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My Reconstruction of Crito, Meno, and Phaedo: Reflective Essay

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The story of Crito is held in the prison cell of Socrates, where he waits for his prison sentence. His old buddy Crito, who had negotiated to sneak Socrates out of prison, visits him. Crito is a 70-year-old guy who is very rich and well-known for having a good reputation. Socrates seems quite ready for his inevitable execution, so Crito puts forward as many arguments as he can to convince Socrates to bail. Also, Socrates wouldn’t need to worry about the risk of safety because his friends are prepared for him, and they’ve also arranged to make Socrates a pleasant life in exile. On a more ethical level, Crito puts forward two more important arguments: first, if he remained, he would help his enemies for harming him unjustly, and thus act unfairly himself; and second, he would leave his wife and children and abandon them without a ‘man of the house. On a practical perspective, the death of Socrates will poorly reflect on his friends and people will believe Crito had done nothing to attempt to save him. Socrates replies that one shouldn’t be concerned with public opinion, but pay attention to only wise advice.

Crito doesn’t need to worry about how his, Socrates ‘, or other reputations may fare in particular appreciation: they should only be concerned with promoting good behavior. ‘And if this is so, do you suppose that justice between you and us is based on equality, and do you think that whatever we might try to do to you, it is just for you to do these things to us in return? Justice between you and your father, or your master if you happened to have one, was not based on equality, so that you could not do whatever you had suffered in return, neither speak back when crossed nor strike back when struck nor many other such things. Will you be allowed to do this to your homeland and the laws, so that, if we try to destroy you, thinking this to be just, you will then try to destroy us the laws, and your homeland in return with as much power as you have and claim that you’re acting justly in doing so, the man who truly cares about virtue?”

This is Socrates putting on the mask of the state. As a community, the government reflects us. If we don’t like the rules, we write the rules and alter them. We get a view on how an unjust law can be handled. We don’t break it, but instead, we keep following it, proving and demonstrating that the law is unjust and that it needs to be rewritten. It appears that Crito is attempting to convince Socrates to flee, and is speaking past each other in a sense. One of the key arguments from Crito arrives at 45c of the Reading: Crito, “What’s more, Socrates, what you are doing doesn’t seem right to me, giving yourself up when you could have been saved, ready to have to happen to you what your enemies would urge—and did urge—in their wish to destroy you.”(45c Reading Crito).

Crito indicates that Socrates would accommodate his enemies ‘ wrongdoing in seeking their desires being completed. The answer to this argument by Socrates is that he would actually harm the legislation who are fair. If the rules are fair and the individuals are unjust, but they are both prepared to do the same, then Socrates seems to be in a dilemma. If Socrates remains in prison, he will sideline with his unjust accusers and act against the unjust legislation, if he escapes. All in all, it seemed better to stick to the legislation than to side with the people. The dialog starts with Meno questioning Socrates if virtue can be taught, and this concern, along with the more crucial point of what virtue is, occupies both men throughout the whole text. The Meno offers important and recurring topics, including the philosophical dialog itself. Socrates tries to analyze an ethical phrase by asking Meno who claims to understand the significance of the word and quickly concludes that neither Meno nor he really knows what the word means. Other significant topics presented here include the concept that the soul is eternal, that it knows everything, and that it only in the way of questioning will be able to develop of virtue as a kind of wisdom.

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Socrates as well makes a number of key points about a definition’s nature. Socrates and Meno run through a variety of virtue definitions, each proposed by Meno and broken down by Socrates. Later, the issue arises whether it is even possible to search for anything that is not yet known in the event of searching for a virtue definition, and Socrates even conducts an experiment with Meno’s slave to resolve the issue through a geometric test. We still don’t understand what virtue is by the end of the story, but at least they recognize that they now know they don’t know. Meno provides a good example of the argumentative techniques of Socrates and his search for moral concept definitions. It finishes rather open-ended, similar to Plato’s other dialogues. “ Can you tell me, Socrates, can virtue be taught? If is it not teachable but the result of practice, or is it neither of these, but men possess it by nature or in some other way?” (Reading: Meno).

Virtue was not clearly described. It was recognized with some knowledge or wisdom, but it was not defined precisely what this understanding involves. It seems that it can be explained, at least in theory, but there are no virtue educators as no one has the right theoretical knowledge of their nature. Socrates involves himself among those who are unable to teach virtue since he acknowledges at the beginning that he is unable to describe it. Believe it or not, the young slave Anytus may have foreshadowed and warned the death of Socrates. In Meno, Anytus tells Socrates, “I think, Socrates, that you easily speak ill of people. I would advise you, if you will listen to me, to be careful. Perhaps also in another city, and certainly here, it is easier to injure people than to benefit them. I think you know that yourself”(Reading: Meno).

Socrates judges and questions people which the higher-ups of the corrupted government do not like, which would definitely be interpreted as a corrupting influence in the eyes of not only Anytus but the future court when he faces his eventual death. In the Phaedo, Echecrates meets Phaedo of Elis, one of the men present during the final moments of Socrates. Echecrates, excited to hear the news from a first-hand source, urges Phaedo to say what occurred. Friends of Socrates such as Crito, some other philosophers, Simmias, and Cebes, were in his cell to support him. The account commences with Socrates suggesting that a real philosopher should look forward to death, even though suicide is bad. Socrates claims that the soul is immortal, and the philosopher trains it throughout his life to detach himself from the body’s necessities. For this statement, he offers three arguments: the Argument from Alteration, the Theory of Recollection, and the Affinity Argument. In the Alteration Argument, everything comes from the polar opposite of another. For example, a tall man becomes tall only because he was short before. Death is likewise the reverse of life and thus living things come out of dead things and vice versa. This suggests that there is a cycle of life and death, so we don’t remain dead when we die, but rise from the dead when time passes.

The Recollection of Theory suggests that all learning is about recollecting what we already know. We forget a lot of our knowledge when we are born but through careful questioning we are able to recollect this knowledge. The fact that we had such a large amount of knowledge before being born, suggests that our soul existed before our current life. The third argument which is of Affinity describes how Socrates distinguishes between things that are rational and irrational. The body is irrational, while the rational is the soul. This would suggest that the soul ought to be immortal and survive death. Socrates drinks the toxic drink, provides some last heartfelt farewells, and slowly drifts as he always wanted from this life to the next. Socrates states in the Reading: Phaedo, “Socrates sat up in bed, bent his leg and rubbed it with his hand, and as he rubbed it he said: “what a strange thing in which men call pleasure seems to be, and how astonishing the relation it has with what is thought to be its opposite, namely pain! A man cannot have both at the same time. Yet if he pursues and catches the one, he is almost always bound to catch the other also, like two creatures with one head.” (Reading: Phaedo). Socrates just had his ankles removed from their shackles and comments about the enjoyment of getting them out. Although it may seem contrary to pain and pleasure, he observes, and although we never feel both at the same moment, they do seem closely linked: we rarely discover one without the other. The pleasure of getting rid of his chains is immediately related to the pain that he suffered while still in chains. This is a slight subtext on how he is finally ready to be free to move on to the next life. And with that concludes my reconstruction of Crito, Meno, and Phaedo.

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My Reconstruction of Crito, Meno, and Phaedo: Reflective Essay. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/my-reconstruction-of-crito-meno-and-phaedo-reflective-essay/
“My Reconstruction of Crito, Meno, and Phaedo: Reflective Essay.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/my-reconstruction-of-crito-meno-and-phaedo-reflective-essay/
My Reconstruction of Crito, Meno, and Phaedo: Reflective Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/my-reconstruction-of-crito-meno-and-phaedo-reflective-essay/> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
My Reconstruction of Crito, Meno, and Phaedo: Reflective Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/my-reconstruction-of-crito-meno-and-phaedo-reflective-essay/
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