The Instigator
caitlinhanratty
Pro (for)
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The Contender
LBlumetti17
Con (against)
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should Socrates drink the Hemlock ?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/6/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 605 times Debate No: 30990
Debate Rounds (3)
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caitlinhanratty

Pro

David Hume stated that "were the disposal of human life so much reserved as the peculiar province of the Almighty that it was an encroachment on his right for men to dispose of their own lives, it would be equally criminal to act for the preservation of life as for its destruction." Here he was proving that if we prevent death from happening why we can"t also let death happen. Also David Hume stated "all events in one sense, may be pronounced the action of the almighty; they all proceed from those powers with which he endowed his creatures." This coincided very well with what Socrates believe that "he only knows what he does not know" and that was that he knew god granted him this power to choose life or death. So, Socrates had every right to drink the hemlock and make the decision to take his own life and commit suicide.
LBlumetti17

Con

David Hume states in his article "Suicide" that "what is the meaning then of that principle, that a man, who, tired of life, and hunted by pain and misery, bravely overcomes all the natural terrors of death, and makes his escape from this cruel scene; that such a man, I say, has incurred the indignation of his creator, by encroaching on the office of divine provident; and disturbing the order of the universe?" Socrates, who drank the hemlock, is basically disturbing the order of the universe by taking his life to escape the horrors of being in jail. Socrates is not following the order of the creator by committing suicide; this then deems suicide wrong in the words of David Hume. David Hume does not directly state in his article whether suicide is wrong or right but he does say that it is a disturbance to the course of nature. One person"s actions can affect those who care enough to notice. An action can either help someone out or hurt them. When death occurs, someone is affected because they will emotionally feel loss of that person.
Debate Round No. 1
caitlinhanratty

Pro

The creator also did say according to Seneca that "this is the mean of which I approve, our life should observe a happy medium between the ways of a sage and the ways of the world at large; our life should; all men should admire it, but they should understand it also". This was relevant to Socrates because he did not care what other people thought of him, as we saw when he wrote the Apology, this was the mentality that put him in jail in the first place, and he knew that as long as he was doing right but what he believed that was all that mattered. He goes on to explain that if he were to pick prison he knows that he is subjected to the rest of his life in pain, but to choose death he would go by his own philosophy to not fear what he does not know. "Either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration from this world to another." Socrates does not claim to know death, but refuses to fear it, giving all the reason to commit suicide.
LBlumetti17

Con

Socrates himself talks a lot about God or a higher being but does not directly state that he is a believer. Socrates does say that he believes in a spirit called "Daemon" that follows him around. Socrates states in his "Apology", "Well, then, I will make my defence, and I will endeavor in the short time which is allowed to do away with this evil opinion of me which you have held for such a long time; and I hope I may succeed, if this be well for you and me, and that my words may find favor with you. But I know that to accomplish this is not easy - I quite see the nature of the task. Let the event be as God wills: in obedience to the law I make my defence." Socrates is defending himself against his accusers saying that he will accept the task and let things happen by God"s will. Socrates should then agree with God"s will when one must die. It is said that God decides whether one should die or not, so Socrates should agree with that. In the Bible it says "all the days ordained were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalms 139:16) The example used in the Bible tells about how one"s life has already been written down in a book by God before one has actually lived that life. God therefore does know when one is to live or die. Socrates who does say to his accusers that he believes in a God would not neglect the fact that God knows when one should die. Murder is deemed a sin by God in the ten commandments, so suicide would be the equivalence to murder.
Debate Round No. 2
caitlinhanratty

Pro

You argue that god decides whether we die or live and it is wrong for Socrates to commit suicide since he himself is going against the creator but as David Hume states "It is impious, says the modern European superstition, to put a period to our own life, and thereby rebel against our creator: and why not impious, say I, to build houses, cultivate the ground, or sail upon the ocean? In all of these actions we employ our powers of mind and body to produce some innovation in the course of nature; and in none of them do we anymore. They are all of them equally innocent or equally criminal." So you say how Socrates drinking the hemlock is so wrong because it goes against god our creator and his word but so do all these daily things that we do in life. Are they now going to penalize every other person who does something wrong that is technically against God"s will in that perspective?
LBlumetti17

Con

In my belief, Socrates was one of the wisest philosophers ever because he acknowledged his ignorance but it is also my belief that he contradicted himself. Socrates always said that he would continue his teachings no matter if the law told him to stop. One can assume that he did not believe in the ordinance of human made laws. Socrates faces court and then is sentenced to jail for a death sentence. Socrates knew himself that his conviction was unjust but he refuses to overturn the conviction and accepts the command of the law. But did not Socrates state he would continue his teachings no matter what the law said? Socrates stated in his "Apology", "I made up my mind that I would run the risk, having law and justice with me, rather than take part in your injustice because I feared imprisonment and death. This happened in the days of the democracy." Socrates clearly is for justice but knows that his conviction to jail was unjust, so why would he accept it? There is an obvious confusion between his statement and action. Socrates then continues to drink the hemlock in jail to escape the horrors of jail and the death sentence. One can say his action was cowardly because he could not stand up for his own belief and instead to his own life to avoid punishment. One can notice an obvious contradiction between Socrates actions and sayings. Socrates was a wise man of his own beliefs but he did not stick to them which made him seem a hypocrite. It is in my opinion that Socrates should not have drunk the hemlock to escape a foul punishment but instead he should have fought for his belief and died for them.
Debate Round No. 3
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