The Instigator
malaika56
Pro (for)
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The Contender
ogunnowow
Con (against)
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Should Socrates have drank the hemlock ?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/27/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 992 times Debate No: 30766
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
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malaika56

Pro

Intro - Is death not the ultimate separation of the body from the soul? Socrates believed that a true philosopher would agree to this question. He states "that a real philosopher should be of good cheer when he is about to die. So, I question you, and ask "Should Socrates have drank the hemlock?
ogunnowow

Con

Socrates claims, "No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death"" Here Socrates is explaining that the evils of the earth such as death, poverty, and illnesses are not actually evils because he says in "The Phaedo: Virtue and Socrates" View of Death" that the goal of a "true philosopher" would be to get away, "as far as he can, get away from his body and turn to the soul." Now recognize when I highlight the term soul; Socrates makes it clear that he is very concerned about his soul, and not much about the body. Long story short, Socrates should not have drank the hemlock, and this I will explain in the other rounds.
Debate Round No. 1
malaika56

Pro

Socrates does place a large amount of his beliefs to gaining of truth through shedding the flesh and embracing your soul. But, what best way to do this then to die. While you are alive you can attempt to gain this knowledge however you will have obstacles. Socrates states, in the Phaedo: Virtue and Socrates "View of Death, "What shall we say of the actual acquirement of knowledge? - is the body hinderer or a helper? I mean to say, have sight and hearing any truth is them, Are they not, as the poets are always telling us inaccurate witnesses? ".. He also states for in attempting to consider anything in company with the body she (the soul) is obviously deceived "Socrates drank the hemlock considering only his soul as any true philosopher would.
ogunnowow

Con

It"s not a secret that the laws the government made were unjust, and they were convicting an innocent man claimed to be the wisest by the god of Delphi; who the state believed in. Now Since Socrates knew, that the state was being unjust, why didn"t Socrates fight to stay alive, and continue to speak the words of the philosophy he spoke so highly of?
Going back to what I stated in my introduction about Socrates" view on how the soul is the only one that matters-- Socrates believed that the only thing that can really harm us, are the things that can damage our soul, things such as injustice! If Socrates felt that, only "true philosophers" cared much about their soul knowing the truth, and staying pure, why would he allow injustice to even get a chance at harming his soul?
By Socrates drinking the hemlock, and by him killing himself, Socrates is not receiving the justice that he knows he deserves. Based off Socrates" teachings, this must mean Socrates died a vain death by drinking the hemlock; He believed that "true philosophers" await death their whole so their soul could "find wisdom in her purity." But if their soul went through injustice from the evils of the earth, how can it seek peace and a right mind/wisdom that it has waited so long for? ""to gain that which in life they desired"and this was wisdom""
Debate Round No. 2
malaika56

Pro

Once Socrates has separated from the mind he will be able to find the truth of all things and even the injustice that he suffered. He will have gained the knowledge he needs to understand the ways of the world, and become pure. "He can find wisdom in her purity, and if this be true, he would be very absurd ".. If he were afraid of death", The Phaedo : Virtue and Socrates " View of Death . Why would he not take the opportunity? The hemlock was that opportunity! Exile or escaping would have been a defeat for Socrates, and completely against what he has been teaching and ultimately what he stood for. If he would have exiled himself, he would have accepted and proved to others that he was guilty, and that what he was being charged for was in fact true. But, he was told by the Oracle of Delphi that he was the wisest. Based on this, he had to reason to feel that he was guilty for teaching what he was told , was coming from the soul of the Wisest man . He had no reason to run away. He was treated with an injustice, but he chose to deal with it in a way that supported his teachings and his ways life.
ogunnowow

Con

"Socrates drank the hemlock considering only his soul as any philosopher would." This is what you said in your previous argument. Don"t you think that Socrates and other philosophers are being selfish and self-seeking? What is the point of being a philosopher if you are only looking out for yourself? Socrates; was chosen as the wisest by the god of Delphi, so why would Socrates leave the fate of the Athenians" soul up to philosophers who are arrogant, and not as wise as he is? If I am not mistaken, Socrates boldly specified in the Apology that: "I am the gadfly whom God has attached to the state" You will not easily find another like me, and therefore I would advise you to spare me."

Here Socrates is being quite confident in himself. He is advising his prosecutors to spare his life, meaning he did want to live and was not the most ecstatic to die a philosophers death as we all thought he was" By Socrates drinking the hemlock, it just shows how much of a real flip flopper he is, and it shows how much Socrates contradicted himself with even knowing it. "To gain truth through shedding the flesh and embracing your soul" Another quote my opponent has rendered in her argument. Socrates talks as if it"s so easy to "shed" all fleshly habits and customs just to get to the purity of your soul so that it may find true wisdom.

But I tell you, this task is not easy, especially for people who don"t know how to come about this "shedding." Since this is the case, you would think Socrates would have used this "wisdom" he was claimed to have by the god of Delphi. You would think Socrates would use his "wisdom," to know he could have helped not only the Athenians, but people from other regions as well. So, even if Socrates was banished from Athens that shouldn"t have stopped him from sharing his teachings.
Debate Round No. 3
malaika56

Pro

You state that "Socrates is selfish", but he was not selfish when he decided to teach the people of Athens what he believed. Is he not on trial for teaching unorthodox beliefs to the children? Whether you think they are unorthodox or not is not the point, however it is that he did sacrifice a large portion of his life teaching others. He did not decide to be on trial for these charges, he only chose deal with them in the appropriate way, the way a respected philosopher would. This is the biggest sacrifice that anyone can make. He chose to die for the fact that he was teaching the children. He did not gain anything in return for his teachings; he did it because that"s what a philosopher does. He even held the idea that a "true philosopher would despise the acquisition of costly raiment, or sandals, or any other adornments of the body". He devoted his life to his teachings and in the end he died for them.
ogunnowow

Con

I do not believe that Socrates wanted to die at that time. If Socrates was full heartedly, welcoming towards death, he wouldn"t be trying to plead his case in court, and he would have just allowed whatever sentence he had gotten to come to pass with ease. But that wasn"t the case; he was fighting the state, pleading for them to spare his life: "You will not easily find another like me, and therefore I would advise you to spare me." Does this honestly sound like someone who just wanted to give his life up for people who didn"t respect him, or his philosophies?

Further in the reading you see that the government said if an individual does not like the city of Athens, they might take their belongings, and go wherever it pleases them. So instead of having this person stir up problems by being in a place they do not like, they can just leave instead, and no one will stop that man. Now if the state gave Socrates the option to go into exile, why didn"t he take it? What was so wrong this option? Why did Socrates make it seem as if drinking the hemlock was the only option he had, as if he hadn"t any other?
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by BlueFlame2012 1 year ago
BlueFlame2012
He chose to die because exhaustion comes inevitably to those that deal with ideologists that only seek to be prove themselves right. It is beyond most humans to accept being wrong, therefore truth is almost an impossible goal. Those that thirst for it gain arrogant enemies and often pay with their lives or die of heartache over humanities injustice. Might makes right and prophets pay the price. The only winners in a debate are those that listen, not those that take a side.
Posted by ogunnowow 3 years ago
ogunnowow
@ likespeace
most of us are taking philosophy at William Paterson, and we're required to do a debate on this topic with a partner.
Posted by likespeace 3 years ago
likespeace
There are many Socrates / Hemlock debates lately. I'm curious--what has spurred you to choose this topic? Is it perhaps a high school or after-school club requirement?
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