In his Apology Plato's Socrates clearly indicates he would continue to philosophize even if the court ordered him not to--clearly he does not believe one must obey the laws of the state. In his Crito, however, he accepts a death sentence and refuses to escape from an unjust conviction--he chooses to obey the state's laws. It seems there is an inconsistency or contradiction here--either one has to obey the laws or one doesn't! Which is Plato's real view? If Plato's Socrates is willing to disobey a bad law which says "Don't philosophize," why won't he disobey the state when it comes to life and death?

  • +1 and welcome! Thanks for the good and interesting question. Is there any chance I could persuade you to maybe expand a little bit on what you want someone here to explain to you? What's the problem you're facing in your reading -- is there a particular passage, etc.?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Sep 21 '11 at 3:40
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    Modulo particular passages (and therefore exact wording), this seems a clear enough question to me. Of course, if the answer is likely to hinge upon exact wording, then it would probably be best answered by a Plato scholar, perhaps one who can read it in the original Greek. Sep 21 '11 at 9:18
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    In which passage does Socrates clearly indicate he would continue to philosophize even if the court ordered him not to? I'd like to make sure we are all on the same page, so to speak, before attempting to answer your question. Sep 21 '11 at 12:06
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    Voting to close pending some clarification here -- @Emryss, could you tell us where in the Apology you are seeing this?
    – Joseph Weissman
    Sep 21 '11 at 14:29
  • @JosephWeissman actually the question is not ambiguous and I can answer this question. Socrates is acting in the two instances out ofdivine obedience. He will continue to spread philosophy because it will be the will of God if he got released, but since Socrates saw that the will of God is to be executed, then he preferred not to disobey the state and run. Socrates obey the state, but the divine call has the priority in his opinion.
    – mil
    Oct 9 '15 at 19:12

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