Dialectic in Action. An examination of Plato's Crito
By Michael C. Stokes
ISBN-13: 978-0-9543845-9-3 ISBN-10: 0-9543845-9-8, hardback, x+246 pp., 2005, GB £45.00

The author: Michael Stokes' previous writings include One and Many in Presocratic Philosophy, Plato's Socratic Conversations: Drama and Dialectic in Three Dialogues, and Plato's Apology.

Plato's Crito examines a single moral decision, whether Socrates ought to escape from his death-cell. Stokes' book discusses Socrates' arguments against Crito's offer of escape. It construes Socrates' questions as genuine questions, which clarify and undermine Crito's positions. Stokes's approach avoids the 'documentary fallacy'; it shows how Plato catered for both the novice and the experienced reader of his published works. This books offers a fresh account of Socrates' whole strategy. It demonstrates both the shakiness of Socrates' persuasion of the un-philosophical Crito to engage in dialectic, and the coherence of his substantive confutation. Plato's reasoning emerges from Stokes' study with more credit than many have given it.


"the monograph contains much that is worth considering and much th^t is highly persuasive both in the details and in its general tendency. It will be a sourcebook for everyone interested in this short dialogue's overall aim and in its hidden difficulties, made more accessible by careful annotations, a comprehensive bibliography, an index of names, Greek words and phrases, and an index of topics."

- D, Frede Phronesis 53, 2008, pp93-123


1. Introduction
2. Crito's personal character
3. Crito's worldly case
4. Crito's overtly moral argument
5. Socrates' attack: first wave
6. Socrates' strategy
7. Socrates' second wave
8. Socrates' lead-in to the Laws
9. The arguments of the Laws
10. The dialogue's conclusion
Appendix: A philosophical argument against escape?
Index of proper names
Index of Greek words and phrases
Index of topics