The Instigator
alisondc
Pro (for)
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The Contender
LadyAshleyS
Con (against)
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0 Points

Should Have Socrates Drank the Hemlock?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/7/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 962 times Debate No: 31038
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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alisondc

Pro


Socrates should have drunk the hemlock. In David Hume's "On Suicide", Hume writes "It would be no crime in me to divert the Nile or Danube from its course[...], where then is the crime of turning a few ounces of blood from their natural channel," basically stating that although many people are scared of death it should be widely accepted as it is normal and it is part of the natural order of life, as Hume states earlier in his writing, "nature still continues her progress and operation". First off, Socrates was neither against nor afraid of death, as he stated in many occasions. Secondly, Socrates also agreed with Hume, since he strongly believed that death was extremely natural and not wrong as he said "those of us who think that death is in evil are in error." In addition, Socrates stated in his Apology that he was "advanced in years [...], and not far from death", meaning that because he was such an old man, he was practically on the verge of dying so even if he had not drank the Hemlock he would’ve died soon anyway.


LadyAshleyS

Con

You have strong points but I disagree on your argument. Socrates should not have drunk the hemlock. To start off, Socrates was wrongfully accused for the corruption of youth which was nowhere near his intentions. How could Socrates possibly corrupt the youth if the god of Delphi was used to support his arguments? During his lengthy and prolonged trial, the charges against him could not be fully proven. Yet, without sufficient evidence, the philosopher was still found guilty for something he did not intend to do nor commit. Although Socrates did not fear death, he would have preferred a natural death rather than a death that was forced and strained upon him. At such an old age, any man would have chosen to die calmly and peacefully next to his family and beloved ones rather than to have died in front of hundreds of people that hated him for supposedly becoming a bad influence on young children. Socrates supported his arguments to a full extent however, the jury was not buying it. His accusations led to his forceful and obligated death which is why drinking the poison was not the smartest thing to do.
Debate Round No. 1
alisondc

Pro

I agree with you when you say he was wrongly accused of the corruption of the youth. However, this accusation left him with only a few options. Had he refused to drink the hemlock, his only other choices were to either be taken off to jail or exiled from his home. As Socrates is a philosopher, what place is jail for a man of his kind? He would be treated wrongly and horribly in jail as everyone would know what he is locked away for. He would have been mocked and tortured, and even worse, he would be trapped and have no escape! As for being exiled, as his other option, it would not be much different as being jailed. He would move on city to city being treated just as horrible. After the accusations of corrupting the youth, who would want to communicate with this man? Every city he would travel to after such an accusation would practically shun him and would act as if he does not exist. As Socrates stated in his Apology, he was an older man, therefore not far from death. At that point I believe all the options after being wrongly accused are not very far from each other. However, I still stand by my opinion and still believe that Socrates should have drank the hemlock because it would have ended the torture the older man would have to suffer through if he lived still.
LadyAshleyS

Con

You say that Socrates was "not far from death" at such an old age, however, how can you be so sure his death was right around the corner? There is no valid evidence that states Socrates was to die within minutes after his lengthy trial. I couldn"t agree more that he was an old man, but no one was to predict and foresee into the future declaring his death would actually come within days, possibly hours.
Socrates should not have drunk the hemlock because drinking it made the strong, intelligent, and clever philosopher perceive as a weak individual. Not only a weak soul, but in doing so he looked like a frail and delicate coward that contradicted many of his words that he discussed throughout the years.
David Hume stated that stated that "all animals are entrusted to their own prudence and skill for their conduct in the world; and have full authority"" Socrates had the option and choice to live or to die; unfortunately he made the wrong choice. However, as indicated in my first argument he was under the spotlight, under the pressure, and was basically forced to his own death; a form of suicide that the victim did not want to perform. Although Hume mentioned we have "full authority", that authority can simply be subtracted and belittled by the surroundings of the individual; in this case, the accused and the accusers.
Socrates never wanted to die; he wanted his voice to be heard and his words to be understood. Society on the other hand viewed him as the sinner and the bad influence amongst the young.
Debate Round No. 2
alisondc

Pro

You say I have no valid evidence as to how old Socrates is but he brings up the relation between his age to how close he is to dying various times in his Apology, therefore making it clear that either he was an older man or close to the age where most people died back in ancient greek times. For example, after being sentenced to death, he states to the members in his presence, "If you had waited a little while, your desire would have been fulfilled in the course of nature; for I am far advanced in years, and not far from death." Notice his use of the phrase "waited a little while" and the words "far advanced in years". Although no specific age was given, Socrates indeed admitted his age range many times. This is why I still stand by my opinion in that Socrates should have drank the Hemlock because, as he said, he was not far from death anyway and he would’ve rather died right away than live a life, even a short one, full of injustice.
Now you say Socrates never wanted to die. I believe this is true simply because not many people would prefer to die than to live. However, after the innocent Socrates was accused, he stated that he would indeed rather die. Under the given circumstances, he rather die knowing he is not guilty than live as if he is guilty! In the Apology, he says, “The difficulty is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death,’ implying that he did not fear death at all, what he most feared was the fact that he would’ve been seen as a man who was falsely accused for the remainder of his life. I do not agree with you when you say he made the wrong choice, for he had many choices, he just chose an option that made the most sense to him. In fact, Socrates believed he was meant to die. He mentions the Oracle in the Apology, basically saying that if he was not meant to perish the Oracle would’ve told him so or thrown events and obstacles in his path that would have prevented his ultimate death. In regards to the Oracle he says, “It made no sign of opposition, […] in nothing I either said or did touching this matter has the oracle opposed me. I regard this as proof that what has happened to me is a good, and that those of us who think that death is an evil are in error.” He even reiterates his feelings towards death, that it is nothing to be opposed. For these reasons, I believe Socrates should have drunk the Hemlock.

LadyAshleyS

Con

I never said you did not have evidence of his age, I said you do not have evidence that his death was soon to come. In your argument you state that Socrates" age was an age that most people died back then in Ancient Greek timings, however, what if Socrates was one of the lucky ones that was able to live just a little longer than the average death age?
If you know you are innocent why would you proceed to killing yourself? Socrates tried so hard to prove his innocence. He provided sufficient evidence that indicated and demonstrated he was never trying to corrupt the youth. If Socrates wanted to die, why did he continue using his arguing skills throughout the whole trial?
I personally believe that Socrates drank the hemlock to silence the jury and the accusers. Now that he has died what more can they possibly say about the philosopher? And what more chargers can be thrown at him? He did not have to kill himself and he did not want to either.
In The Apology Socrates said that "" if you think that by killing men you can avoid the accuser censoring your lives, you are mistaken; that is not that way of escape which is either possible or honorable"". The accusers wanted Socrates dead for the supposed corruption of the youth, if Socrates indeed did commit this act, death was not the way out of it. He believed that death was the easy way out of it, in other words, the easiest punishment of all.
Towards the end of his argument, Socrates said that "no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death". Again Socrates continues to prove his innocence even at the ending of the trial where he already knows the outcome of the case and his sentencing. He states he is a good man and that no evil should come his way. Yet, he drank the hemlock because disobeying the city"s law and the Athians was something no one dared to do; not even Socrates. He had no other choice but to take his own life.
In conclusion, the only reason Socrates drank the hemlock to his death was because he was pressured and forced to do so. Also because he himself knew he was innocent and by killing himself he had silence the accusers, the jury, and all those that never had faith in him. Even after death, Socrates still won the trial in his own personal way.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 3 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
You should both drink the hemlock.
No votes have been placed for this debate.