At times, we face tough decisions to be made, and that makes us value less who we are for the sake of others. This kind of situation makes us be less concerned with ourselves, hence focusing on the other people. At such a time, we reason and argue beyond the usual local way when our needs come first, and it makes us to have a global argument that incorporates all those whom we care for. This essay is concerned with addressing global argument with close reference to Socrates and Crito, where Socrates faced the decision to save relieving those who valued him by escaping and staying alive, and letting all of them down by remaining in captivity until being executed. Therefore, this paper contributes to the global argument of the concerns of many people in case of the need to save Socrates, which is communicated to the latter by Crito.
Context and Main Issue
The reason that Crito gives Socrates and that finally attracts his attention concerns his sons. Crito points out that Socrates is betraying his sons whom he could have otherwise raised and educated. Crito further gives him the reason for considering to live for his sons by saying that one need either not to have children or persevere the hardship of upbringing as well as educating them. He finally asserts that Socrates is taking the easiest path and must choose what a brave man could have done. This argument by Crito finally showed its sense to Socrates who had not opted for any of the previously presented arguments. This shows that the latter values his family and his sons in particular, whom he is not willing to subject to suffering and mental torture upon his execution. Crito, on the contrary, seems to be afraid of the blame that he might be subjected to if Socrates is put to death, yet the former is in a position to rescue the latter from captivity.
Socrates reversal is depicted when he counter-argue Crito’s justification of him being helped to escape captivity. He finds it in himself to be the one to make the decision of opting for escaping the prison and not the influence of the public including his friends and sons, who, according to Crito, are more than willing to help him out of the prison. Socrates argues that the eagerness of the people to help him escape the prison could have been worth considering if it was realized in the pursuit of something righteous. However, since it was not by any means, it was difficult to deal with. Therefore, Socrates says that there is a need for examining whether the action is taken or not because he is the person who gets persuaded by no one other than those that are reflecting upon him.
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Socrates uses athlete’s analogy to defend his argument; hence, he infers that the concern of many in wanting him out of the prison should not be of great worry to him. Therefore, he needs to follow only one person, himself, in making the decision of whether to leave the prison with the help of others or not. The analogy in relation to the issue at hand is depicting the state at which Socrates is, where the athlete is himself, the expert trainer or physician is his inner self. This relates also to what he believes in, while many others who praise and at the same time scold the athlete are the friends and relatives who, according to Crito, are willing to get him out of the prison. In the analogy, if the trainer disregards the opinions of the physician, then he will suffer. This implies that in the event when Socrates takes no heed of his inner self and in the beliefs that he has, then there are chances that he can fail.
The Athlete/Physician Analogy.
The use of analogy by Socrates is meant to give more meaning to his point of view of the situation especially to those who are his audience, Crito in this context. The analogy seems to work well because Crito is seen to be answering the questions concerning the analogy with consciousness as he is being prompted. The primary analogy in the argument presented by Socrates is his soul, while the secondary one is his body. He values his soul the most and gives it first priority when making decisions concerning it.
Socrates, therefore, is not primarily concerned with his physical health condition because he disregards all the Crito’s attempts to save it from perishing. His reference to the expert in physical conditioning is relevant to him as well as to Crito in order to ascertain what he believes in. It has to be assumed in the analogy that Socrates uses the athlete (in this case it is himself) having the autonomy to make decisions himself regarding the current situation. The other people come secondary in their bids to make decisions, and consulting them only applies when he cannot convince himself that the decision that he is making is right. In this case, Socrates implies that he need to consult his inner self and what he believes in as a person before considering the advice of other people or sources.
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The use of the analogy of an athlete to pay attention of many people around Socrates and the trainer is directly related to his situation. In the case of an athlete, paying attention to many people around him at the expense of the trainer will mean that he will have to suffer the consequences at one point because of neglecting the trainer who had the ability to make him fit for the race. In line with the situation of Socrates, paying attention to Crito and the people who value him has the effect of making him suffer other consequences according to Socrates. The fact that he is paying attention to inner self has positive value as he will base his decision on the beliefs that he bases his entire life on. Therefore, even if it does not go well based on his decisions, he will heed his ethical drive, hence self-satisfaction.
The criticism that Socrates holds against Crito’s convincing the former to ultimately flee leads to him convincing Crito that if he acts according to the will of the people and against the Athenians, he will be acting unjustly. Therefore, he needs to follow his inner self that he just considers remaining in the prison because he believes that if he had not done anything wrong, he would not be executed by the Athenians. Thus, he need to hold his peace.
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The negative effects of Socrates’ fleeing from the prison with the help of Crito and other people are not very much talked about, but the issue of being just and acting justly has taken center stage in the conversation between the two. Crito’s advice to Socrates can be considered to be absurd because, according to Socrates, he has faith that he will be released based on the fact that he is innocent. Therefore, he does not deserve to die. Crito’s argument to help Socrates flee could have posed many problems to him since the Athenians will have seen him as being guilty because of the fleeing.
The argument between Crito and Socrates has shown the effect of global argument, which can be sometimes misleading based on the prevailing conditions. Socrates has eventually convinced Crito to reason like him, to be considerate of the inner self, and to act justly.