To justify Socrates’ decision to stay in prison according to the law and obey even the unjust punishment that was given to him by his accusers or to escape from the prison is an issue that has been for debates for long. Socrates was sure to obey the law and accepted the punishment of drinking the poison. Here Plato wants to give the laws its own voice and discriminate it as a separate distinctiveness, trying to make it something close to human where it is believed that Socrates’ punishment is unjust.
By going through the dialogues between Socrates and Crito, I disagree with Crito and believe that Socrates as right in abiding by the law and accepting the punishment of drinking the poison. Socrates had his own philosophy and reasons in going by the law and Crito tried his best to persuade him to escape from the prison. Argument between Socrates and Crito Crito said that by accepting the unjust punishment Socrates was in fact siding with his accusers for which Socrates replies that if he escapes from the prison he will be acting against the just law and also against people.
He said that if the laws are just and people unjust and both give out the same decision then he must obey the law even if it is ot justified humanly. He was not willing to side against the people because people were his strength and he had accepted the punishment for them. Crito does not believe that if Socrates does not abide by the law it will lead to social destruction and says that a single proceed of noncompliance would be negligible when compared to the justified movements by Socrates in future. Socrates speaks honestly and in a straightforward manner and also indicates Crito that he might face some problems after his death.
Socrates gave a new way of belief to philosophy. His teachings are still inspiring for lots of scholars and many philosophers were influenced by his views. Socrates believed in justice and for this he even offered his life. According to his friends and followers the punishment he received was morally wrong but Socrates believed that roaming about from town to town would bring him nothing and he was not ready to disobey the law as the law of Athens had protected him throughout his life. There are moral authorities and their principles should be first and foremost based on protecting human rights.
Socrates believed that justice was good and good can be accomplished with the help of self-knowledge by anyone. Socrates was punished because of a social contract, which he himself had accepted and according to that he had to abide by the law and accept the punishment. In fact this idea of a contract between an individual and the entire legal system has a great impact on the modern political system and the world even today. There are some rights as well as duties of people in society towards it and the ‘social contract’ here refers to the unishment Socrates received and his belief in abiding by the law because he said that law is just.
He believed that man should do ‘good’ even to his enemies and also that knowledge leads to goodness in man. Plato states Socrates views that ‘morality based on absolute truth or rules is probably not adaptable to practical situations’. Socrates also believed that a good man never harmed anyone and advised wrong doers to find cure of their evil ways and become good. The only thing is that one should try and change self and this is attained through self-knowledge.
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