1215333RR_Allegiance to Government

1215333RR_Allegiance to Government - Authors Last Name...

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Author’s Last Name 1 [Author’s Name] [Professor’s Name] [Course title] [Date] Allegiance to Government Is Socrates a man whose first allegiance is to his city and its laws? Is he citizen first and man second? Does he refuse to escape his unjust conviction and punishment because he regards himself as morally bound to obey whatever verdicts and commands the city of Athens issues? An affirmative answer to these questions would be unthinkable were it not for the views propounded in the speech of the Laws in the latter part of the Crito. Yet the unthinkable becomes thinkable if one takes those views, as many scholars do, to reflect Socrates' own beliefs. Although many scholars who identify as Socratic the views expressed by the Laws still resist an unqualifiedly affirmative answer to these questions, they do so at the expense of the plain meaning of the Laws' demand that the citizen do "whatever we bid." Socrates' first allegiance is to justice and philosophy; he is man first and citizen second; and he refuses to escape because he believes that escape would violate the moral principles to which he has always adhered. The views espoused by the Laws are the views of the Laws -- not of Socrates; indeed, the moral perspective reflected in the Laws' arguments stands in stark opposition to the Socratic point of view. Since Socrates apparently does indeed think that a citizen is bound only by correct verdicts, it is no wonder that when the Laws suggest that, on the contrary, citizens agree to abide by "whatever" verdicts the city reaches, Socrates is surprised, thaumazoimen. He may include Crito in his surprise -- he uses the first person plural -- but it is surely he who is surprised.
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Author’s Last Name 2 Indeed, the Laws, turning yet again to Socrates alone, say: " Socrates, do not be surprised at what is said." In their speech, the Laws address but one question: is it just for a citizen who has been ordered by the city -- whether correctly or incorrectly -- to suffer something at its hand to disregard that order? They do not, let us note, consider either of the following two questions that have nevertheless been attributed to them: (1) whether a citizen who disobeys an unjust law because he believes it to be unjust must submit to punishment for his disobedience; (2) whether a citizen who protests a law he believes to be unjust by disobeying either that law or some other law must submit to punishment for his disobedience. The reason the Laws do not deal with these questions is simply that neither one applies to Socrates' situation. Socrates is not in the position of someone who has violated a law on principle and now faces punishment for that violation.
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