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Law and Rhetoric in the «Crito»


Richard A. McNeal

In the Crito Plato deliberately confuses positive and natural law. He wants his readers to ponder the complexities of political obligation in a one-world universe in which the human microcosm, to which Athens belonged, was an integral if subordinate part of the divine macrocosm. As an apologia for Plato's own developed metaphysical theory, which is put into the mouth of Socrates, the Crito depends for its successful appeal on the conventions of rhetoric, not upon formal logic. Because Plato dresses his own revolutionary notion of political virtue in the language of Athenian politics, modern readers make the mistake of assuming that the Crito is a straightforward treatise in which its author sets out the views of his mentor with historical accuracy.
Contents: The Nature of Law - The Strategy of Defense.