Myrthe BARTELS

Academic Year:
2017/2018

Research Program:
NEC UEFISCDI Award

Affiliation:
University of Erfurt, Germany

Position:
Postdoctoral Researcher

Country:
The Netherlands

Research project: Justice and the Application of the Law in Plato’s Crito

Justice and the Application of the Law in Plato’s Crito

The work of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato signals various socio-political dilemmas that arise from the discrepancy between law and justice in a non-ideal world. My project will focus on a Platonic text that confronts such a dilemma head-on: the Crito. The project investigates how Socrates can claim that he owes obedience to the laws of Athens despite his unjust conviction. I shall argue that the key to understanding the argument lies in the idea of the application of the laws. This notion is illuminating in three ways: (1) it allows for a reading of Socrates’ argument that makes it fully consistent; (2) it solves the vexed question in the scholarship of the alleged inconsistency between Socrates’ defiant attitude to Athenian authority in Plato’s Apology of Socrates and his obedience in the Crito; (3) it brings to light a thematic link between the early Crito and Plato’s last work, Laws, that allows us to see the Crito as signalling a problem for which the Laws offers a solution.