Socrates’s disobedience of the order to arrest Leon of Salamis and his claim that he would not obey the court order to terminate his practice of philosophy in the Apology might seem to be inconsistent with his other statement in the Crito where he refused to escape from prison because of his moral commitment to the laws of Athens. This paper, argues that this is not a case of contradiction by illustrating that the first two cases share the same account of moral commitment as the last one.
As he mentions it in the Apology, Socrates, as a council of the city, receives an order from the Thirty, who were ruling the oligarchy government of Athens in 404 B.C after the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian war that ended the democracy for a period of time, that he should go and arrest the Leon of Salamis but he refuses this command and goes home, while the other four councils, who were summoned with him for the same purpose, went on to bring Leon from Salamis. (Apology 32 c)
In the second case, during Socrates’s trial after he was being accused of corrupting the young men of Athens, not acknowledging the gods and talks about other unknown gods. He tries to defend himself in front of the juries and at one point during his speech in the Apology, he, hypothetically, states that if asked by the court order to stop doing philosophy, he wouldn’t obey the laws. (Apology)
On the other hand, Crito suggests that Socrates should escape from prison because he was being convicted unjustly by the court and also by accepting his fate, Socrates is doing unjust to himself, his friends and his family. Socrates refuses Crito’s offer because to him it’s a moral o...
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...tion to the moral obligation towards family and children, where he mentions that by abiding the court order Socrates is going to neglect his children who need their father by their side, But again Socrates sees the big picture where he is guided by his rational argument of the virtues which accordingly provide real happiness. Here, living an examined life worthy of living is the same as living according to the conventional Laws, therefore, this also doesn’t weaken Socrates’s position.
To summarize, according to the reasons discussed before, it’s obvious that all the three positions are consistent where Socrates Justifies his abidance of the laws and not accepting the escape proposal from Crito and on the other side his hypothetical claim that if ordered to cease philosophizing then he wouldn’t obey, and also his disobeying of the command to arrest Leon of salamis.
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