Difference Between Pericles And Socrates

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Is citizenship informed by virtue or obligation? Ancient philosophers, Socrates and Pericles have differing opinions about citizenship as a practice primarily informed by either virtue or obligation. Socrates gives his stance of citizenship in private during his trial of corrupting the youth, which ends in his death; whereas as Pericles publicizes his opinion at a funeral during the Peloponnesian War. Pericles’ argument is more compelling because it has become a model for today’s system of democracy and he believes that man by nature seeks to be virtuous. In contrast, Socrates believes people are not by nature virtuous, thus disbelieving people are capable of efficiently running a government in the hands of the many. Pericles’ stance compels citizens to be loyal to their government, while having the opportunity to participate regardless of their rank; whereas Socrates argues citizens have an obligation to obey laws under the social contract. Socrates is convinced that citizenship is informed by obligation. In Plato’s Crito, Socrates firmly supports the idea of the…show more content…
Though this may seem like an idealized system, Pericles resembles the approach of modern society. Democracy favors the many instead of the few and Pericles believes justice is achieved when citizens follow those laws in which they have the freedom to participate in public life. Pericles notes, “We alone do good to our neighbors not upon a calculation of interest, but in the confidence of freedom and in a frank and fearless spirit.” The difference between Socrates and Pericles is that Socrates believes citizens have an obligation to participate in politics; whereas Pericles states that there is freedom to participate in public life and behave as a free and tolerant state as long as there is respect for authority and the

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