Athenian demos.

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What was harmless slander against him, initiated by Aristophanes, is no longer harmless. Socrates apolitical tendency is of concern to Crito. Crito appears to sense that the Many is no longer constrained by shame and believes it is free to exercise its resentment against those whom it judges superior men like Socrates and men like himself, who are successful entrepreneurs and who are wealthy.17 But the envy of the Many of Socrates is not the same kind of envy of men like Crito. A clue to his concerns may be found in another conversation that Socrates had about moneymaking with yet another nameless interlocutor. In the Hipparchus, Socrates speaks with a nameless interlocutor about profiteering. The interlocutor is not a disinterested party to the conversation. By his remarks, he proves to be someone who believes someone interested in making a profit has defrauded him. He is, in effect, an accuser of the wealthy and calls them wicked, villainous and shameless. Crito, therefore, must adjust his public persona to contain the harmful possible effects of that envy. How does Crito shape that persona? He speaks indirectly to any subject in dispute. Sensitive to how negatively people respond to being refuted, he avoids engaging in discussions that will require him to refute others and give them reason to seek revenge. It is better to concede. It is better to be refuted than to refute! This strategy partially accounts for the reason he rejects eristic. He tells Socrates that he would rather be refuted than refute this way. He wishes to confirm that he is not shameless and that he is also not an unscrupulous lover of victory at any price. Men like Crito, however, are not above using their money to achieve their ends. In the Crito he admits to using his money to bribe the jail guard in an effort to free Socrates. Successful entrepreneurs may not be above bribery. Those who are unscrupulous in business may use bribery in public by performing public sacrifices and prayer. This is a kind of bribery of the gods. But they may make public bribes as a way of covering up private bribes, as when some men use their money to bribe juries. They recognize that if they engage in sacrifices to the gods and are seen doing so, they can support their claims in court by pointing to their piety. Crito may not necessarily have been unscrupulous in business, but he was certainly aware of the necessity of using his money for philanthropic displays, both to the gods and to the City. One can infer that philanthropy is not an unalloyed act of altruism. It is an equivocal action, grounded in both good will and in the need to quiet the envy of the Many.

17 See Critos reference to, and expression of concern about, the Sycophants in the Crito. In the Republic (575b), sycophants are associates of the tyrant. In the Laws (745a) the Athenian Stranger notes that profits are expected to be given to the city and that if sycophants inform on those who have not shared their profits with the city, the informers get half of the money collected.

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Critos philanthropy is of a different nature. He has come to alert Socrates of the error he has made and the risk he has taken, merely for having engaged Euthydemus and Dionysodorus in public. Were Socrates all-knowing, the untouchable Icon that he has been made into by current scholarship, one might suspect that this act of philanthropy was unnecessary because Critos judgment was incorrect. But Socrates has already indicated his own vulnerability to Crito. It is related to his age. Prior to relating to Crito what the various conversations were, Socrates informed him that, as he was about to leave the Lyceum, he received a sign from his daimon not to go. So he stayed seated where he was. Soon afterwards, Cleinias entered the room in which he was seated and joined him. Shortly after that Euthydemus and Dionysodorus engaged both of them and the conversations began. Traditionally, Socrates claimed that his daimon kept him from harm. Prior to meeting the brothers, there was no threat to his self-preservation. Nor was Socrates about to engage in any unjust action, which the daimonic sign would have prevented him from doing. Since his speaking and praising eristic in public was an error in judgement, and subsequently dangerous, Socrates daimon, likely for the first time, failed to prevent harm from coming to him. Socrates also may have actually engaged in an unjust action, by revealing to the young men who were listening his final admission regarding the ability of men to control the gods. His daimon having failed him, he is vulnerable. Perhaps for the first time, Socrates experienced the decay of his divinely inspired capacity for self-preservation. Socrates knew that his age was making him vulnerable. It was time to die.18 In the first discussion with Crito, Socrates reported that he had taken up the study of the harp. Crito wondered why, given that he is growing old and his capacities for learning are weakening. For one who is unmusical, why would Socrates have engaged in such an activity? At Phaedo 60a and 64a, Socrates mentions a recurrent dream advising him to make music and describes philosophers as preparing for death. So Socrates recognizes that he is about to die. In other words, he already knew what Crito criticized him for doing. He already knew the risk he was taking by talking with the brothers in public. Sensitive to the problem, Socrates allowed Critos philanthropic desires to be fulfilled. It was a sign of Socrates own philanthropy.

18 In the Crito, Socrates will argue that one ought not to be concerned with dying. But this argument is inconsistent with the end or goal of his daimon. If death is not something to avoid, why did the daimon warn him in other instances? Furthermore, also in the Crito, Socrates tells Crito about a dream he was having about the timing of his death. It would seem that the dream is a substitute for Socrates daimon. The dream actually permits the dialogue to take place.

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M.J. PLAX X Critos Understanding of Philosophy

What is it that attracted Crito to Socrates? Was it merely a personal relationship, or did Crito have an interest in philosophy? As an entrepreneur, why would he have an interest in philosophy? The answer is revealed in the narrative that he relates to Socrates about his discussion with the nameless speechwriter. In Critos narrative of his discussion with the nameless speechwriter, he told Socrates that the man had criticized the brothers and then asserted that philosophy was useless. What did he mean by philosophy? First, he was suggesting that philosophy, if it had any merit, must be useful. Second, he included the brothers as among philosophers. In other words, for the nameless speechwriter, philosophy included eristic! In truth, his criticism of philosophy is really the criticism of eristic, since he elided philosophy and eristic. Crito did the same thing. In coming to the defence of philosophy, he was really coming to the defence of eristic. When Crito said of philosophy, it is charming, what did he mean? The word charming had been used by Cleinias to refer to orators or rhetoricians. These men charm or tame a variety of beasts. This is what Crito understood as the goal of philosophy. It is the same as the goal of rhetoric. In effect, Crito silently accepted the elision of philosophy and eristic. He defended philosophy to the nameless speechwriter because philosophy is useful. Philosophy is indistinguishable from eristic for Crito because he has accepted the view of philosophy as articulated by the Sophist Protagoras. At Protagoras 318e319, the Sophist Protagoras reveals that he teaches 1) good judgement (euboulia) about the household; 2) how best to order ones home; 3) how best to order the city, that is, influence political things in action and speaking. Central is ordering ones household. Immediately afterwards, he differentiated himself from the other Sophists by noting that the others turned their students towards calculation, astronomy, geometry and music (the sciences that Cleinias said were useless without a dialectician), whereas he, Protagoras, taught prudence in private as well as public affairs (319e). In the conversation preceding Critos direct interruption, Socrates, through Cleinias, reiterates Protagoras argument. Cleinias rejects geometry, astronomy and calculation as incomplete without dialectic. In this case, dialectic seems to refer to the method of translating theory into practice. As a farmer, Crito would have found this view compatible with his own. He likely understood geometry as useful for land measurement, astronomy useful for weather forecasting and calculating useful for auditing profit and loss. Socrates silent support of Protagorean arguments may not be as farfetched as it appears. Protagoras had claimed that reality is such that there are two

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opposing ways to describe, account for, or to explain any given experience.19 This claim not only serves as the ground of eristic, it also provides the ground for irony, including Socratic irony. Sensitive to Critos interests, Socrates got Critos attention by adding the phrase and makes them useful to his misquote of Aeschylus opening line of Seven Against Thebes. He understood that for Crito, philosophy is attractive because it is instructive and provides information that has utility whether in business or in raising a family. This is why Crito silently accepts the view, expressed by Cleinias, that happiness, or prosperity, requires both production and proper use. Crito is sufficiently curious about the brothers, but wants to know what they promise to teach. He does not have time to waste on a science that will have no utility. Critos utilitarian view of philosophy can also explain, even further, why he was a friend of philosophy. He keeps the philosopher linked to the world of action, which is the world of everyday life and speech. Crito reminds the philosopher of the dangers of giving in to the temptation to remove oneself entirely from politics. But Critos philanthropy is equivocal. One might reasonably argue that Critos financial generosity with respect to Socrates is that he envies Socrates. The only cure for his envy is to give Socrates money and thereby be able to freely associate with him. It is this envy that best characterizes the gentleman from the non-gentleman among the wealthy. Furthermore, as one who wishes to acquire money, Crito also wishes to acquire knowledge. But his wish to acquire knowledge is unique. For him, philosophy is something to be possessed, like everything else, including his wife and sons. The Idea he loves is the Idea of Possession. But it is precisely Critos presence in the Euthydemus that creates further questions. Are the two kinds of acquisition the same or different? Thus, the questions arise: Can one know when one is wise? Can one possess wisdom? This leads to two further questions. If philosophy is the path to wisdom, can one know what philosophy is? Can one ever possess philosophy? Can one ever possess a philosopher? These questions cannot help but open up new possibilities for students of the other three Platonic dialogues in which Crito appears. As an entrepreneur (chrematist) and family man, he strives to be honourable. This goal requires him to be attentive to the opinions of the Many. He must be a judge (krites) of its temper. Crito is also sensitive to the equivocal meaning of prattein, which can mean, to succeed and to act rightly. He knows that one can act rightly and not necessarily succeed; that success is sometimes the result of good luck. He understands fully why Socrates philanthropy has failed to persuade the Many
19

Translated by Edward Schiappa in his Protagoras and Logos (Columbia, SC, 1991),

p. 92.

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that it is, in deed, philanthropy. Crito is able to understand it because he stands in-between the philosopher and the Many. He is neither totally Same nor totally Other. Crito fits the description of the man described by Prodicus as one who straddles two worlds. In contrast to Socrates, who demeans the straddler for not being One or the Other, Crito is, in a metaphoric sense, the equivalent of eristic, which expresses, by its acknowledging and using the many forms of equivocation, the problem of Being. Eristic is a branch of Rhetoric. As such it is charming, as Crito said it was. But does it charm those who are subjected to it in the same way that sorcerers charm snakes and other beasts? The answer is yes and no. Eristic operates in the realm of human discourse that exists between the equivocal language of everyday life and the precision that philosophers seek by means of diairesis, or division according to kinds. If one follows the development of the technique used by the brothers, it becomes clear that eristic charms by evoking powerful passions in its victims and then numbs them by way of ridicule, badgering and finally irrationality.20 In one of their most outrageous moments, the brothers had argued that falsehood and contradiction do not exist, and that what one agrees to at one time is not binding in the future. These claims constitute a challenge to any argument about the obligation of contracts, whether they are business contracts or social contracts. Crito, as an entrepreneur, knows from experience that contracts are never fully free from the threat of being violated. He also knows, from experience, that contradictions are never sufficient grounds for dissuading people who have come to some agreement from abandoning their obligation to that agreement in the future. XI From the Euthydemus to the Crito This essay has exposed two aspects of the character of Socrates companion and benefactor, Crito, as he appears in the Euthydemus, his love of his family and his love of money. There are other dimensions of Crito that have yet to be explored, such as his beliefs about the relationship of the money-maker and the polity. But, as should be clear now, Crito does not always say what he means, nor is he open to speaking his mind until he has learned what others, including Socrates, have to say. There remains the question as to why Plato utilized Crito as Socrates interlocutor in a dialogue that explicitly exposes the methods of eristic refutation. The exposure of Critos character also opens the door to a re-reading of the other three Platonic dialogues in which he appears, and in particular the
20 Socrates recollection seems to have affected Crito for more than the moment. Believing that Socrates daimon was dead, Crito concluded that he would do, by bribery, what Socrates daimon would have done saved his life. In effect, he became Daimonic Crito. That, it would appear, is the problem of the Crito.

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dialogue named after him. A reconsideration of the Crito will consider why Crito is the only person who tries to induce Socrates to escape, that is, why it was Crito and neither Plato nor Apollodorus who made any effort to save Socrates from the death penalty. One is lead also to consider why a dialogue that explicitly treats matters of obligation and contracts was constructed such that the discussion takes place between two old men, with no younger one (except perhaps the prison guard) within hearing range. Finally, one is led to consider why the dialogue is named after Crito and in what sense something is implied, by Plato, about the Socratic life relative to politics and to money-making. Martin J.Plax CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY

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