NEC UEFISCDI Award
University of Erfurt, Germany
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.