It is often the case that philosophical judgments are self-contradictory. This can especially be seen from the arguments that Socrates makes in Crito and Apology. In Apology, for instance, he tells how he refused to take part in the unjust killing thus going against the Thirty Commissioners’ order. In Crito, he agrees to receive the unjust punishment stating that he is obliged to obey the law. In this paper, I will argue that Socrates’ views represented in these two cases cannot be made consistent with each other; he ought to have either refused to obey both or agreed to obey both.
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Firstly, Socrates does not seem to have a definite position regarding obedience to the law. If a person is firmly convinced in something, he/she should always act in the same way. Socrates’ choosing when to obey and when not to obey the law shows that he does not admit that there is a universal law. This contradicts the ideas he expresses about obedience to the laws.
Secondly, a citizen him/herself cannot decide when to obey or when to disobey the law. Socrates himself believes that disobedience to the law is destructive for the society. Nevertheless, he disobeys it, irrespective of what his reason is. Therefore, this means that, if his views are self-contradictory, then there is a possibility that the arguments he makes in the two cases under analysis are also inconsistent.
However, there exists an opposing view that these arguments are consistent with each other. I believe that such a view is erroneous because supporting it would be the same as calling black something that is white for it will be as contradictory to itself as Socrates’ arguments are to each other.
Thus, it has been proven that Socrates’ arguments regarding the obedience to the law are inconsistent.