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Discuss and evaluate the reasons Socrates gives for not escaping jail even though he had ample opportunity to do so. What is the nature of the “social contract” here that Socrates is following?
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1. Socrates, as we know in our previous lesson of this class, was sentenced to death for allegedly corrupting the youth and refusing to acknowledge the Gods recognized by Athens. Socrates was not an expert in legal practice, but he represented himself as his own defense which was documented by Plato. Crito, a friend and wealthy Athenian, offered Socrates an opportunity to escape his punishment by bribing the jailors and providing a means of escape.
To understand the nature of the “social contract” that Socrates was following, you have to understand that even though Socrates was very outspoken and questioned those of the Athenian elite, he still respected the laws of the Athenian government. Some of the benefits of being an Athenian citizen, was that they had freedom of speech, which explains why Socrates was able conduct himself the way that he did with other Athenians. Another was that they were protected by the city of Athens from other invaders. As a result, Socrates understood that because of these benefits and being able to live to an advanced age, he respected the law and was comfortable with the result of his trial.
He felt that escaping his convictions would have also been contradictory to his beliefs. Socrates was dedicated to his city and believed that it was his duty, to contribute to the Society with his Socratic Method. He also believed that such an act would have been an immoral, which would been bad for his soul. He believed that it was better to suffer an injustice, than to commit one because injustice corrupts the soul.
2. This week I am choosing to write about John Rawls idea of the “Veil of Ignorance”, I chose this because like all the other topics I have written about I find it very interesting. The purpose behind this idea is to explore life in a structural manner. So you and your personality can be hidden behind this “veil” and you find more or less the truth about things like justice and social status (there are others but these are the two that stuck out the most to me). As far as the idea and wealth, everyone needs money, people don’t need to be rich just have enough to live. In this sense if someone is in a bad spot then they would get money from people who are considered “rich” and that would put them in a better situation and it would not put the “rich” person in a bad situation so making it fair for everyone. The purpose of the veil is so that the person doesn’t have to show who they actually are. We can look at it like doing things online, you don’t actually know the person on the other side of the screen. They can hide their actual identity and thats the same for the veil. This is so ( in my opinion) you aren’t judge based on who you are. I think this is actually a good idea to a point but there are always negatives when things like this are brought up. Like how is it fair that we give to people in need, even though its not technically hurting the person giving but making someone else’s life better.
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