At the end of his Crito, Plato imagines the Laws of Athens addressing Socrates, giving him reasons why he should not break of out jail and avoid execution. This lecture probes not only the content of the Laws’ argument, but also the very notion that the Laws might address us, offering reasons and thereby inviting challenge. This notion suggests that integral to justice is a sort of rational intimacy between the law and its adherents. This account of justice, I argue, is implicit in Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and the upshot of tracing this out is an account of civil disobedience as rooted in the desire not simply for new or others laws, but for a more intimate relationship with law.
Joshua Daniel graduated from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 2013. Since then he has taught religious studies and philosophy courses at various Chicago-area colleges and universities. His area of scholarly interest is philosophical and religious ethics.