The Instigator
Jesus-V
Pro (for)
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0 Points
The Contender
kochj10
Con (against)
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0 Points

Should Socrates have 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: 582 times Debate No: 31027
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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Jesus-V

Pro

Should Socrates have drank the hemlock, to an average everyday person the answer would obviously be no, but to Socrates a man who thrived on his ability to question everything the answer was yes. To say the man was crazy wouldn't be much of a reach but at that point you would have to look at his teachings and see that this man showed nothing but consistency and belief that everything he stated was true. His trial was unfair and corrupt to say the least, but he drank the hemlock because the alternative was to break out of prison which would have made him a criminal and a pariah anywhere he went not to mention contradict everything he had taught. In his mind he would be a hypocrite and be no better than the Sophists who had put him on trial to begin with, so to him the only option was to accept the punishment so he could die as an example that he would rather die the way he lived than to run and become what he thought was wrong with the world. All his choice did was show the type of man he was and the type of life he lived.
kochj10

Con

What is an average person? Am I so average to believe what he had done was wrong? NO! You too are average to believe he was meant to drink the hemlock. If Socrates was living to be consistent with his work, would he not be working to get his point across? Alive, without the hemlock he would have been able to continue to preaching his work. Is it really so crazy to strive towards life? Towards greatness? Is this not the same man who exposed life to questioning things? In escaping, he could have claimed a cult following awry from Athens. In this sense we can compare Socrates to Jesus. To make a splash, or statement one must surpass the "norm". Jesus came back to life, Socrates was accused, tried, and killed shortly after writing his letters. Today we seem to speak of Jesus moreover Socrates. Not because Jesus sprang back to life necessarily, but because Socrates died and rotted out. Had he escaped and lived, then us Christians could be praying to Socrates rather Jesus. Had Socrates made his decision to not drink the hemlock and make his mark, nearly 500 years earlier than Jesus was claimed to walk the earth, he would have made a larger impact then his decision to drink the hemlock.
Debate Round No. 1
Jesus-V

Pro


While I agree that my judgement of an average person was unjust and a generalization, saying that he should have escaped and continued to spread everything he believed, wasn't even a thought in his mind as is stated in The Crito "… if you had wished you might at your trial have offered to go into exile. At that time you could have done with the state's consent what you are trying to do now without it. But then you glorified in being willing to die: You said that you preferred death to exile." The decision to either go free or to die was made the second the punishment was laid down, Socrates knew based on the life he had lived and his beliefs that there was no other option. Had he escaped and obviously not drank the hemlock, what would lead you to believe that people would have listened to his arguments if at that point he would have been labeled a fraud and hypocrite. Socrates constantly spoke that if a man stayed in Athens passed 18 then he agreed to live by the laws set forth before him and in turn follow the judgements and punishments handed down. Wouldn't you question his credibility if at the first chance he had to prove that what he was stating and teaching wasn't just words, he up and broke his verbal contract to live as an Athenian.


kochj10

Con

When you stated, that "if a man stayed in Athens past 18, then he agreed to live by the laws set forth before him and in turn follow the judgement and punishments handed down." Oh how I do know this to be fact. This meant that Socrates knew he was breaking the law, and although his untimely death was consistent with his life of honor, he knew at one point preaching his word to the children and people of Athens. He too in turn would be punished. With that knowledge, we now understand how Socrates was willing to break the law as continuing with his preaching, how could this be found consistent with his life? He ALSO stated in The Apology "But I shall be asked, why do people delight in continually conversing with you? I have told you already, Athenians, the whole truth about this: they like to hear the cross-examination of the pretenders to wisdom; there is amusement in this." Meaning he knew he was not listened to, he knew where he was taking this practice, and if he is so wise, he should have known, moreover that the hemlock was coming. To continue to break the law, and once faced with penalties, to vow against breaking the law, I find his claims to wisdom to be fraud. I question him more with the decision of drinking, than the opposing choices. Had he lived, and escaped, he could have set forth for people to listen to him, had he not found that, he should have lived in solitude, for he was the only one preaching and listening to his own work at the time.
Debate Round No. 2
Jesus-V

Pro


Your argument that he should have lived in solitude and not share his message if no one was listening to him is a valid point but also In The Apology Socrates stated this "For if I tell you that this would be a disobedience to a divine command, and therefore that I cannot hold my tongue, you will not believe that I am serious; and if I say again that the greatest good of man is daily to converse about virtue, and all that concerning which you hear me examining myself and others, and that the life which is unexamined is not worth living - that you are still less likely to believe." Socrates didn't want to live in solitude or have his voice silenced because he believed his message and his job to spread it was given to him divinely and to be silent would in a sense be going against god. The thing was not only did Socrates see his being judged to die a punishment for him but also to those who voted for him to die as once again he stated in The Apology, "And now I depart hence condemned by you to suffer the penalty of death, and they, too, go their ways condemned by the truth to suffer the penalty of villainy and wrong; and I must abide by my award - let them abide by theirs. I suppose that these things may be regarded as fated, - and I think that they are well." Socrates believed in fate, destiny and that things happen for specific reasons, so he accepted death and how it came about because he believed it was his fate and who was he to question that, his death served as his ultimate fate, as a punishment to those who condemned an innocent man.


kochj10

Con

Ah, yes, my argument is a very valid one indeed, so much for you to notice. Socrates made his final decisions during his trial to stay and drink the hemlock, Indeed a very foolish choice. His ideas and beliefs stretched beyond his boundaries living in Athens, and living in Athens held him down as a Philosopher. He did not want his voice silenced, so this man drinks Hemlock and silences it? Man of his word I think not! The knowledge Socrates held, far exceeded the knowledge he used. Had he escaped the Hemlock, silently left the city of Athens, he could practice in either solitude, or among his followers. In the Apology he says, "Reflecting that i was really too honest a man to follow in this way and live..." Socrates reflecting on a mistake? Simple solution to our problems here, decisions can be made and yet they could be incorrect, Socrates however clever a man, did not use his wit and oppositions to figure out his people were against him.
If Socrates was willing to stay in Athens at the age of 18, continue with his life of questioning everything, and getting in other peoples business, sure enough he knew what he was getting himself into. Willing to break the law, and once his sentence is heard must play noble? He already stirred the pot and got his ideas across, whoever wanted to listen had already heard. He should not have drank the Hemlock, he was better off in Exile.
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.