Socrates on Athenian law and obedience

Essay by tunetown187University, Bachelor'sA-, March 2002

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Socrates said in a dialogue with Crito: "You must either persuade [your country] or obey its orders, and endure in silence whatever it instructs you to endure... leads you into was to be wounded or killed, you must obey" (Crito 51b). Socrates believed this argument for the following reasons: 1) as a member of a society, each citizen had a responsibility and obligation to obey the laws of their society, 2) because the society gave you an education and family, you owe obedience to that society and finally 3) by remaining in that society and being aware of its laws the citizen agrees to follow its rules and is therefore a contract. Some exceptions Socrates makes are: 1) why it is okay to break the law if it's contrary to the law of a higher being 2) and a contract is invalid if it's coerced or forced onto you. This essay will cover Socrates arguments of laws and a citizen's responsibility to them with few exceptions.

The first argument Socrates makes about obeying law is that every citizen has an obligation to the society they live in to obey its laws. The laws are to be more honored than your mother or father (Crito 51a). He also argues that to bring violence or disobedience to your country is seen as more dishonor than disrespecting your patents (Crito 51c). Socrates believed that you were not only a product of your parents, but because you were raised in Athens, you were also a servant to Athens as were your parents and their parents before them (Crito 50e).

Furthermore to Socrates argument about responsibility to one's societies laws is that your society gave you birth, education and nurturing and all a share of all the good things it could (Crito 51d). If someone...