The Instigator
Jaygee
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
moliveira8264
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Should have Socrates Drank the Hemlock

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/20/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,010 times Debate No: 30418
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

Jaygee

Pro

In Hume's "On Suicide," Humes states "But the life of a man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster." Socrates should drink the hemlock because his death will not disrupt life. His death will not be of great importance to many since he has been already labeled as some one who has corrupted the youth. Also, he should drink the hemlock because his demon told him to. Therefore he committing suicide is what god wanted him to.
moliveira8264

Con

Socrates should not have drank the hemlock because his conviction was unjust. There is nothing unjust about having a law against the corruption of Athenian youth, but in reality, Socrates did not corrupt the youth. All he was guilty of was provoking the youth of Athens to question and think critically which those in power have, historically, never been fond of.

In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote:
"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws"

Because those in power are made of nothing more than flesh and bone, their rules are subject to fallibility. Because the jury is erroneous in its conviction, he has a moral obligation to not abide by their punishment.
Debate Round No. 1
Jaygee

Pro

Although Socrates may not have corrupted the youth it is obvious that Socrates stayed in Athens. He had the opportunity to leave if he did not like the way the Athenian laws and society were. He commits and abides by the rules of Athens. If Socrates leaves then he has unjustly broken his commitment to the Athens laws. If he takes "moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws" he then proves to the judges that he did corrupt the youth. He also will be looked down upon by many while in nearby cities.

In "The Crito" Socrates creates a fallacy with Crito and states:
"We brought you into the world, we raised you, we educated you, we gave you and every other citizen a share of all the good things we could. Yet we proclaim that if any man of the Athenians is dissatisfied with us, he may take his goods and go away..." By escaping from prison, it is like slapping his parent's faces, of which has raised him in this society.
moliveira8264

Con

Because the Athenian social contract is tyrannical and inherently flawed, it was null and void from the start and therefore not binding. He was the wisest man in the land and should have passed on that knowledge elsewhere. His problem was that he was too emotionally attached to Athens in the first place. To paraphrase, Epictetus would say "don"t say "I can never return to my city" but simply that it is another city one can never return to." And as a philosopher he was not preoccupy his mind worrying about what other people thought about him and what kind of reputation he would have. These things were out of his control.
Not knowing what came after death was not a good reason not to fear it. On the contrary, BECAUSE he had never experienced death and didn't know what was on the other side of it, it's entirely possible that there was nothing after death...just empty blackness. He needed his body to continue learning and growing and acquiring wisdom and understanding.
Debate Round No. 2
Jaygee

Pro

*Note- The meaning of the word, "parent," above meant the government of Athens which has raised him in this society.

It wasn't that he was too attached to Athens, but it was the journey he set on to discover if he was the wisest man. He questioning the oracles prophecy, which was that he was the wisest man lead to his own destruction and to court. He should drink the hemlock because he knows he has not corrupted the youth or believed in false gods. By socrates drinking the hemlock it means that he was willing to die for what was right instead of escaping.

Socrates does not need his body to acquire wisdom and understanding. In the Phaedo Socrates states: "When does the soul attain truth?- for in attempting to consider anything in company with the body she is decieved." The body and the senses innacurately portrays the real truth in things. The body needs to be seperated from the soul for one to see the true understanding of things. Another reason why Socrates should drink the hemlock.
moliveira8264

Con

In your first argument you mentioned that the life of a man is no more significant than that of an oyster. But can an oyster compose a symphony or paint a masterpiece? Can an oyster question reality? In my opinion, that elevates the value of a human life.

There is a certain wisdom that comes with knowing what is and what is not in a person"s control. This was a situation that was in his ability to control, and, because he was falsely accused, he should have taken advantage of it. As far as freeing oneself from their mortal body in order to gain truth and knowledge and wisdom, if you were to ask a Buddhist he would say you do not need to be separated from the body to attain enlightenment.

In all of Athens' infinite wisdom and glory, one of the great civilizations the world ever saw was eventually taken over. In the end, it is no surprise that that they were not wise enough to see the value in keeping Socrates alive and as one of their own.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.