Socrates in relation to Plato's "Last Days of Socrates"

Essay by elivetCollege, UndergraduateA-, May 2004

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Socrates is one of the most influential philosophers of all time. Plato captured, in the Socratic dialogues, Socrates' method that later became the model for the modern scientific method. He has influenced, in one way or another, every philosopher to come after him; whether it is directly, like Plato and Aristotle, or indirectly, like John Rawls. Socrates has affected practically every area of philosophy as well: philosophy of nature, political philosophy, and many others. Socrates was born in Athens in 469 BC and lived there for his whole life. He did not have any philosophical or political aspirations until late in life. He was known as the philosopher who "makes the weaker argument seem like the stronger" and was famous for his rhetorical ability. He was prosecuted for corrupting the youth and disobeying the state and religious factions. Socrates was found guilty on these charges and executed by hemlock in 399 BC.

"The Last Days of Socrates" covers his life at the very end. In "The Last Days of Socrates", Socrates discusses many central issues, such as piety in the "Euthyphro", life and death in the "Phaedo", and others. One of these topics is the relationship between the individual and the state. This will be the focus of this essay. The most central belief throughout the discussion of this topic is the rights and the responsibilities of the two parties. In establishing a symbiotic relationship between the individual and the state, the individual must question his own thought process and actions before questioning the actions of the state.

Even if the individual's rights have been broken by the state, his responsibilities and duties to the state do not cease. Socrates discusses this in the "Crito". In this dialogue, a good friend by the name of Crito...