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The Legacy of Socrates Our actions should be based on beliefs and arguments for which we can give informed, defensible reasons, and not based on popular.

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Presentation on theme: "The Legacy of Socrates Our actions should be based on beliefs and arguments for which we can give informed, defensible reasons, and not based on popular."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Legacy of Socrates Our actions should be based on beliefs and arguments for which we can give informed, defensible reasons, and not based on popular opinion, custom, or religious authority “Virtue is knowledge” “The unexamined life is not worth living” BCE

2 Arguments for an Obligation to Obey the Laws of the State As a rule, to disobey the State is to challenge its legitimacy and undermine its authority, resulting in social turmoil Objection: one person’s disobedience in extreme circumstances would not result in the State’s destruction

3 Arguments for an Obligation to Obey the Laws of the State Analogy: we are obligated to obey the State just as we are obligated to obey our parents, because both are responsible for our existence Objection: the analogy fails: as adults we are not obligated to obey our parents; we must think for ourselves

4 Arguments for an Obligation to Obey the Laws of the State Social contract: we benefit from civil laws institutions and that we indicate we support by our continued presence in a society Objection 1: we seldom, if ever, agree to be in a society or explicitly promise to abide by its laws Response: our agreement is implicit Objection 2: we have a general obligation to abide by the social contract; but there are occasions when such obligations are no longer binding

5 So if each of his arguments is weak, how do we explain Socrates’ mistaken assumption that he must drink the hemlock? Answer: Socrates doesn’t think of the responses mentioned above (e.g., that there is a difference between needing to obey laws normally and needing to do so always). In his mind, he is defined in terms of his relation to the State and so does not think of himself as distinct from the State.


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