The Instigator
steph442
Pro (for)
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The Contender
JonesK42
Con (against)
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Should Socrates have drunk the hemlock?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/22/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 815 times Debate No: 30559
Debate Rounds (4)
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steph442

Pro

If Socrates had escaped, he would be breaking Athenian law, making one the accusations against him ("refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state" and "of corrupting the youth") true. By not drinking the hemlock, he breaks the law and therefore corrupts the youth by setting an example for them to follow in his path. Like in "The Crito" Socrates argues that a man who is a subverter of law may well be supposed to be a corrupter of the young and thoughtless. He continues by saying that, he who disobeys us acts unjustly on three accounts: he disobeys the state who is his parents, and he disobeys them who reared him, and he disobeys them after he has agreed to obey them, without persuading them that we are wrong (p.33-34).
JonesK42

Con

Socrates should not have drunk the Hemlock because despite breaking Athenian law, he would be leaving his wife and children behind. With this said there would be no sort of income, leaving his family famished without any steady life style. David Hume states that if suicide does not negatively impact anyone else, when Socrates is in fact physiologically and emotionally negatively impacting his family.
Debate Round No. 1
steph442

Pro

If Socrates had not drunk the hemlock he woul not be as famous as he is now. Athenians would not have had discussions about a coward philosopher who ran from death, but Socrates did not. In fact it can be argued that by drinking the hemlock he is promoting his philosophy because Athenian people will gossip about his unexpected death and seek his apprentices for the truth or enlightenment. In his "The Phaedo" Socrates states that no true philosopher fears death because it allows them pursue otherworldly understanding without boldly hindrance (p.36-37).
JonesK42

Con

Gossipers who went to the apprentice"s advisement in Socrates' death would not have been able to give a first hand description of philosophies. Like every person Socrates is a complex individual and his apprentices would not have been able to obtain Socrates' true perceptions of his philosophies and therefore pass them on to second handers seeking enlightenment. Socrates even admits in 'The Apology' that, " ... I am that gadfly which God has given the state and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. And as you will not easily find another like me, I would advise you to spare me. ..."
Debate Round No. 2
steph442

Pro

Drinking the hemlock is a natural way to die because the human body is ruled by one"s own desires. Therefore following through with the ones ambitions to die cannot be unnatural. Like in David Hume's "On Suicide" he writes that God is a part of everything, even decisions, therefore one cannot be condemned for suicide. Hume writes that "all animals are entrusted to their own prudence and skill for their conduct in the world; and have full authority, as far as their power extends, to alter all the operations of nature. It would be equally criminal to act for the preservation of life as for its destruction." The hemlock is also made of a plant and therefore one of Gods creations. One cannot say for a fact that the plant was not created with a suicidal intent.
JonesK42

Con

David Hume expresses that, "If I turn aside a stone which is falling upon my head, I disturb the course of nature; and I invade the peculiar province of the Almighty, by lengthening out my life beyond the period which, by the general laws of matter and motion, he has assigned it." It is unnatural to put an end to our own life, when God has put us here for a reason. We who are Gods creations are here to produce innovation in nature"s course. Having taken a poisonous substance is un-naturally putting an end to our lives that we were meant to obtain by Gods powers. Obtaining a poisonous substance is an irregular approach to death as compared to things such a naturally produced diseases.
Debate Round No. 3
steph442

Pro

Every living creation on our planet dies and ending one"s life just supports the natural process. In the spectrum of the cosmos, humans are just one small species and have no significant impact. For example in "On the Vanity of Existence" by Arthur Schopenhauer he states that "if we contemplate the world as a whole, in particular, the generations of men as they live their little hour of mock-existence and then are swept away in rapid succession; if we turn from this, and look at life in its small details, as presented, say, in a comedy, how ridiculous it seems! How we laugh as they bustle about so eagerly and struggle with one another in so tiny a space! And whether here, or in the little span of human life, this terrible activity produces a comic effect. It is only in the microscope that our life looks so big." Therefore no matter how you die, either by your hand or not, it is insignificant.
JonesK42

Con

Every aspect of life is important. Those who see life through just a small spectrum of the eye are missing the whole view, but even the smallest of views are just as important. Nature will continue to take its course unless something violates its path that is beyond human observation. Nature"s course carries on without any regard to what we actually want. Nature has no judgment; it is completely natural, not affected by one"s own force. Nature is what is natural; a person corrupting his or her own life is just living through one eye open and not sitting back enduring the view. This being said, the corruption of life is not natural, because nature has its own course, as does God have his own path for us to follow. Everyone will eventually die out yes, but it is the natural causes that allow us to say that we have lived our lives to the fullest regardless of the obstacles that have gotten in the way. As it has been said, it is the obstacles that make us stronger.
Debate Round No. 4
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