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Socrates Defense of Athenian Law and C.S. Lewis' critique of subjectivism - Research Paper Example

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Socrates Defense of Athenian Law and C.S. Lewis' critique of subjectivism

Why would Lewis insist that we interpret Plato’s Socrates in this way? Socrates was an Athenian who firmly believed that the system of the law under which the jury was acting was fair. The city of Athen’s tribunal sat to bestow justice in accordance with the city’s regulations. From the outset of his trial, Socrates declared that, “I must observe the law and make my defense” (Plato 35c). Owing to the fact that he openly admitted the purpose and nature of his lifetime activities, Socrates' case would appear to be based on a matter of interpretation instead of fact. Socrates stated that his teaching, contrary to corrupting the morals of the youth, had actually made Athens become a better state. He would assert in the faces of his accusers that, “My teaching is the bidding of the gods; and I believe that the city has actually benefitted from my service to the gods” (Plato 30a). Even after being pronounced guilty, Socrates made it clear that he respected the views of the legitimate city authorities and would obey their sentence. He said this even though he was aware that he had been unjustly accused. This shows just how much he believed that the Athenian legal system was the foundation of the Athenian city state and had to be valued. The Athenian legal system had a distinct method of trying accused persons. ...
The Euthyphro provides evidence that Meletus was a young Athenian who did not know Socrates on a personal level (Euthyphr 2b). After hearing both the defense and the charges, it was decided that there was need for an initial hearing. In Athenian trials, citizen volunteers would function as the jurors. They were usually paid for their services after being chosen by lot. To ensure that there was no possibility of bribery or jury tampering, the juries were usually quite large. Socrates’ case, for example, was presented before 500 jurors. Socrates felt that if he had actually been found guilty of crossing the laws, then he deserved the sentence that would be meted out. Socrates' greatest argument against ignoring the court’s decision and fleeing Athens lay in the fact that his existence in the jurisdiction of Athens was an admission of a contract between Athenian authorities and him to observe its laws. Owing to this fact, fleeing from Athens without permission or notification to the authorities would actually be violating the laws of the land and participating in ‘wrong’ actions- which was the direct opposite of the ‘goodness’ that he believed in. Socrates had always been a forthright advocate for the Athenian political and legal system. Owing to the agreement between him and the city authorities, he was also the beneficiary of an unknown quantity of benefits. Moreover, for him to fully enjoy the benefits of what was provided to him by the city of Athens, he had to in return give up something. In this case, it was his freedom of choice and action where there was a clash between his personal views and the stipulations of Athenian law. The Athenian legal system had a modicum of fairness in its dealings with citizens. Given that the ...Show more

Summary

Name Professor Module Date Philosophy: Socrates Defense of Athenian Law and C.S. Lewis' Critique of Subjectivism In both the ‘Apology’ and ‘Crito’, Plato represents Socrates as a staunch defender of law, particularly in the sense that respect for the legal order of one’s polity is a basic obligation of citizenship…
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