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Is It Right to Act in One's Own Best Interest, Or to Obey the State - Essay Example

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Is It Right to Act in One's Own Best Interest, Or to Obey the State

Socrates’ understanding of the legal obligations is based on the personal morality analogies. He argues that there are two key reasons why people are obliged to obey the law; the reasons are gratitude and contract. In gratitude, the law plays a role for us just like the role played by individuals whom we are mandated to be grateful. In contract, Socrates decided to obey all the laws (Green 1). Socrates applies the general moral principle or rule, which he and Crito (his friend) accept as valid after deep reflection. They agree that we are not supposed to harm others, we are supposed to honor our promises, and that we are supposed to respect or obey our teachers and parents. Socrates uses the principle in his case and argues that if he escapes he will do harm to the society, fail to honor a promise, and he will be disobeying or disrespecting his parents and teachers. He then concludes that it is his moral obligation to obey all the city’s laws despite the fact that the sentence and the conviction were wrong (Frankena 1). ...
Therefore, if the law was part of the contract or the agreement, then based on the general theory, he was obliged to obey it (D’Amato 10). The moral commitment of Socrates to obey the laws necessarily entails giving a portion of his own ethical standards to the tribunal. However, his teachings taught that each individual was supposed to think for himself and discover what is morally right and what the truth is. Socrates was of the opinion that there are some immutable standards of wrong and right discoverable through the process of logical thinking. He further believed that no individual is supposed to follow (without careful consideration) the teachings of another individual even if everyone else accepted his teachings in the universe. Thus, one may argue that Socrates was inconsistent in submitting to the presentation of the law by the court of law. Socrates was not lured by the urgings of his friends to escape. His decision was based on his own path of behavior because he thought it to be right. However, the path he chose to follow consisted of delegation of his part of his own set of ethics to Athens’ lawmaking authorities, such that they, and not him, decided that that the law sentencing him to death was morally just and right (D’Amato 12). Socrates Being Obliged to Follow the Law by the State The difference between justice and truth is a confusing concept that perhaps surrounds the manner in which Socrates’ sentencing proceeded. On one hand, following the law demands that the state is built on principles of justice in an attempt to introduce order in the society. Justice in law entails dedicating the interests of the society and its perceptions of the right ...Show more

Summary

Comparative Essay and Position Paper Is It Right to Act in One’s Own Best Interest, Or to Obey the State? His Obligation to Obey the State Socrates obeyed what he thought to be an unjust judgment. He was offered an easy way to escape by Crito but he refused…
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