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hzkhtnnr
Con (against)
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The Contender
Rey
Pro (for)
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If Socrates should or shouldn't have drank the hemlock

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/7/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,072 times Debate No: 31048
Debate Rounds (3)
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hzkhtnnr

Con

Socrates had no reason to consume the hemlock. In "The Apology" Socrates proved himself not guilty of the crimes placed upon himself, spreading the belief of atheism and corrupting the youth. He proved through clever ambiguity that he never has been an atheist or did he spread the belief of atheism to the youth. And as for corrupting the youth, he proved that he merely offered new ideologies to just as any great philosopher before him has done. Therefore, for what viable reason to consume the hemlock? None, therefore he should have never had to have drank the hemlock and die for crimes he did not commit
Rey

Pro

Socrates only has three options in this matter. He has one, the option of drinking the hemlock, two the option of escaping, or three the option of exile. In "The Crito: Socrates' Refusal to Escape" it is discussed that if he were to escape form jail that he would be showing the children Athens that it is okay to disobey the law there for he would be corrupting the youth; "For a man who is a subverter of law may well be supposed to be a corrupter of the young and the thoughtless." Furthermore during his trial Socrates has said that he preferred death to exile, meaning his only option now is death.
Socrates does have a viable reason to consume the hemlock because he has nothing to fear in death. In fact he embraces it. In "The Phaedo: Virtue and Socrates' View of Death" it is discussed that with death come the separation of the body and the soul which to a true philosopher is something to rejoice because "for the body is a source of endless trouble to us by reason of the mere requirement of food; and is liable also to diseases ...it fills us with love, and lusts, and fears and fancies of all kinds..."
Debate Round No. 1
hzkhtnnr

Con

It is very true that Socrates embraces death, and that his moral code would not allow him to escape from prison due to adhering to the charges placed upon him; it does not make the choice anymore sound? There an major difference between embracing the idea of something and taking the action. Just because Socrates embraces the idea of death and does not fear it, does not mean that he needs to take his own life in this situation.
This type of action that Socrates had committed, in the way that you have described them as, to would be a very extreme form of civil disobedience. Though in order for civil disobedience to take place, you have to have been wrong in some way shape or form. The only wrong done to Socrates is the fact that the city of Athens put him in prison and placed false charges against him. Socrates proved himself innocent of his charges, what justification is their for Socrates to commit suicide as he did?
Note, I don't label Socrates' death as a death sentence or death penalty but a suicide. A death sentence is given to those who commit horrendous crimes against society and the best punishment for their crimes is to be sentence to death, whether it be by euthanasia or hemlock or electric chair. Socrates, as proved in "The Apology" committed no crimes against Athens, so why was he put to "death" of his own free will?
No matter whether he embraced the idea of dying to be good or bad or felt indifferent of it, it still no need for one to voluntarily act on these ideals. Socrates had no reason to kill himself as he did
Rey

Pro

What other choice did have then to drink the hemlock? As I said previously if he were to escape then he would be proving the judges right and would be corrupting the youth. Socrates said that he preferred death to exile and even if he did not, then this situation would more then likely repeat itself in another city. Also as said in "The Crito: Socrates' Refusal to Escape" 'You might go to one of the neighboring states ... but, Socrates , you will come as an enemy to these governments, and all who care for their city will look askance at you, and think that you are a subverter of the law.' The fact that Socrates stayed in Athens all of his life means that he has a social contract with Athens, to run away would break that contract. Socrates had a fair trial, he had his trial in front of the public, was given a chance to speak and in the end he was still sentenced to death. Due to his social contract, due to the fact that he did not run away, he must go by the decision that is given to him. Due to all of this Socrates was obligated to kill himself.
Debate Round No. 2
hzkhtnnr

Con

It is true that under the social contract, as you stated, he was obligated to kill himself. However, the idea brought up of the fair trial is hardly true. In "The Apology" finds the contradictions in the claims made by the city of Athens against himself. He disproves his charges of being an atheist and teaching atheism to the youth as well as corrupting the youth. However, at the end of his trial, he was still sentenced to death after having proved himself innocent? yet Athenian law system had wronged him. And under the social contract that every Athenian is obliged to it claims "Yet we proclaim that if any man of the Athenians is dissatisfied with us, he may take his goods and go away wherever he pleases; we give that privilege to every man who chooses to avail himself to it,..." Under this social contract due to the injustice received upon him by the Athenian contract in which he follows, he now has a creditable means of logic for fleeing Athens and going where he likes.
Though it is true that he may undergo similar circumstances wherever he chooses to migrate to, he is still alive to spread his ideas and teachings among those that are willing and/or able to receive them. With his socially contracted obliged suicide, we are left with only few of the scripts and teachings received by others from him. We have no literature from himself to pass his teachings on to other generations. That in itself is an injustice which could now never be reversed.
This is why Socrates should have never drank the hemlock.
Rey

Pro

Regardless of whether the trial was truly fair or not is irrelevant. You have just agreed that he is obligated to kill himself and even if due to the social contract he is now allowed to leave due to the injustice of the Athens government, by that time it is to late. The trial is over, he has already been given his sentence. Think of this, as you said Socrates disproved that he was an atheist because he believes in demigods there for meaning he believes in gods seeing as how demigods are the children of gods. Socrates said that everything he does is because of a divine spirit he listens too. If his divine spirit has not told him to run then not only is he obligated to kill himself by the state then at this point it is the will of god.
While it is truly a shame that we may not have everything of Socrates and his teachings, but we do have some or else he would not be mentioned in philosophy classes. However whether that itself be an injustice has no direct effect on whether or not he should have drank the hemlock. Fact of that matter is he was given a fair trial, was seen as guilty and due to his social contract was obligated to kill himself therefore he did. Whether it be a suicide or a death sentence he was sentenced to death so one way or another it had to be done.
Debate Round No. 3
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