Socrates' Last Error In the dialogue, Crito, Socrates justified his decision to accept his death penalty. His decision was praised as principled and just. However, such a view was one of the greatest myths in the history of philosophy. Contrary to the accepted ideas, I wish to show that Socratesâ€™ argument was erroneous, the crucial error being his failure to distinguish between substantial and procedural justice. In fact, the whole of the Crito refers to some deeper problems of the philosophy of law and morality. The dialogue "Crito" recounts Socrates' last days, immediately before his execution. As the text reveals, his friend Crito proposes to Socrates that he escape from prison. In a dialogue with Crito, Socrates considers the proposal, trying to establish whether an act like that would be just and morally justified. Eventually, he came to argue that by rejecting his sentence and by trying to escape from prison he would commit unjust and morally unjustified acts. Therefore, he decided to accept his death penalty and execution. Because of his decision, he became one of the cult figures in the history of philosophy, a man of intact moral integrity who had made his final decision according to the very same principles that guided his entire life. He was praised as a grand rationalist who had acted rationally and justlyâ€”a view which, I believe, represents one of the greatest myths in the history of philosophy. Contrary to this widely accepted myth, I will try to demonstrate that Socrates' argument was erroneous, which made his decision less rational. In fact, had he decided to escape, his behavior would not have represented an unjust act. Although his argumentation and dialogue with Crito seem more like a moral sermon, his ... ... of Law and State, p. 113. (2) Hart, The Concept of Law, p. 203. (3) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I-II, question 95. (4) Plato, Crito, in: The Works of Plato, The Nottingham Society, New York, vol. III, p. 125-6. (the year of publication unknown). (5) Ibid. p. 126. (6) Ibid. p. 126. (7) H. L., Hart, The Concept of Law, ch. VIII, and D., Lyons, Ethics and the rule of law, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 78 ff, (8) D., Lyons, Ethics and the Rule of Law, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 81. (9) Plato, The Apology, in: The Works of Plato, The Nottingham Society, New York, vol. III, p. 91. (the year of publication unknown). (10) Plato, Crito, in: The Works of Plato, The Nottingham Society, New York, vol. III, p. 129. (the year of publication unknown). (11) Ibid., 124. (12) Ibid., 124. (13) St. Augustine, Confessions, IV.
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