Should Socrates flee prison in order to escape
his unjust condemnation?
Crito’s four reasons for escaping
The majority will think ill of Socrates and his friends
if he does not escape
Since the court erred, it should not be obeyed
The welfare of the children of Socrates requires his
Death is an evil to be avoided
Majority opinion is relevant only if true
Rejection of Relativism
Relativism = truth determined by beliefs or
attitudes; we create truth
One reason in support of some forms of
relativism is that some truths are unobservable
How is this possible?
Answer: Perhaps such truths are determined according
to relativism and, hence, knowable though unobservable
Absolutism = truth is determined by conditions
of the world, not beliefs or attitudes; we discover
if you are not a relativist in science or
mathematics, why be a relativist in morals?
The possibility of rational discussion
regarding a topic (morals) precludes
If rational disagreement with the moral majority
is possible, relativism is false
If morality is a matter of happiness &
happiness is an objective/absolute condition,
then morality is objective/absolute &
relativism is false
Is happiness an objective condition?
What is happiness?
Can we be mistaken about our own happiness?
If relativism were true, then what the Nazis did
would have been right (for them)
However, what the Nazi’s did was not right for
them or for anyone
So, relativism is false
Socrates’ children are better off by his death
than exile. (Absolutism)
We do not know whether death actually is a
evil. Hence, we can’t appeal to the evil of
death as a reason to escape
What of the injustice of the death sentence? Is
civil disobedience just?
Why does Socrates oppose civil disobedience?
His implicit contract with Athens
Promise to obey all laws, regardless of how they are
Is this a binding promise?
Stability of Athens as a condition of Socrates happiness
Life’s overall quality & the final act
To have lived well, Socrates must accept execution now
Compare the artist’s last brush stroke or the parent’s dying act
Too much is too much: Just as moderation in eating is better
than excess, so too not living “too long” is better than living