Socrates, Obedience and the Law Essay by lithium

Socrates, Obedience and the Law
A look at Socrates' civil obedience from the "Apology" and the "Crito".
# 46017 | 2,804 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2003 | CA

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This paper examines how Socrates, born in 470 or 469 BC and executed at the age of 70, presents how one can act solely on the grounds of his belief and dedicate the life for the ultimate values. It discusses whether his refusal to obey the city's orders were contradictory to his idea of obedience to the laws. Contrary to the view that sees Socrates as a defender of civil disobedience, it also argues that Socrates is a true defender of the laws who has dedicated the life for the active practice of the citizenship, using his acute reason and knowledge. It also shows how Socrates is different from conventional civil disobedients, such as Ghandi, and Martin Luther King Jr.

From the Paper:

"Socrates' refusals to participate in the trial of the ten generals, and the arrest of Leon the Salaminian are in fact clear examples of Socrates' use of reason in political decision. During the time when Socrates served as a member of the Council because it was his tribe's turn, the city ordered the presiding committee to form the body of the ten generals to rescue Athenian survivors in the naval battle (Apology 32a-b). Socrates reasoned that the city's order was illegal, so voted against it (Apology 32b). The orators were ready to prosecute him, but he argued that he would risk the death, rather than follow the city's order (Apology 32c). He also refused to obey the city's order to bring Leon from Salamis in order to prosecute him. He reasoned that prosecuting Leon is illegal because his guilt was manipulated by the city. Some people might think that it is ironical to disobey the city's order for the sake of the laws."

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