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Socrates On Athenian Law And Obedience

1559 words - 6 pages

Socrates said in a dialogue with Crito: "You must either persuade [your country] or obey its orders, and endure in silence whatever it instructs you to endure... leads you into was to be wounded or killed, you must obey" (Crito 51b). Socrates believed this argument for the following reasons: 1) as a member of a society, each citizen had a responsibility and obligation to obey the laws of their society, 2) because the society gave you an education and family, you owe obedience to that society and finally 3) by remaining in that society and being aware of its laws the citizen agrees to follow its rules and is therefore a contract. Some exceptions Socrates makes are: 1) why it is okay to break the law if it's contrary to the law of a higher being 2) and a contract is invalid if it's coerced or forced onto you. This essay will cover Socrates arguments of laws and a citizen's responsibility to them with few exceptions.The first argument Socrates makes about obeying law is that every citizen has an obligation to the society they live in to obey its laws. The laws are to be more honored than your mother or father (Crito 51a). He also argues that to bring violence or disobedience to your country is seen as more dishonor than disrespecting your patents (Crito 51c). Socrates believed that you were not only a product of your parents, but because you were raised in Athens, you were also a servant to Athens as were your parents and their parents before them (Crito 50e).Furthermore to Socrates argument about responsibility to one's societies laws is that your society gave you birth, education and nurturing and all a share of all the good things it could (Crito 51d). If someone were to become rich because of the land they own, that land belonged to Athens and therefore it was Athens that made them rich. Because of this you owe your good fortune to Athens and have an obligation to Athens, that being to follow its laws. The land gave you fortune and therefore you should respect the laws that allow for your fortune.Socrates arguments are that once a man has reached manhood and therefore had become aware of the customs/laws of the society, he has had the opportunity to leave the society if he didn't like the rules. He argues that there have not been any laws that did not permit the citizen from leaving and going elsewhere (Crito 51d). Therefore, Socrates argues, by remaining, the person has agreed to follow the customs of that society and is therefore in a contract to obey the laws, "Not one of our laws raises any obstacle or forbids him, if he is not satisfied with us or the city, if one of you wants to go and live in a colony or wants to go anywhere else, and keep his property" (Crito 51e). Socrates also contends that they society "only propose things, we do not issue savage commands to do whatever we order; we give two alternatives, either to persuade us or to do what we say" (Crito 52a). Socrates in this case states that the country has to be persuaded to...

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