Are we obligated to obey unjust laws? Laws are important because they are guidelines for a state. Without laws citizens would not know how to act and cause harm to others. Laws are aimed at common good and keep a society together and functioning. States have laws to maintain peace and safety among people and provide ways to resolve issues that arise among individuals. As a citizen of a state you are expected to obey all laws. An environment without laws will cause the typical exercises of life to be affected by the chaos. In Plato’s book, Crito, Socrates believes you should always obey the law. You are obligated to obey unjust laws because you tacitly agree to obey the laws, people have different opinions what is just or unjust, and there are many consequences when disobeying a law. Living in state, you give a tacit consent to obey the state by accepting the benefits given to you. Although it is not written or verbalized, this could be considered a contract. When you disobey the law you break the agreement and causing harm to the state. As stated by Socrates, the state has given their citizens education, freedom to vote, and many other benefits, so the citizens should obey the laws …show more content…
One reason is if you obey an unjust law, then you are unjust yourself. This is invalid given that disobeying any law makes you unjust. Also, Socrates explains to Crito that what the majority thinks “cannot make a man either wise or foolish, but they inflict things haphazardly” (Crito 47). What the majority thinks is not always the right thing. People are influenced by others who disobey the law which can eventually lead up to anarchy, so why would you want to disobey a law? To say that if you are following an unjust law makes you unjust, it is based by your opinion. People have different meanings of what is just or unjust, thus we cannot determine whether a law is just or
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The laws are suppose to protect the society and its people, yet when the order of the government turns corrupt, then the validity of everything is at stake. As one can see, the corrupt laws placed Socrates in prison and he chose to abide by the impartial laws in order to be consistent and loyal to the
Laws can easily be differentiated on whether they are, or are not, just by checking if it follows certain guidelines told by Martin Luther King. In addition, if the laws are don't obey the set principles, then they end up harshly influencing people. King specifically stated the definition of an unjust law in the text, “An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” (pg. 29, par. 16). He explains that a unjust law morally is incorrect, and shouldn't be followed as it doesn't help put the community.
Socrates believes that one's focus should be on what is morally right and wrong, which should be independent of what society thinks. Socrates articulates that moral right and wrong depends on our own intuition on whether we believe that our actions is inflicting evil on others. Furthermore if he escapes prison he has inflicted evil on his government because of his obligation to keep the laws of the government. Socrates continues to say that like his parents, the government deserves his obedience. I agree with Socrates that it all boils down to our morality and our own reason to what constitutes to civil disobedience.
In this paper I will argue that Socrates’s argument at 50a-b of the Crito would be not harming his fellow citizens by breaking the laws. Based on the readings from Plato’s The Five Dialogues, I will go over the reasoning of Socrates’ view on the good life. I will then discuss the three arguments Crito has for Socrates regarding his evasion of the death sentence including the selfish, the practicality, and the moral arguments. I will deliberate an objection to the argument and reply to the objections made in the paper and conclude with final thoughts. Socrates argues in the Crito that he should not escape or disobey the law because it is unethical.
Political activists and philosophers alike have a challenging task of determining the conditions under which citizens are morally entitled to go against the law. Socrates and Martin Luther King, Jr. had different opinions on the obligation of the citizens in a society to obey the law. Although they were willing to accept the legal punishment, King believed that there are clear and definable circumstances where it would be appropriate, and sometimes mandatory, to purposely disobey unjust laws. Socrates did not. Socrates obeyed what he considered to be an unjust verdict because he believed that it was his obligation, as a citizen of Athens, to persuade or obey its Laws, no matter how dire the consequences.
Is it better to follow laws that are unjust but right, or do the thing that is fair but are against the law? Socrates in Plato’s “The Crito” and Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” answer this question from conflicting perspectives. According to Plato (427-423 BCE), Socrates believed that it is his duty to obey the law of his city, Athens, on all occasions, whereas King (1963) made the argument first put forth by St. Thomas Aquinas that “an unjust law is no law at all” (p. 69). One of these reasons for the differing opinions on this subject is due to the times and places in which these two men existed and came to their views on Civil disobedience.
What this suggests is that Socrates would be supporting the wrong-doing of his adversaries in following through with their commands. But Socrates argues that laws are just and one should never do wrong. No matter how much one thinks the act was just. He explained that he could not break the law, just because he believed the reason he was being punished was unjust. He was a man that lived his whole life following the Law of the Athenians.
Preserving the value of laws was critical to Socrates, for he believed that if he broke this one law it would cause harm to the rest of the laws. His actions would then result in the downfall of the judicial system and government. One analogy that really allows clarity for this is that Laws are like money; the value of which is not their actual worth, but the worth given to them by the people. We believe that money is valuable even though its physical worth is essentially nonexistent. Laws only have meaning because the people within society give them meaning.
Many countries and areas went into utter and total chaos due to realizing that they did not have the same rights or equal rights like the next person. Before the french revolution people just did what they were supposed to for hundred of years, it was until they realized that Hey! maybe I don't want to blindly follow this guy that is wearing the crown or that Hey! he shouldn't be allowed to do that. Rule of law exists because its meant for us to have a connection (maybe not a strong one like culture or interests) but a connection never the less.
My Standpoint Civil Disobedience is an effective method of change that has been used throughout history against unjust laws. “Antigone” The story of “Antigone” uses this idea of civil disobedience through Antigone who defies the law given by her new king. As Creon starts off his first day of work he is emotional due to the loss of his eldest son. Because Creon is so emotional, he states that the person who brought war to the land causing his eldest son’s death, shall not be buried.
The relationship between the law and society affects everyone and everything. How the law is written and how it is acted upon in society are two different things. It is imperative, therefore, that we as citizens pay attention to and understand the importance of the relationship between the law and society as it affects both our own lives and the lives of those around us. We engage in and witness the power of the law and society everyday. The law is personal, however, the law is also discretionary depending on where you look.
In a world without law peace and justice would be hard to maintain. The law is created to help protect the people’s rights and keep them safe. Throughout time laws have been changed either creating new laws or restructuring old laws or just removing old laws. There is a thin line between right and wrong and that is why people have been struggling throughout the ages to come up with the perfect set of laws to follow. With this uncertainty set in place the question of whether if it is ever justified to break the law comes up.
According to Gloria Steinem, “Law and justice are not always the same”. This quote means that following the law may not always mean justice is being served. Laws are rules and guidelines that are set up to govern behavior. Laws set out standards, procedures