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Crito by Plato
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by Plato

5 ratings, 1 review

Crito is a short dialogue by Plato in which the titular character, a wealthy friend of Socrates, tries to convince the philosopher to let him free him from jail. Socrates is to be executed and is fine with his fate, but Crito argues with him, saying that it would be a shame for him to die senselessly, and pretty easy for him to bribe him out of jail. Socrates discusses ideas of justice (dikē), injustice (adikia), and the notion that injustice may not be answered with injustice. Thus he refuses Crito's offer to free him.

This account by Plato is likely biographical, which makes it not only an interesting piece of philosophy, but also perhaps the only real portrait of Socrates' last days. Also in it Plato describes a rudimentary version of the social contract theory of government, which predates Hobbes' philosophy by about a 1000 years. Best of all, Plato, as always, adds some drama to his philosophy: he could've just as easily carried on about political philosophy, but by placing it in a dramatic context, even high school students a few thousand years later might dig it.

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Michael Cozzi

July 02, 2014

This dialogue is translated well and was ported to an ebook well. It was also a great read, although it is shorter than some of the others. I recomend reading Gorgias before the book to really understand the context of which Socrates argues.