Agreement and Consensus in Plato’s Crito

Dr. James Warren
University of Cambridge
Philosophy Hall 716
Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 8:15pm

Crito thinks Socrates should agree to leave the prison and escape from Athens. Socrates is also determined that he and Crito should have a ‘common plan of action’ (koinē boulē: 49d3), but he wants Crito to share his preferred plan of remaining and submitting to the court’s sentence. Much of the drama of the Crito is generated by the interplay of these two old friends, both determined that they should come to an agreement, but differing radically in what they think the two of them should agree to do. I show how agreements of various kinds—including agreements about how to agree—play important roles in the dialogue. What is more, attention to that theme may help to explain one of the most pressing questions for any interpretation of the Crito. Why does Socrates choose, at the end of the dialogue, to present to Crito a speech in the voice of the personified laws of Athens?

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