The Right and Wrong of Breaking the Law Essay by Paramount

The Right and Wrong of Breaking the Law
An examination of the philosophy of Plato with reference to following or breaking the law.
# 9852 | 1,325 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Jan 31, 2003 in Philosophy (Ancient Greek) , Philosophy (Ethics)

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This paper looks at Plato's writing "Apology" and how it addresses the question of the morality of following or breaking laws. The writer asks whether it is immoral to break a law or if it only becomes immoral once the law broken also breaks a moral code. This question is discussed and analyzed in detail with reference to Plato's teachings.

From the Paper:

"The law is a code created by man, with this code attempting to represent what is right and what is wrong. Yet there is sometimes a gap between what the law sees as wrong and what is morally wrong. Just as man is fallible, the laws created are fallible. This is recognized in Plato's Apology where Socrates says that, "human wisdom has little or no value" (Plato, Apology 23a). The fact that laws change over time is also a reflection of this, since if laws were definitely correct, they would remain fixed. In the end, an individual must distinguish between what is morally correct and what is lawfully correct. Socrates says that he would " any risk on the side of law and justice rather than join you, for fear of prison or death, when you were engaged in an unjust course" (Plato, Apology 32b). This is Socrates statement showing he selects the morally correct path, rather than the morally incorrect path that the law dictates. In Crito it is described how the good moral path is the path that must be taken, "the most important thing is not life, but the good life... And the good life, the beautiful life, and the just life are the same"(Plato, Crito 48b)."

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