Socrates While reading Platos Meno, Euthyphro, apology, and Crito, it became apparent that Socrates held very strong beliefs about the relationship between law and morality. Socrates makes it clear about the reasons laws should be or not be followed. He also clarifies his stand on why laws should be followed and why disobedience to the law is rarely justified. Socrates views humanity in the context that anybody is capable of wrongdoing. He continues with the elaboration that even returning an injury upon oneself is wrong. Socrates then makes a connection between the city and morality.

If one is acting without the citys allowance, one is doing wrong toward the city and its laws. Behaving wrongly towards the people is also doing wrong against the city. The wrongdoing would become a way of destroying the cities laws, and hurting citizens in the process. Socrates compares this relationship to that of how a child should not cause harm to his parents. By doing so you disrespect the laws within the city.

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Causing harm to your father would lead to conviction; further illustrating the fact that wrong against the law is a wrong against everybody who abides by that law. Socrates follows this by examining what each citizen is taught. From birth you are told to obey laws. You were brought to life from your mother and father and thus you should respect and obey the rules that they do. But the cities laws were there before you mother and father, and are therefor equally if not more important than the laws of your mother and father.

The citys law should be respected at least as equally as ones parents should. Socrates then goes on to explain that you do not have the same rights as your parents. Because they have taught what is right and wrong, it is immoral to treat your parents as they treat you. Your parents must have a higher position than you because they taught you. This thought is then extended to the city with the quote One must obey the commands of ones city and country, or persuade it as to the nature of justice.

It is impious to bring violence to bear against your mother or father, it is much more so to use it against you country. (Crito, 46) One should obey your parents, but more important is the city. Because the city was that which has taught your ancestors and your parents, it must be superior to them. The cities laws being superior to your mother or father, should be respected and followed. Socrates explains his thoughts of the city and its rules as the nature of life.

We were welcomed into the world by the city so it is immoral to fight against it. The laws should be accepted and followed. But one should not obey a law just because it is a law. What is moral has been taught to us by our parents, and to them from the city. It is their opinion that will tell us if our actions are moral or not.

However, one aspect of the city and its laws is that you are not forced to do as it dictates. As Socrates explains, you have two options, to obey the law or not. But in regards to Socrates opinion, it is not anothers opinion to decide what is right and wrong for us. But just as children argue with their parents, one doesnt have to do everything that he is told to. It is an immoral life to follow others opinions about morality. From Euthyphro Socrates opinion on how disobedience can be justified is shown. When Euthyhro accuses his father of murder, he states I say that the pious to do what I am doing now, to prosecute the wrongdoer, be it about murder or temple robbery or anything else, whether the wrongdoer is your father or your mother or anyone else; not to prosecute is impious.

(Euthyphro, 22) In this case, Socrates is defending himself. He doesnt believe in all the Gods ideas and is justifying his opinion. He has similar thoughts about morality when he states I find it hard to accept things like that being said about the gods, and it is likely to be the reason why I shall be told I do wrong. (Euthyphro, 22) After being told by the Oracle the he was the wisest, he set out to prove the oracle wrong. He talked to everybody only to find that those who were supposed to be the wisest knew the least.

This examination leads to the belief that parents just teach their children without any knowledge about what they are teaching. The city finds Socrates guilty of the charges of corrupting the young and not believing in the gods whom the city believes. This lends to the thought that the only reason one should believe in Gods is because the city does. But Socrates is on a continual search for knowledge. It is apparent that he does not believe the same way that the city does. From his point of view, both the disobedience of the law and the civil disobedience behind it was justifiable.


Socrates What is the meaning of Justice? So the way I take it, there is not an agreeable set definition. I think this undefined meaning of Justice is still prevalent in the society of today, looking at the different ways so called Justice is brought and used throughout society. Throughout my life, I have seen and heard through news and media, many different examples of justice in our society, but for the most part they are not similar or set in all ways. Criminals that commit the same exact crime might be issued differing sentences, depending on factors such as gender, age or even status in society. Examples of this sort of injustice are seen almost daily, considering the crime filled world to which we live. An example of this could be rape or molestation.

A man and a woman that both commit this crime would probably receive different sentences, in most cases, the man would get more time. But is this fair, are we being just in issuing unjust sentences like these? Status examples are also widely seen, cases where a famous or well known person might get off easy, because of who he or she is. To me, this seems a very unjust act, because I feel all people should be considered all the same when being tried. As for my opinion, I can’t quite put a label on justice. I might see a court case verdict, and say to myself Justice has been served, but I say this not because I know exactly what justice is, but because I feel the right choice was made.

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I think that my outlook on justice might be the same that our society accepts. Justice is making the right choice. The problem with this is that the person making the choice, is not always the best one to make the right choice. But because the person deciding justice has the given power in a situation, let’s hope and assume that they were put there for a reason. Because they are just persons who make just choices.

In conclusion, through this paper, I have brought up and shared some of my views and those that Socrates and friends have on Justice. I have looked for a definition to fit the meaning of justice by examining The Republic and my own personal experience with justice throughout life. In the end, just like Socrates, I have come to find no set definition of justice, only basic thoughts and opinions. So I guess justice will have to be solved in the future. For now, I just hope that the people put in charge of justice in our country were put there for a reason, and hopefully will do their jobs right.

This is just in case I might need The right Justice on my side. Philosophy.


Socrates Socrates arguments that it would be wrong to escape from prison is as follows. In Critos, Socrates explains to his friend Crito that escaping from prison would go against many of the thins that he (Socrates) believes in; seeking virtue, seeking the truth, not repaying an evil with another evil, obeying the laws of the state and so on. He has lived by, and has fought for these beliefs in his life. In part those are the reasons he is in prison. It is because he believes in those things that he will not escape.

Even if it seems that he has been wronged. Socrates will not give up what he believes in order to live a few more years. He believes that living honorably and seeking virtue are the most important thins in life and life is not worth living if he must stop seeking the truth. In the first argument Crito tries to convince Socrates to escape by telling him that, “The world will never believe that we were anxious to save you but that you yourself refused to escape.”(22-23 Johnson) He tries to tell Socrates that if he does not escape then people will blame his friends for not helping him escape. He also tells him that his friends will be hurt by his death and that by not escaping his enemies will majority of the people think.

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What they think does not matter, it is what the few that right. Socrates also tells him that if he does escape then everything what he has said and believed in the pas would be a lie and then he would be proving his enemies right. By not escaping he shows them that they are the ones who are doing wrong. Another reason that Socrates gives for not wanting to escape from prison is that ” .. .we ought never to do wrong at all.”(26 Johnson) Socrates reminded Crito of things that they had discussed in the past, one of which was wrongdoing.

Socrates reminds him that one should never repay a wrong with a wrong. He says that even though it might be wrong for him to be sentence to death, he will not do something wrong in order to correct his situation. He says that escaping is wrong so he will not do it. This goes back to what he said earlier in the argument. He stated, ” ..

.we should set the highest value no on living, but on living well.”(25 Johnson) Socrates goes on to say that escape is also wrong because he would be disobeying the laws of the Athenian government by escaping from prison. And by disobeying the laws of the Athenian government he would also be disobeying God. He says that it is against the law of God to use violence against your father or mother; and that it is much worse to use violence against your country (27 Johnson). He explains how Athens gave him an education, marriage, protection, and so many other things. But now that Athens wants to enforce the law he is not willing to accept it. He tells Crito that we have to obey the law, if not there will be anarchy. He again reminded Crito of the things that they talked about in the past and asks him if all those things had been true.

Crito finally agrees and he accepts Socrates fate. I think that Socrates is just trying to make his life seem full filled. He wants to show that his life was not a waste of time and that his ideas on life were valid and correct. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would agree that it would be wrong for Socrates to escape from prison.

The reason is, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. explains one of the four basic steps in nonviolent campaigns. He states, “one who breaks an unjust law must do so willingly so openly, lovingly, and willingness to accept the penalty.” (479, King) Dr. King like Socrates believed in laws and agreed that they are necessary to avoid anarchy.

The difference between Dr. King and Socrates is that Socrates did not think that the laws were just or unjust he just believed that one should obey the laws of the country. If I were in Socrates predicament I would have escaped. Dr. King pointed out that there are two kinds of laws, just and unjust laws.

“a unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself .. a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that is willing to follow itself” (King) Socrates just believes that we should just obey the laws no matter what. Philosophy Essays.


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