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The Interpretation of Plato's "Crito" Author(s): David Bostock Source: Phronesis, Vol. 35, No. 1 (1990), pp.

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The Interpretation of Plato's Crito
DAVID BOSTOCK

Socratesgivesas his leadingpremisein the Crito thatone shoulddo nothing
wrong (obaCg
bet &6Itxiv,

49b8). (He says, indeed, that he has lived

his whole life in obedience to this premise, 49a-b.) He then proceeds to arguethatit wouldbe wrongfor himto tryto escapefromgaol, thusevading the death penalty he had been sentenced to. But a central problem in interpreting the dialogueis thatthe arguments he offersfor this conclusion appearto be designedto establisha verymuchstronger conclusion:it would always be wrongfor any citizen of Athens to disobey any law of Athens. Such a conclusion is in itself distinctlyunappealing,and apparentlynot consistent with the leading premise, for presumablya law might be an unjust law commandingthe doing of what is wrong. Moreover, in the Apology Socratesapparently reportsone suchcase andenvisagesanother. At 32c-d he says that he did not obey an order from the ThirtyTyrants because what was ordered was wrong (&6.x6vxt, 32d5); and at 29c-d he saysthathe wouldnot obey a courtorderto cease philosophising, evidently on the same ground(though he does not here use the word 6Lxov, or a synonym). Here, then, it seems to be admittedthat a law, or anyway a legallyauthoritative order,1 maycommand one to do wrong,andthatif so it shouldnot be obeyed. Thissets ourproblem:is it possibleso to interpretthe Crito thatit does not enjoinobedienceto any andeverylaw?I proposeand criticisethree lines of interpretation which attemptto avoid this 'authoritarian'readingof the dialogue.They differfromone anothermost notably

l It may of course be argued whether the orders of the Thirty Tyrants did have the appropriatelegal authority,and it may be observed that the court could not legally make an order that Socrates should cease philosophising unless Socrates himself were to propose this as his altemative to the death penalty. But Socratesdoes not suggest that he did or would disobey these orders on ground of their illegality, but simply on ground of their wrongness.

Phronesis1990. Vol. XXXVII (Accepted July 1989)

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Now it is clearthat the first point that the Lawsmake is this: if Socrates triesto escape. as a furtherand uncontentiouspremise. Whoeverattemptsto disobeythislaw is attempting(for his part) to destroythe whole systemof laws. he will be attempting. and (thereby)the whole city. adding to this 'not even if one has been wronged by him'. Thedialoguecontainsbut one argument At 49c-d Socrateselaborateshis leadingpremiseto 'one shouldnot wrong any person'. that in the present context escaping would be disobeyingthis particularlaw).214. It would be wrong for Socratesto attemptto disobey this law. the personified Laws of Athens are brought upon the stage. that verdictsshouldbe carriedout (50a8-b8).Thisevidentlysuggeststhe following argument: (i) Hence (ii) But So (iii) (iv) to out is fundamental The lawthatverdictsshouldbe carried the whole systemof laws.) He then proposes that it follows from these premisesthat it would be wrong for him to escape (49e9-50a3). If we may grantthe (very argument dubious)step from (i) to (ii). It would be wrongfor Socratesto attempt(for his part) to destroythe whole systemof laws. and the argumentproper begins. and equated with xaxovQydEv (&x6LIXv and with xaxog xoet6vat 49c. They go on to add that much could be said on behalf of this particularlaw.for a city couldnot surviveif the verdictsreached by the courtswereset asideandrenderedpowerlessby individuals. It would be wrongfor Socratesto attemptto escape.161. 1.15 on Tue. Thus (v) I shallcall this suggestedargument A. I then consider the merits of the authoritarianinterpretation. Crito requests further elucidation. (btxatLa 6vca evidentlyhas the force of h6tXa 6v-cac. provided that it is not wrong'.to destroythe Laws. Moreover. it clearly does not generaliseto the conclusionthatSocratesshouldobey anyandeverylaw of 2 This content downloaded from 194. for his part. is used transitivelyfrom 49blO. whichreceivesno furtherelaborationin the dialogue. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .) At 49e5-7he states a furtherpremise'one should do what one has agreed to do.over the questionof how many distinctand separableargumentsthe dialogue contains. it would seem to be a valid argument(at least if we add.

Review of Metaphysics25 (1971/2).Athens. Perhapswe can see this as a kindof disjunctive order 'eithercease philosophising and live. 'In Defense of Socrates'. Clearlythisis veryspecialpleading. 'Socrates on Disobedience to Law'. 48-51. you will die' (29c7-dl).15 on Tue. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Moreover. the solution adopted by G. Santas. Wade. Then Socrates'proposedresponseis to obey this order by obeying-the second disjunct.and hence the . Socrates(Routledge & Kegan Paul. Indeed one of our cases from the Apology was preciselya case of this sort: if the courthad orderedSocrates to cease philosophising.161. pp.andif he escapesthis he will be banished'. 1979).by addinga ceteris remainder of the argument Then it paribuscondition. like doing wrong (6bLXEW). and there is only one way of obeying it. 21-38 and F. as specially fundamental. philosophise. 311-25. 3 This content downloaded from 194. .Socratesimaginesthe courtsaying'We will let you go. London.) Now one mighttry to distinguish the cases in thisway. 3 Putting 29b6-7 together with 29d2-4we can infer that obeying the supposed order.So in this case we do not have a disjunctiveorder. pp. but merelyto sidestep it. but on this condition. But we cannot directly infer that it would be doing wrong. (Or even if he would not . by makinguse of incidentalfeaturesof the two cases in the Apology and the Crito. or continueto philosophiseand die'. but confines attention to one law in particular.214. in effect. since it is surely possible that obeying a verdict reached by a court would involve doing somethingwrong. X. By the same reasoning. and similarlywith any law to which some definitepenaltyfor infringement was attached.2 It is true that argumentA does not entirelyevade the problemwe began with. C. he does not quite say quite have called it wrong(8bmxov) . In this particular example.4 2 The point is not always noticed. would be bad and disgraceful (xax6v xa' atoXQ6v). Martin.andwhollyunconvincing.penalty?10'wouldcount as being 'obeyed'by one who both littered and paid ?10.A moreplausiblereconciliation of the two dialogueswouldbe to weaken the Crito'sargumentA by qualifyingstep (ii) .But in the case under considerationin the Critothe court will not have attachedany penaltyfor failing to obey its order. pp. Socratescould not have obeyed thatorderwithout doing somethingwhichwas (in his eyes) wrong. The verdict evidently was not put in this way: 'Socratesis to be executed.that you no longer . the order'Do not litter.at any rate he does very clearlysay that he would this in so manywords3 not have obeyed the order. it does not reallyattemptto meet the generalissue. But if you are caughtstilldoingthis.as I observed. For example it is ignored by both sides in the debate between R. Review of Metaphysics 24 (1970/1). . for he clearly does envisagethat he wouldindeed be put to death (30cl). 4 This is.

in his position. is that argumentA is the only argumentto be The first interpretation found in the Crito. (He might.Many of those who wish to preservea place for the modem phenomenonof 'civildisobedience'would not feel that they were bound to deny it. since (a) the courtorderwas countermanded and (b) Socrates' claim was that in continuingto philosophisehe was attemptingnot to destroythe city (or its laws) but to do it good (30a5-6).Ourargument Despite all this. an important and it claims carried out. and certainlythey have not yet made any attemptto arguefor it. thatit is infer(ii). by one placed as Socratesis placed.the whole of the rest of their argument(down to 53a) is designedto providesupportfor this premise.on whichwe havemoreto come). and then the propercourseis to choose the lesser wrong. wouldapplyto the situationin the Crito.g. if he obeys it).occupying 51d-53a. or the God.assertthe remaining wrongfor Socrates. They do not.At 50a7-b8the Laws state premise(i) and proceed to premise(iii). brings of humans. only that thatlaw ought alwaysto be obeyed (.and this occupies for it: one I shallcall the parent-city arguments fromagreement. both of these are subarguments signedto show that it is wrongfor Socratesto attemptto subvertthe whole system of laws. Lookinga little more deeply. if Socratesdisobeys the court order. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .its argumenthas a naive simplicitythat allows no place for a conflictof obligations. not equal. Perhapseven the Socratesof the Apology might have his position:it is not obviousthatwhatsomeonesees been led to reconsider thisparticular law as a commandof God oughtto be acceptedas overriding of first to the suggested my point then. But again it cannot be said that the Cnitoshows any awarenessof this complication.andin fact the claimis not the fully 'authoritarian' wholly implausible. however.161. This me.But 50c-51c. the paribusconditionwouldbe even morewelcomeis as a placewherea ceteris condition on the Crito's leading premise that one should never wrong anyone. be right to disobey this or that 4 This content downloaded from 194.214.andso one has to admitthaton a naturalreading the two passagesare simplyin conflict. On the first interpretation. But neitherof these considerations thatanysuchceteris paribusconditionis However. it cannotbe maintained in fact statedin the Crito.maybe saidthatin the situationenvisagedin theApologyotherthingswere by a divineorder. A does focus pointremains. either the Laws.at least. For it may be that all the availablecoursesof action do involve wrongingsomeone (e. however.They offer two subanalogy. should be that verdicts on one law in particular.the otheris the argument and both are demain the to argument.15 on Tue. to seek to destroythe whole systemof laws. interpretation. Thisis a longwayfrom readingof the dialogue.

they are so relatedthat it is wrongfor Socratesto retaliatein this way (5Oe4ff). naTQis) are not on an equal footing.214. is an argumentto the conclusion that he must not escape. and immediately after it has been suggested that 'the city has wronged us. 26-8. We do not know whether Socrateswould make the same argumentagainst disobeyingany law'. the city (50bl-2).). Considerthen. that the argumentsI distinguishas B and C below purport to establish much stronger claims. this conclusionto 'destruction' the parent-cityanalogyis exactlythe requiredaffirmationof premise (iii). on the grounds that he would be disobeying this law [that the verdicts reached by the courts shall be supreme] . Here at its first introduction the specific agreementthat the Laws insist upon is an agreement to abide by whateververdictsare declared (and this is contrastedsomewhatelliptically. and that is the extremecase of 'offeringviolence to'.Clearlythis introducesthe idea behindthe argument from agreement.5)In supportof this interpretation (a) The ensuing discussionbegins by raisingan objection to the argumentjust suggested:Socratesmightreply 'the city has wrongedus. system. however. On this he remarks 'this over-arguingis puzzling.) 6 Note that Socrates' remarks at 49b-d do not claim that retaliation is always wrong.the Laws claimthat this latteris not what was agreed).it is rathera just retaliationfor a wrong done.andstill more to one's country . Thus the argumentconcludes'It is impiousto offer violence to one's mother or father. Socrates.particular law.. then this is doing no wrong.161. Socrates. p.6 A good part of the parent-cityanalogy is clearlydesignedas a counterto thisreply:it claimsthatSocratesandthe city (or the country. Conversely.15 on Tue.. Assumingthatwe may identifythe country. This reply is best seen as an objection to the suggestedpremise(iii): if Socratesdoes attemptto destroythe laws as a whole.in all its versions. and the system of laws as a whole.the city. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .then. and the verdictwas not correct'(50c1-2). so long as that disobedience does not threaten the whole I note three points. rather.whether we are rightin sayingthat you are tryingto do us wrong (or 8(xaLa)in tryingto do whatyou are now tryingto do' (5lc2-8). and we are unable to resolve the puzzle'.e. Rather. (b) Before the parent-cityanalogygets underway (at 50c9).or to abide by whateververdictsthe city shoulddeclare?'. Now it has been claimed that destructionof the law that verdictsbe carriedout is tantamountto destructionof the whole system of laws. and the verdictwas not correct'(50c1-2). i. (Santas does admit.cit.with a suggested agreementto abide by such verdictsonly when they are correct. 18: 'Socrates'argument. pp. they claim that retaliation is wrong when it involves wronging the person retaliated against..the Lawsmake this remark:'Wasthis too agreedbetween you and us. 5 This content downloaded from 194.. which is to be more fully given later. an agreementto abideby the law on verdictsshould 5 This firstinterpretationis to be found in Santas (op.

(c) On this interpretation. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . shallwe or shallwe not be wronging persuaded indeed those whom we least ought to? And shall we or shall we not be 6 This content downloaded from 194. is it not naturalto supposethateach will be the mainpremiseof two quitedistinctarguments? Indeed Socrateshimselfseems to implythis. 2. and this premiseclearlyis put to use in argumentA.214. shouldbe whatthe longerargument fromagreementat 51d-53a is arguingfor. and we should interpretit in that light if at all possible. Thedialoguecontainstwo distinctarguments The obvious weaknessin the first interpretation is that there really is no connection between argumentA and the argumentfrom agreement at 5ld-53a. The other is the premise that one shouldkeep one's agreements.161.the basic charge againstSocratesis always that he is aiming(for his part) to destroythe laws. since there are some (not verystrong)pointersto suggestthis. as soon as he has introduced his two premises. and this premise is of course employed in the argumentfrom agreement. That.They refer also to the two bases for this charge.not even in requitalfor a wrongdone to oneself.One is the premisethatone ought not to wronganother. But thereis an equallystrongpointerin the oppositedirection.Any well-governed citythatSocratesmayfly to will reject him as a destroyerof the laws (53b6-cl). and the city. and for the same reasonhe will not be welcomedby the laws of Hades (54c6-8).equally be implied by an agreementto abide by the system of laws as a whole.for he then says:'If we go awayfromhere.andas the second clearlyis partof an argumentto show that he is wrongto try to destroythe laws. it is wrongfor himto tryto destroy it. then. withouthaving certainpeople.in retaliation(54c2-5). The considerationsadvanced in (b) and (c) above are wholly fromagreementas part programmatic: they enjoin us to see the argument of argumentA if we can. namelythat beforethe Lawsare broughtuponthe scene at all Socrateshas introducedtwo clearlydistinctpremises.and that he will have done harmto those whomhe least ought to harm. because in fact it is doing themwrong.15 on Tue.But they treatthe two coordinately.andin the courseof this they twicerecurto thischarge. and that this is doing wrong. In the concludingpassage (53a8-54dl) the Laws are arguingthat escape will bringnone of the advantagesthat Critoapparently sees in it (44e-46a).providedthatwhatis agreedis not wrong. we shouldsee the first in the same way. that Socrateswill not have kept his agreements.Thismakesit apartof the argument giveninitially: as Socrateshas agreedto abideby the systemas a whole. These being two quite distinctpremises.

There is no hint that he has agreed only to obey 'the systemas a whole'.This passagevery clearlysuggeststhat two distinctarguments are to come. it not being wrong?'(49e9-50a3). Thenthey continue'Butas it is you do not respectwhat you said then. for example. andthe thirdpoint revertsonce more to the theme of agreement. 52al-2).whereit seemsto me clearthatit is a referencebackto the previous argumentand not a partof the presentone. thus leaving room for disobedienceto one or anotherparticular memberof thatsystem. 519-35. and you are behavinglike the most worthlessslave. Dialogue 13 (1974). Nor do they suggest in this passage (i. 'Socrates. 7 This content downloaded from 194. But he had then saidthathe wouldpreferdeathto exile. construedas before. Yale Review 63 (1974). 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Vlastos. we see that it cannot be broughtunderthe wing of argumentA. the laws. and there are (at least) two distinctand separatearguments in the Crito.15 on Tue. Moreover. the second point (trying to destroyus) refersbackto the accusation of argument A. one of the arguments is argument A. and this is not fully authoritarianbecauseit only claimsof one particular law thatit oughtalwaysto be obeyed.161.214.which is then continuedto 53a7.e. Dybikowski.) I conclude that the attempt to see this argumentfrom agreementas merelypart of argumentA will not do. then. tryingto run away in contraventionof the compactsand agreementsby whichyou have promisedus that you will live as a citizen' (52c8-d3). But we now construeargumentA as runningfrom the beginning So. nor do you show regardfor us. 517-34.abidingby what we have agreed.7 This.Here thefirst point (not respectingwhatyou said then) sumsup the newly introducedad hominem charge. G. and J.andthe secondis evidentlythe argumentfrom agreement. whom you are tryingto destroy. 'Socrateson PoliticalObedience and Disobedience'. pp. and in fact the destructionof the laws is mentioned only once in this passage. On thisview. cf. and therefore(in with the premiseon agreements)it wouldbe wrongof him not accordance to do so. and the Law: Plato's Crto'. in so doing. Obedience.On the contrary the Lawsclaimthat anyfullcitizen who remainsin the city 'hasagreedwith us. (At 52c3 the Lawsdigressto a special ad hominemargument:at his trial Socratescould have proposed exile as an alternativeto the death penalty. Its main claimis simplythat Socrateshas agreedto obey the laws. pp. 5ld-53a) that a failureto obey would amountto an attemptat destruction. It is not beingsuggestedthat breakingagreementsand runningaway is itself an attempt to destroy. introduces the secondinterpretation. The firstof them is (perhaps)argumentA.when we do look in detail at the argumentfrom agreement. and so achieved with the consentof the city whathe is now proposingto effect withoutit. as outlinedearlier. to do whatever we command'(51e3-4.

of its one every and agreedto obey each obligedto do so. then thisprovisois regardedas governingeveryclaimmadein argument this argumentcannotconflictwith the majorinjunction'do no wrong'. Plainly. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . At 51d3. argumentB.Thus he was bound. is equallynot a fully authoritarian in it may indeed seem so.at the time when he was admittedto full citizenship. Anotherdoubtis overjustwhichof Socrates''deeds' (ratherthan 'words')constitutethe agreement. however. when this particular foreseen. but at open to him: he must 51e4-52a3it is said that there is anotheralternative in the is to this be interpreted I how shall consider either obey or persuade. andhence thathe had agreed.as if thiswerehighlyrelevant.presumably for so long as he was a resident of Athens . it is naturalto suppose that what he has agreed to do is simplyto obey the laws.whichwe maynow call argument. in 5ldl) to introducea new line of argument. This. 8 This content downloaded from 194. next section. made in full knowledge of the dangersinherentin it. The new sentencebeginningon thatline beginswith a (SOa8) of the salient points of argumentA. For one thing.161. For most of the passage.Up to 52a4it appearsto be simply his choosing to remain in Athens as a citizen of that city. but by a very recent promise. On the contrary.Would either of these types of people be held to have agreed to obey its laws? A much more seriousdifficultyis over just whatSocrateshas agreed to do.Thus even if Socrateshas.Clearytherecouldbe citizensof dissatifaction Athens who remainin the city while exhibitingconsiderable with its institutions. so I shallnot of argument formulation It is difficultto give an accurate try to set one out. but with the city (and its stresshis satisfaction thereafterthe Lawsincreasingly institutions). to abide by its verdict. it appears an agreementto obey the laws that he made the agreement. in the city.if B.15 on Tue. is agreedis not wrong. not just by a outcomecouldnot have been promisemade long ago. but then moves on (at recapitulation 6tW.and there could be non-citizenswho remainbecause they are well-satisfied. we Tlhough should rememberthat its leadingpremiseis introducedat 49e5-7 with an providedthat what importantproviso:one shouldkeep one's agreements. it is not quite clear when Socrates is supposedto have agreedto obey the laws of Athens. from its main exposition 5ld-53a. B.at the startof the trial. andby the premisestatedrightat the beginninghe is obligednot to obey it.thenby the provisohe is not obligedto obey it.only to 51c8.On the other hand one might take 52e3 as indicatingthat the agreementwas continuallybeing remadeeach day that he remainedin Athens as a free man. by remaining that he is not follow does it laws.if obedienceto a lawwouldinvolvedoing somethingwrong.214.

But in thatcase the Lawsmustshow. and had plenty of time to observe how the Laws of Athens did operate tendingto show (51e1-2. Thus it appearsthat argumentB. by argumentB.and their argumentthereforecontainsa very notablegap. Thus Socrateswas free to agree or not. andthat Socratescould at any time have chosento emigrate.Now the (Et Rh . But in that case one can only say interpretation that they are mistaken:a perfectlyfairagreementmayyet be an agreement ' This.o0XOylaL impliedclaimthat the agreementwas not wrongcouldbe taken as claiming that whatwas agreed was not wrong.thatit is not wrongfor Socratesto do whatthe laws now requireof him (namelyto remainin prisonuntilhe is executed).is this.214.the topic is simply never mentioned. one mightsay. backto argument to repairthe gap by referring this interpretation. that Socratesis obliged not to escape). shouldnot be wrong. if I understand him rightly. b&xatacipaCvov[6 sol al 6.cit.. Again. and that is at 52e4-5. Nor are we permitted. and inferringfrom this that not escapingwould not be wrong.161.since Socratesknewwhathe was agreeingto. what we find in argumentB are several indicationsthat the agreementwas fairlyenteredinto. of course. as developed by the Laws themselves. B whichone mighttake to contain Thereis only one passagein argument a reference to the proviso. 21-5). somewhereduringthis argument. though it also.8 For the present interpretationis that argumentsA and B are wholly independentarguments. The Laws have been summingup theirclaimthatthe agreementwas fairlyenteredinto. and if the agreementsseemed to you to be wrong' EIvaL). Accordingto But a genuineproblemfor the presentinterpretation the provisoon keepingagreements. pp.for he couldinsteadhavedecidedto live elsewhere. and hence inferringonce more.. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . are considerations but this by (was made 8xa(os)..and to this they add 'if we did not please you. could be taken as claimingthat the agreementwas fairlystruck.15 on Tue. in this ambiguousphrase.g. 9 This content downloaded from 194. These.It may be that the Laws are suggesting.on A (e.is to be takenas applyingto thiswhole argument. does not satisfythe provisoon keepingagreementsintroducedat 49e5-7. by claimingthat argumentA has alreadyshown that escaping would be wrong.Insteadof the claimthat what is agreed is not wrong. andwas not in anywayforcedto agree. 52e2-3). there was no kindof trickeryinvolved. that the first (relevant) follows from the second. It is clearthat they make no attempt to show any such thing . made was not wrongly agreement that the no means ensures that what was agreed was not wrong (was bicxaLov).thatwhatis agreed this interpretation.with no financialpenalty(5ld4-e5. is how Santas proposes to fill the apparent gap (op. 52e1).

Similarlywith other suggestions that one might make.in effect replacingit with the differentprovisothat the agreementbe fairlymade. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . his children. he was not at all pleasedwith thisverdict. andif he had agreedto do something wrong he would not be pleased.15 on Tue.9 fact. that it will harm the reputationof Athenian democracyif such a miscarriageof justice is not prevented.to do whatever the proviso. applyingthose laws.andit is argued.to do whatis wrong. requiringobedience to any and every law from every citizen who chooses to remainin the city.we may add . It thus appearsto be of a fully authoritarian bent. More generally. but not doing wrong. to be taken. and the furtherfact that he is especiallysatisfied with the city . So this is an argumentum hominem: Socrates. It is clearthat the Lawsmake no attemptto show that it is satisfiedin B. and thus argument of In form the proviso. that one should keep this agreement only where what is commandedis not wrong. must be shownto be satisfiedin eachparticular case. submittingto the death penalty will no doubt be sufferinga wrong. 10 I This content downloaded from 194. thoughif Now this may be how Platointendedhis argument so one can only say that the reasoningis wholly specious. andpresumably it cannotfollow that he is now pleasedto submitto the deathpenalty. the initial agreement is no doubt to be the lawscommand. On this account.g. young. And argumentB would apparentlyhave applied even if Socrates had taken a quite different view of his obligations to other people (and to himself). in Socrates' own opinion.not exactlythatit is satisfied.But conceivedof as a generalagreement. duringargumentB. is one to which he pays no serious attention.that its laws 'pleasehim'. or . at any rate. but that Socratesmust thinkthat it is. It evidently cannotfollow that he was also the pleased with the verdictthat convictedhim of impietyand corrupting Equally. or even mentioned. andwiththe decisionsreachedin the courts. as stated. knowingwhat its laws are. (The suggestion that it is doing wrong to his friends. In his view. I thinkit is more naturalto say that it ignores this provisoaltogether. still this point is not argued. e.161. perhaps.showsfurtherthat in his opinion ad what he has agreed to do is not wrong. eitherobedienceor persuasion? we can save the situationby requiring No doubt the proviso is. and he is in no wayboundto thinkthatwhatthe agreementhasled to in thiscase is not wrong.214. satisfied in this case.let us supposethatuntilthe time of his trialSocrateswas indeed verysatisfiedwiththe lawsof Athens. For the sake of argument.his wife. Unless. pays no attentionto the relevant thiscase.) But although Socrates may indeed think that acceptingdeath would not be wrong. the crucialprovisois mentioned.Howeverit maybe thatwe shouldsee them as arguing in this way:the factthatSocrateshas remainedin the city showsthathe has agreed to obey its laws. is bound to accept that the proviso is satisfiedbecausethe Lawsdo in fact please him. and the people given no opportunityto repent. then.

that you shouldattemptour destruction?'. to) destroythe Laws.upbringing. surely you may kill in self-defence.and their slave (50dl-e4). At 50c9 the Lawsask Socrates'Whataccusationdo you bringagainstus and the city. of course. this makes it irrelevantthat Socrateshas no fault to find with the laws on marriage. he is their offspring. or that withoutthem he literallycould not have existed. Fromthis they infer that they and Socratesare not on an equal footing. when the matter is put in this way. But in that case.Again. and the Lawsclaimthat he has no such right. Up to the presentpoint (51a7).So far. Thedialoguecontainsthreedistinctarguments Since the alternativeof either obeying or persuadingalso occurs within what we are at present calling argumentA. so equally Socrateswould be wrongto retaliateagainstthe Laws. If your guardianis murderously attackingyou.15 on Tue. Of course. Just as a slave would be wrong to retaliate in kind against his master.a son is wrongto tryto kill his biological parents. for his part. it is not quiteclearwhatexactlyis the basisof thisclaim.andto have been responsible for his care and educationas a child.and on the careandeducationof children. to supposethat the Lawsare claimingmuchthe samestatusas a foster-parent or guardian. then the claim of the Laws to be Socrates' parentslooks verythin indeed:they cannotreasonablysay that theirblood runsin his veins. on orthodoxGreekmorality.161. and even though Oedipus owed nothing to Laius for his upbringingand education(and did not know who he was). there are too many difficulties over the detailsfor it to be sensibleto attempta preciseformulation.Perhapsit is better.even if it was in selfdefence.in his own self-defence. they areindeedtryingto destroyhim.Moreover. Thus Oedipus should not have killed Laius when he met him at the crossroads. they the Lawsclaimto be his parents. Again.3. let us first reconsiderthis argumenta little more thoroughly.and just as Socrateswouldhave been wrongto retaliateagainsthis father. They then get him to admitthat he has no fault to find with the laws on marriage.to whom the child owes some debt of gratitudefor benefits received. butit is nevertheless wrongfor himto try to destroythem in turn(50e4-51a7). the discussioncan easily be seen to be focusedtowardsargument A as set out:whatis at issueis whether Socrateshas the rightto (try. the analogy looks him thin in a differentway. even in self-defence.214. since my concern is not so much to criticise the argumentas to determinewhat it is supposedto be.It maybe suggestedthat.sincethese mattersareregulated by laws. if there is no other way of surviving?But I leave these issues unsettled. we can quite easily see the argumentas 11 This content downloaded from 194. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Besides. then. and education.

pp. Kraut. C. Phronesis 21 (1976). the law that verdicts should be carriedout.we may regard argument C as following A. and educated in Athens. soothe.g. n. thatit is not only these lawsthat arerelevant. the debate between Martin and Wade (opp. and between G. 1-29.but is simplya claim). andB . and developed out of it by pressing the parent-cityanalogy to further and strongerconclusions. 185-97. and R. Also R. 5) as equally concerned with this point. My thirdinterpretation. We may regardargumentC as slotted into the middle of argument A. pp. underits laws. J. 'Socrates and Obedience'.We can also see the concludinglines (51c2-8. as argumentA requires. and have no fault to find with its laws on these matters. or . in view of 5lc9-dl. Young. recognisesthreedistinctargumentsin the Crito:A. At 50e9-51a2. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . it is ellipticalenough to be taken in this way. and yield to the state even more than to one's parents. But already a different theme has creptin. Princeton 1984. may be seen rather as the conclusionto A and C together.concernedwith the specific point of destroyingthe Laws.'Socrateson Disobedience.Perhapswe oughtto addhere.15 on Tue. or fromallwho havebeen born.citt. A is not fullyauthoritarian.leadingup to theirclaimthat Socrateshas no rightto retaliatein kind on this question of destruction. or to hit back..In that case the concludingpassage51c2-8.whichwe previouslytook as the conclusionto A alone.perhaps better . Let us dignify this passage with the name 'argumentC' (thoughreallyit does not deserveto be called an argument. becauseit only claims obedience for one particularlaw. then. (And it claims this obedience either from all who have been bornin Athens. and still more of the state.161.10As before.but also anyfurtherlawsconferring benefitson the citizens. brought up.214. and it really cannot be countedas partof ouroriginalargument A at all. McLaughlin. It apparently claimsfor all laws the unquestioningobedience that argumentA claims only for one particularlaw.broughtup. But it may be better to suppose that this mention of further benefits that the laws confer is more relevant to argumentC (enjoining think this is now the most common interpretation. and educatedin Athens should seek to destroyits laws. Young'. They claim that in all mattersone should reverence. See e.the Laws have also mentioned that childrenand slaves ought not to answerback. This goes far beyond the previous claim that no one who has been born.no matterwhat the consequencesto oneself (51a7-cl). Socrates and the State. 10I 12 This content downloaded from 194. a reply to G.and in fact one should do or submitto whatever it commands. 2). quoted above p. This apparentlyleads them into makingmuchgreaterclaimsfor the rights of parents. Phronesis 19 (1974).

Similarlywith a parental command regarded as unreasonable:the parentmay be persuadedto rescindthat command. and is thereforeat fault. we now note thatit is also presentin argument C (at 51b3-4.15 on Tue. How. 3 (passim).) Both C andB appearat firstsightto be fullyauthoritarian.the alternativeshould be construedin this way: one must " E.. stillone oughtnot to be condemned. is this alternativeto be interpreted? One thing that is clear is that the 'persuasion'alternativeconcems as to the rightness or wrongness of the commandin question('or persuasion to persuade (the city) where x6 b&xaLov lies' (51c1). one has done wrongif one both disobeysand also does not succeedin persuading the city or parent. the authoritycould not be persuadedbeforehandto withdrawit or afterwards to pardoninfringements of it. for it clearlyallowsfor the possibilityof there being a commandwhichit wouldbe wrongto obey and yet one which the relevant authoritycould not be persuadedto see as wrong. 12 Op. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . since it does not envisage one disobeyingfirst and persuading afterwards.It has recentlybeen objected"1 thatthis accountin effect neverdoes allowdisobedience. That is. he is at libertyto persuadethe assemblythat it is unjust.161. The traditional interpretation has been this. and thus obtain its repeal. requiring obedience to any and every law. In the case of a law whicha citizenregardsas unjust. op. ch. accordingto this interpretation. as this interpretation has it.becausethe law in questionwas a bad one. for both are protected by includingthe alternative'either obey or persuade'. then.g.n.eitherbeforeor afterthe event. Kraut.. of course.obedience to al laws) than to argumentA (forbiddingdestructionof the laws). 13 This content downloaded from 194.214. In this case one has neither obeyed nor persuaded.We have alreadynoted that this alternativeis explicit in argument B. they are not. if we wish. accordingto the traditionalaccount. 'or to persuade us (the Laws)if there is somethingwe do [djxaczg' (51e7) ).thatdisobediencewasor would be justified. However. In a Greekcourtof law (thoughnot.in an English one) it was permissibleto plead that though one had broken the existing law. my thirdsuggestedinterpretation (which is in effect Kraut's interpretation)12will not rest contentwith this. But.cit.So we may certainlyallow this much:one has done no wrongif one disobeys an existinglaw (or parentalcommand). But we can readilyextend the traditionalaccountto allow for this.and at 51c1). But.but afterwards succeeds in persuading the city (or the parent)thatthe disobediencewas in this case justified. So. 10. And such a plea is of course equally in order with a parental command.cit.

if whatis commandattemptat persuasion ed is not wrong. It clearlycannotbe said of slavesthattheydo no wrongby disobeying theirmaster's command.161.thenone shouldobey the command.since Greek society wouldhardlysupposethat a fully adultmanshouldobey his him ageingfatheron all matterson whichhe did not succeedin persuading otherwise. 14 This content downloaded from 194. In the case of a parental does not commandaddressedto an adultson or daughter. then one should not obey it. but try to persuade. even though the maynot be successful. At 51b2-3it is said that one shouldrever13 It is well known that dFetIv can mean 'try to persuade'.In the caseof a law.No doubt.if the persuasion succeedthen that. It is certainlyopen to us to hold that the thoughtin argumentC. if I understandhim rightly. is the end of the matter. as in to of a citizento his city is comparable argumentA.In its favouris the factthatit rate. Krautreplies.whetherit comesfrom the state or from a parent.since it is undeniablethat argudeployedin argument mentC growsout of. is that the relationship the relationship of a youngchildto its parents.That. concemedwithis specifically there is a strongindicationthat it is not.but does tryto persuadeeither obey or tryto persuade. Moreoverthis readingis very stronglysupportedby a point in the text that Krautappearsto overlook. But what else removes the authoritarian may be said for it? Krautargues (pp. obedienceis required.If one disobeys.But in each case one hascommittedno wrong.at any proposes. Success is not automatically implied (as it is with the English verb).e8).or a slaveto his master:thus if persuasionfails.15 on Tue.that the master-slaverelationshipis relevant of the superiorparty). But the two arguments cannotbe so clearlyseparated.The text nowheresays that the relationship and thatbetweenparentsandadultoffspring."3 either before or after the event -then one is not at fault. 91-103) that the analogybetween parentsand cities mustbe takenas drawing a parallelbetweenon the one handcitiesandtheir citizensandon the otherhandparentsandtheiradultoffspring. is whatthisthirdinterpretation sting from argumentsB and C. presumably.and A (concemingthe destruction only to argument not to argumentC (concemingobedience to it) (pp. But where what is commandedis wrong. since this same relationis held to obtain between mastersand slaves (5Oe4. penalty if the persuasiondoes not succeed.The consequenceis no doubtfairlydrawn.214.the consideration A.so long as they have at leasttried(butfailed)to dissuadehimfromit. then indeedhis interpretation of 'persuade or obey' seemspreferable. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . anddevelops. 105-8). then no doubt the appropriate will be suffered.butthe premiseupon it is whichit rests is insecure.If this is so.

the law may be satisfied by a sincere but unsuccessfulattempt to obey. whichis in factsimilarto the relationship betweena slaveandhis master. but perhaps failing.One is that it is of course the personifiedLaws themselves who propoundthe alternative'either obey or persuade'.14 and what Kraut means to suggest is that the demandsof moralityare satisfiedby this.214. 15 This content downloaded from 194. Thus. as Kraut urges on pp.But a fatherin such a situationwill hardly think 'he has yielded to me'. andwho has not been convincedby the persuasionoffered (either before or after). as he sees it.this maypossiblybe viewed as a way of 'reverencing' one's parents or one's state. Finally. as is the permissionto emigratewith no financialpenalty. will generallydo nothingfurtherand expect nothing further.and yield to (oF&'E(xFLv) ence (oaj3EoftaL) the state even more than to one's parents.i. where the 'obey or persuade'alternativeoccursin argumentB (at 51e7-52a3).But very clearlythelaw is not satisfied by an unsuccessfulattempt at persuasion. So there seems to me to be no escape from the objectionthis way: the actual laws evidently would not be satisfied by unsuccessful attempts at persuasion.Now quitea naturalwayof takingthis chargewould be to supposethat it claimsthat Socrateshas not obeyed the 14 By contrast. I concludethat Kraut'spositive argumentin favourof his interpretation is unconvincing: it is muchmore probablethat the relationshipbetween the citizen and the city is being compared (in argumentC) to the relationshipbetween a young child and its parents. 54b8). As he himselfexplains. There are two furtherarguments againstKraut'sinterpretation.which anywayhe can only impose once).e. obedience is expected. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the personifiedLawshave a doublerole: they both represent the actual laws of the city.161.In their case. However. and disobedienceis set down as wrong.the Lawssay that if Socratesescapes he will have both failed to obey andfailedto persuade(52a3-4).15 on Tue. 69-70. but not the demandsof the law.to persuade. at leastwhenit wouldbe wrongto obey. trying. it is surely as part of an account of what the actual laws of the city require.a fatherwho has not been obeyed by his adultson. and the son has entirelyfulfilledhis obligations. and yet can keep a distance from them and represent moralityinstead (as when they admit that the verdict against Socrateswas not a correct verdict.just above (51d-el). On Kraut's account of 'persuading'.meaningpresumablythat they the Lawswill be satisfiedif eitherdisjunctis fulfilled. unless it is justifiedby a successfulattemptat persuasion. but it can hardlybe described as a way of yieldingto them.Thereis no penaltyhe can impose (save the extremepenaltyof disinheritance.

15 on Tue.)In response to this objection.15 the maintenorof his secondspeechin the Apologycanhardly seen simply be describedas a seriousplea for leniency. pp. 89). in the Crito.andso apparently concede that Socrateshas obeyed the Law againstimpietyand corrupting the young. A.Though the alternativethat was in the end proposed may not have been too unreasonable.andthatourthirdinterpretation rejected. and equallywill not have But the jurythat a differentpenaltywouldbe moreappropriate. 1-18. persuaded then again we can reply that he did try to persuadethe jury to impose a differentpenalty. So perhapswhat they meanis this: havingbeen foundguiltyon this charge. Thisis not afully the dialoguecontainsargument On all interpretations. I concludethat there are too manyindicationsthat. Krautclaims that in order to the juryon this issue. and also has not persuaded law againstimpietyand corrupting the jury that he should not be condemnedon this account. IS This question is discussed in T. Socrates (if he escapes) will not be obeying the subsequent decision that he should thereforebe executed.the young.214. however. Smith. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Archivfir Geschichteder Philosophie64 (1982).in count as 'persuading' his secondspeech. tried to persuadethe jury that the death penaltywas not an appropriate penalty. Socratesshouldhave urged. Brickhouseand N. Let us take stock. But this does not alter the fact that he did make an attempt persuasion. 16 This content downloaded from 194.merely trying (but failing) to persuadedoes not count as fulfillingthe command mustalso be eitherto obey or to persuade. C. D. that his escapefromgaol wouldbe justified(p. it may well be that this way of takingthe remarkis mistaken.(It maywell be saidthathe did not tryveryhard. If that is the correct way of taking it. But It is surelyenoughthathe shouldhave thatis evidentlyquiteunreasonable. then our proposed third interpretationmust certainlybe rejected.since it claimsonly that thereis one particular enoughto that ought alwaysto be obeyed. and that indeed he did (37a-b). 'Socrates'proposed penalty in Plato's Apology'. since Socratesevidentlydid tryto persuadethe jury that he should not be condemned.It is producea potentialconflictwiththe leadinginjunction not plausible. to see argumentA as the only argumentin the B is presentedas a different dialogue.at least we mustadmitthatargument and independentargument. law authoritarian argument. However. Neverthelessit is authoritarian to do no wrong.for afterall our personified 'natural' theyshould Lawsdo admitthatthe verdictwasincorrect.it is more naturally at as defiance.161.

Socrates.161. are of most value to men?' (53c6-8). thatvirtueandjustice.when all that he actuallywishedto arguefor was a muchmore limited result? 4.an importantprovisois attached:one shouldkeep agreements. since what is intended is that disobedienceis permittedonlywhenthereis a successfulattemptat persuaas a fullyauthoritarian sion. two otherprovisosaresuggested.whenthe Lawsturnto consider the disadvantages of escaping. Although it evidently grows out of a considerationthat is relevant to argument so as to lead to A.whenargument B is actuallydeveloped. providedthatwhatis agreedis not wrong.this provisodoes not appear. thispointis leadinginjunction and I have just been arguingthat the same point should uncontroversial.214.15 on Tue.one (by implication) is that the agreement should be fairly made.and the other is that persuadingthe other party to alter the agreementis an acceptable alternativeto keeping it. with no duress.andcustomsandlaws. Finally. mayfairlybe characterised argument.while in Athens. In the concluding sectionof the dialogue. ArgumentB. As my finalquestion.one of the pertinentquestionsthat they ask is this: when you are livingin exile.In its place. when its premiseis firstintroduced. This is no less authoritarianthan argumentB. ignorance.whatwill you say? 'Willyou saythe sameas you saidhere.for its concessionsfall far shortof what we actuallyrequire.Argument B should be preventedfrom reachinga fully authoritarian conclusionby the fact that.Concerning the firstof them. Neither of these provisospreventthe argumentfrom conflictingwith the to do no wrong.it seems to me . Of these the firsttwo would carrylittle weight by themselves. Theauthoritarian interpretation There are three points which may suggest that Plato did indeed mean to arguefor the strongconclusionthat one shouldalwaysobey any and every law.However. it buildsupon anddevelopsthatconsideration a muchmore authoritarian resultthan A does by itself.or trickery.but the third is .I ask:wasthiswhatPlatointended?Did he meanto be arguing for the authoritarian conclusionthatone shouldalwaysobey any and every law (failingpersuasion)?Or was it a mistakeon his partthat he allowedhimselfto use arguments that do (purportto) establishthis strong conclusion. there is also argumentC. We of course expect to be told that Socrates.of some significance. and it seems in fact to be a furtherand separateargument. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . then. had praisedvirtueand justice above all else (i 4L)nQxa'l h bLxaLoauv?). also be admitted concerningthe second. But is it not a little surprising to be told that he 17 This content downloaded from 194.

the expert (6 wQ6vL&Log.He proposes. legally authoritative Later in the same concludingpassage the laws themselves are distinguished from their applicationby men.But my thirdpoint evidentlyis of importance the interpretationof the dialogue as a whole.7 In a similar was not a commandof the Tyrants.as an alternative. he several times refers to 'whatmost people will think' (44b9-c5.has been wronged. as reading too great a significanceinto a whichsurelywerenot intendedto revealthe overall coupleof strayremarks for strategyof the dialogue. 47blO-11). These two points are perhaps suggestive.t6 whereSocratesappearsexplicitlyto allowthatmoralitymayconflictwitha order.had accordedthe same praise also to customsand laws (Ta' v6tLpaxacioi v6lioL)?The implicationmust be that Socrates had supposed that the demandsof the law andthe demandsof moralityneverwouldconflictwith No doubt this is difficultto reconcilewith Apology 32c-d. It may be no accidentthat the Critodoes indeed insist upon it. 48a6-7). Quite how we are to understand'customs' in this context is unclear. and he begins his reply by arguingfor its thatone shouldpay (46c6-8). laws themselves. This. 6 Ed5 xai acu'r'iA dXVsta. at 51a3-4 it is apparentlythe Lawsthemselveswho are seeking to destroy Socrates.161. Clearly. one another.though(perhaps)legallyauthoritative.Fromthe first. But perhaps it would not be unreasonable to take the reference to be to written laws (v6tol) and to 16 unwritten laws (v6Rtpa). but equally they could not unreasonablybe discounted. the Laws. Socrates.15 on Tue. admittedly.Socratesrejectsthisappealto the majorityopinion (44c6-7). worthlessness aboutwhateveris of one man who knows the attentiononly to the opinions 47alO. But here we may turnto the second point. he says. 45d6-46al). When Crito first pleads that Socrates should accept his offer of an arrangedescape. where Socratesis setting the terms for the debate to come. It goes back to the introductorysection.44dl-5. this one person and the truth itself (6 itat(ov nEQL TWV 6LxaLLv xaci &&xwv.214. 6 Ot&arT xat Ana(WV. 17 By contrast. but should rather be regardedas a commandof men thatthe wronglyapplyingthe law. at issue. but he has been wronged 'not by us. 18 This content downloaded from 194. applies equally where morals are concerned (47c9-10). 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .anyonewho wishesto maintain laws are never morally in the wrong will need just such a distinction between the laws themselves and their applicationby particularmen at particulartimes.for heretoo we shouldpayattentiononlyto 'he who understands about right and wrong. but by men' of the Thirty vein it maybe urgedthatthe command (54b8-cl).

since it is nowhere suggestedthat the method cannot be followed in the present case.for the properconsideration questionbefore us.howeverimprobable thatmayseem in the light of the other dialogues. On the otherside. Moreover(b) the wordingof 48a6-7('the expertandthe truth')is surelynot best understoodas implyingthat the only expert in this area simplyis the truth. as the wordingof 48a6-7(quotedabove) may perhapssuggest. 47d7-el). (b) thereseems to me to be altogethertoo much'irony'in Socratessaying'we mustconsultthe expert'and meaning'I mustwork it out myself. for I am the expert'.if one does consulta properexpert. and whose opinionsthereforeshouldbe listenedto. we should presumablysee the dialogue as pursuing this method. one mustof courseagreethat the Laws are presented as arguingfrom premises that Socrates himself has introducedat 49a-e (even if they do misrepresent his premiseon keeping agreements). And finally(c) as the dialogueends Socratestells us thathe hearswhatthe Laws have been saying.15 on Tue. is the expertwho is consulted? Well.But (a) it wouldbe distinctly odd. If this was indeed Plato's intention.Thus it may be that we should understandSocratesas here claimingto be himselfthe expert. then who else mightbe suggestedas the moral expertwhose adviceis sought?Thereseem to be just two alternatives. is that we shouldconsultthe moralexpert.Besides.so as to preservethe impressionthat he has been listeningnot to his own advice but to someone else's.One is that it is Socrateswho is the expert.since everywhereelse in Plato'sdialogueshe is consistently as disclaiming portrayed thisstatus. there is no practicalway of setting out to 'consultthe truth itself'.then one willthereby have 19 This content downloaded from 194.Moreover.rather. then (a) one can only say that the 'method'being proposed is a sham. unlessone can firstassumesome genuineexpertwho does knowthis truth. In moralquestions.161.214. and not in any way parallelto the method of consulting expertsover bodilyhealth and fitness (47al3-b3. But who. If thisis not the implication of the introductory section. if we aresupposedto take Socratesas here implying thathe himselfis the moralexpert. since after all the argumentthat is rhetorically put into the mouthof the Lawsis presumably to be understood as being in fact Socrates'own reasoning. to say the least. then. The other alternativeis that the 'expert' who is consulted duringthe dialogueis neitherSocratesnor the Lawsbut simply'the truthitself .as if it is indeednot his voice but another's(54d2-5). the obvioussuggestionis thatit is the Lawsthemselves:the personified Laws are taken to be those who know about right and wrong.of the Thusthe methodthatSocratessuggests. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . who clearlycan be regardedas a further and differentsource.But it seems to me rathermore probablethat the presumedexpertis the Laws. availablefor consultation.

because by hypothesisthe expert knows the truth. explicitlyclaimed that there is no such thing (e.1933). Hackforth.15 on Tue.the Laws of Athens. their advicemust alwaysbe treatedwith the greatestrespect.for they can the thatthey are in the wrong. (The idea is are the best approximation perhapsthis:the lawsandcustomsof the city.are unacceptable. Presumably andthat thereis a need to when strictlycarriedthrough.in his The Compositionof Plato'sApology (Cambridge. Protagoras a Meno 89e-96c).214.andthatthe Crito reasonable does meanto implythat the lawsare the experts. MertonCollege. argues that there is reason to believe that the Apology was not composed until six years after the speeches it purportsto relate. too far."8 mean.or.161. preceding even the Apology. Elsewhereit is 319b-320b. No doubt the argumentsof the Critodo push this line of thought.are nevertheless sometimesbe 'persuaded' only repositorywe have of 'the wisdomof the ages' in moralmatters.)For that reason. Oxford 18 For all we know.g. It mustbe admittedthatthe Critois uniqueamongPlato'searlydialogues in implyingthat there is such a thing as the moralexpert. betweenwhatis legally But I suspectthathe didquiteseriously wrongandwhatis morallywrong. thatthey to expertsthat is availableto us. other early dialogue. thoughfallible.the implication thatthereis a truthto be discovered. It seems to me a very conjecturethatthese two featuresarerelated. 7 May 2013 03:21:54 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . at any rate. (R. to arguethatthe good manwillneverintentionally disobeythe law. the Crito may have been his first dialogue.consulted the truth. But at the same time the Critois unique in attributing butto not to Socratesnorto one of his interlocutors seriousmoralargument a personified abstraction.and satisfiedmerelyby the supposition I am unwillingto believe that Plato thoughtotherwise. distinguish. in the Critoitself.muchmore firmlythanthe Critodoes. thatthey claimfor the lawsis not endorsedin any andthe moralsupremacy Plato came to see that the implications. thatthereis an expertto be consultedis not Moregencrally.) 20 This content downloaded from 194.