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Is the Just Person a Fool Acting Under an Illusion? Socrates' Commitment to Justice Led to His Death by Public Execution. Was Socrates a Fool to Think He Must Accept That Fate?

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"Is the just person a fool acting under an illusion? Socrates' commitment to justice led to his death by public execution. Was Socrates a fool to think he must accept that fate?"

In Plato's Apology, one of the reasons the reader would be led to believe Socrates was a fool for not avoiding his death is that he seems to inconsistently regard the State as a source of authority. Indeed, it seems contradictory that, considering he has previously defied statesmen's authority, he would be willing to avoid his public execution. Instead, I believe that Socrates was not being foolish because he did not die, as it may initially seem, following the desires of the State. Since he has engaged in a contract as a citizen of Athens, he knows it would be unjust to escape his sentence. Consequently, I will argue that he died in his commitment to never perpetrate injustices, which I loosely define as committing an act one believes to be wrong .

To sustain this argument, I will expose why he is willing to defy the State's authority in instances when enforcing the statesmen's commands would lead him to commit an injustice. Then, when applied the case of Socrates' own trial, these claims will elucidate why he was willing to be executed but unwilling to stop practicing philosophy. I will conclude that Socrates was not being foolish because his commitment to justice is cemented on not being the cause of an injustice, even if this means allowing injustices to be inflicted upon him.

Even though Socrates does not seem to be particularly concerned with questioning whether Athens' laws ultimately lead to justice, in the passages we have read he was committed to treat other citizens according to the law. However, he is willing to defy the State's authority when those in government disobey their own laws and commit injustices. This explains his defiance of the State's commands instances of the Apology. One is seen when he refuses to try the ten generals that failed to pick the bodies the survivors of the battle of Arginusae . The procedure was illegal, so the desire of the members of Council to try them as a body differed from the proper application of the law. Had Socrates agreed to try the generals, he would have been behaving unjustly. Socrates' actions support the argument that he is willing to disobey the State's authority when it is the result of the statesmen's' will to go at odds with their laws, performing an injustice.

I believe this claim clarifies Socrates' decisions to disobey the State's authority and continuing to practice philosophy. As Socrates identifies the actions of statesmen wishing to break laws as unjust, he believes he would be similarly unjust if he were to follow their commands once he is told to stop philosophizing. To do this would mean to defy his commitment to his fellow citizens and the god's will, for he claims "this

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