Justice in Classical Antiquity: A Synthesis of Individual Liberty with the Common Good Justice is a concept institutionalized by society, where individuals entrust their basic rights to be upheld by the state. Together, members share social responsibility, actively pursuing a sense of communal virtue. The fruition of their cooperation brings about conditions where it is easiest for individuals to freely improve the wealth of the public. Using the texts The Trial and Death of Socrates by Plato, Antigone by Sophocles, and Confessions by Saint Augustine, this essay will explore the complex relationship between the individual and society in Greco-Roman culture. It will argue from a classical standpoint that justice is defined as aligning the moral beliefs of individuals with what is in the best interest of the common good. Characters in the texts experience tension between whether their moral beliefs rest with the state or with their religious beliefs. Torn between the two channels for ethical reasoning, the characters are aware that they must choose allegiance with the one that best mirrors their vision of the ideal society. In The Trial and Death of Socrates, Socrates ideal society is based predominantly upon his faith in the state of Athens. Because Athenian culture employed a collectivist political structure, Socrates was more moved to romanticize the state’s welfare. His upbringing in the Greco-Roman world founded his Western philosophical beliefs about the power of the
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Socrates was a Western Ancient Athenian Greek philosopher who lived from 469 BCE until his death in 399 BCE. He was a student to another philosopher, Sophists, Socrates was different from most Greek philosophers he wanted to get at the truth and find out how one can truly be ‘good’ and moral in life. “To Socrates the soul is identified with the mind; it is the seat of reason and capable of finding the ethical truths, which will restore meaning and value of life” (ADD IN-TEXT CITATION SEMINAR). We continue to use many of Socrates teachings today, such as, ‘The Socratic method’, which is known as asking a question and within these questions you lead it to the answer you wanted to hear, many uses this as a teaching technique and is shown to be highly effective. A great number of Athenians looked up to Socrates and considered him the wise man of Athens, he had many followers whom would ask questions and seek answers. As popularity and following of Socrates grew so did accusations. The charges laid on Socrates by the Athenians were unjust and therefore his death was highly wrong in the eyes of true democracy that Athens was apparently known for. In this paper, I will discuss how Socrates was wrongfully convicted for the corruption of the youth despite having many young followers, introducing new Gods while still being considered an Atheist, and the main reason he was seen as a threat to Athens was that he brought change to the city.
The Republic by Plato examines many aspects of the human condition. In this piece of writing Plato reveals the sentiments of Socrates as they define how humans function and interact with one another. He even more closely Socrates looks at morality and the values individuals hold most important. One value looked at by Socrates and his colleagues is the principle of justice. Multiple definitions of justice are given and Socrates analyzes the merit of each. As the group defines justice they show how self-interest shapes the progression of their arguments and contributes to the definition of justice.
In the trial of Socrates, I juror number 307, Ryan Callahan vote the defendant is Not Guilty on the first charge of Corrupting the youth. My justifications for this vote are as follows. Socrates didn 't corrupt the youth, he just shared his ideas with them and they in turn chose the path to take these ideas. Part of understanding this case is understand the time in which the case was held. This time being 399 B.C., a time in which Athens was a free democratic city, a town which prided itself at the time on the fact that its citizens had much freedom, particularly freedom of speech. Socrates believed that only people who were educated should rule the people, which meant that people were not capable of government participation
Socrates was a great philosopher of the Greek world. He was quite an atypical and distinctive person. Being different from all the other philosophers of the land, Socrates was teaching his students ideas totally out of the ordinary from what the society believed was right. As a result, he displeased many people so much that they decided to get rid of him. Socrates was put to trial, accused of spoiling the youth of Athens, tried and sentenced to death. His personal defense is described in works two of his students: Xenophon and Plato. Both of them wrote papers called Apology, which is the Greek word for “defense”. In this essay I used Apology by Plato as the main resource, since it contents a more full account of the trial of Socrates and
As a defender of civic virtue, the significance of obligation and authority of one’s representative government epitomizes the magnitude of respect that Socrates had for Athenian Jurisprudence, irrespective of the fact that he was prosecuted against. In the accounts of the Apology and Crito, there exists a plethora of evidence that demonstrate Socrates’s adherence of institutionalized authority. His loyalty of the Athenian State derives from his notion that the obligation to surrender to the law manifests a just society. One may ask, “how is it possible for a persecuted man to continue to profess allegiance to a polity that sought his trial and execution”? Though many would not have the capacity to sustain such integrity, Socrates had his reasons in
The portrayal of Socrates, through the book “the trial and death of Socrates” is one that has created a fairly controversial character in Western history. In many ways, Socrates changed the idea of common philosophy in ancient Greece; he transformed their view on philosophy from a study of why the way things are, into a consideration man. Specifically, he analyzed the virtue and health of the human soul. Along side commending Socrates for his strong beliefs, and having the courage to stand by those convictions, Socrates can be commended for many other desirable characteristics. Some of those can include being the first martyr to die for his philosophical beliefs and having the courage to challenge indoctrinated cultural norms is part of
In his hypothetical argument with the law, the law states that his idea that because the courts wronged him, he should not now wrong them because the two parties are not equal. The Athenian government believes that is is bad to wrong your country because they have given him everything: his life, education and nurturing as they did with his ancestors. This argument tells Socrates, how the gods want him to care about his country more than his own family and though he does not fear death he does think of judgement from the gods.
Socrates' belief was that he was called on by the Gods to live his life examining others and himself. He believed the necessity of doing what one thinks is right even in the face of universal opposition, and the need to pursue knowledge even when opposed. "I became completely convinced, to the duty of leading the philosophical life by examining myself and others."¹ Socrates believed that to desert this idea was ridiculous and would make his life absurd. Socrates chose to live a life of truth and not to worry about things that did not matter. For Socrates not to live his life by the plans and requests of Gods it would be disobedient and untrue to the Gods. Socrates was brought to court to defend
A man facing an unjust execution is presented with another option: escape from prison and flee to another providence. Most men would eagerly take this chance to prolong their lives and continue their journey on earth. Most men would do anything to get revenge for the wrong that has been done to them. However, most men are not like Socrates. Socrates did not plead his case by eliciting pity from the jury for an old man and his poor family. He did not beg for a different sentence that would allow him to live. Instead, he let the jury come to its own conclusion while acting with virtue and integrity. He held fast to his principles by remaining in prison to face his execution because that is how a good and just person would behave. Socrates’ decision not to escape in Crito is consistent with his principle that the good and just person never does harm to a large extent because accepting his verdict allows him to reinforce the sanctity of law and to set a prime example for his peers.
Socrates was accused of being a sophist because he was "engaging in inquiries into things beneath the earth and in the heavens, of making the weaker argument appear the stronger," and "teaching others these same things." (Apology, Plato, Philosophic Classics page 21) Socrates is also accused of denying the existence of the gods, and corrupting the youth. Socrates goes about trying to prove his innocence. The jury that Socrates was tried by was made up of 501 Athenian citizens of all classes of society. While he fails to convince the Athenian jury of his innocence, he does a wonderful job in this effort. I personally believe that Socrates is innocent, and that the Athenian jury made the wrong decision.
In Plato’s The Republic and The Apology, the topic of justice is examined from multiple angles in an attempt to discover what justice is, as well as why living a just life is desirable. Plato, writing through Socrates, identifies in The Republic what he thought justice was through the creation of an ideal city and an ideal soul. Both the ideal city and the ideal soul have three components which, when all are acting harmoniously, create what Socrates considers to be justice. Before he outlines this city and soul, he listens to the arguments of three men who hold popular ideas of the period. These men act to legitimize Socrates’ arguments because he finds logical errors in all of their opinions. In The Apology, a different, more down-to-Earth, Socrates is presented who, through his self-defense in court, reveals a different, even contradictory, view of the justice presented in The Republic. In this paper, the full argument of justice from The Republic will be examined, as well as the possible inconsistencies between The Republic and The Apology.
Plato’s account of Socrates’ defense against charges of corrupting the youth and heresy, reveal the ancient teacher’s view of justice as fairness and support of rule of law. In the Apology, Socrates faces a moral dilemma: to either accept his punishment for crimes he did not commit or to accept the assistance of his friends and escape death by the hand of the state. His choice to accept death in order to maintain rule of law reveals his belief of justice. He beliefs his punishment to be just not because he committed the crimes but because his sentence came through a legal process to which he consented. By sparing his life, he would weaken the justice system of Athens which he values above his own existence. This difference between the two men’s beliefs regarding justice draws the sharpest contrast in their views of effective leadership and government.
Like other ancient philosophers, Aristotle and Plato had two different conceptions of the state, justice, and politics. They both lived in Greece but had different points of views on the natural of all citizens and how citizens were capable of being perfect in the state. Surprisingly, the same debates that guided Plato and Aristotle’s work remain with us today. What is a good citizen? What makes a good man? Justice? Society? Moreover, the question is why they had different views on the same perspective that has helped shaped many governmental rules and societies.
This paper argues that Socrates makes a plausible case for justice. Socrates raised two main questions in the first two books of Plato’s Republic, what is justice? And why should we act justly? Thrasymachus and Glaucon both have different and more negative views of justice than Socrates. Throughout books one and two, Socrates, Glaucon and Thrasymachus go back and forth discussing the definition and application of justice in society. He starts his discussions with Glaucon and Thrasymachus by stating simply, “What is justice?”
This essay discusses and clarifies a concept that is central to Plato's argument in the Republic — an argument in favour of the transcendent value of justice as a human good; that justice informs and guides moral conduct. Plato's argument implies that justice and morality are intimately interconnected, because the excellence and goodness of human life — the best way for a person to live — is intimately dependent upon and closely interwoven with those 'things that we find