Response to “Apology”

Socrates’s argument in the Apology that exile is not a feasible punishment for him is an unjustified repudiation of his filial responsibilities. When he took a wife and produced children, Socrates assumed the responsibility to provide care for them. As long as they are his dependents, he must do everything within the bounds of morality to help them. In exile, he can provide masculine, paternal support and education to his house. To abandon his family is to break his agreement with them and to commit a sin of omission.

At one point, Socrates protests this option by saying people would speak ill of him if he left the state which raised him, and that no other place would accommodate him as much as Athens did. This argument is inconsistent with Socrates’s own philosophy; at the beginning of Crito, he states that a man must always do the right thing no matter what other people say. In this situation, taking exile is the most moral choice, so he must take it regardless of the grumbling of men.

My claim is also consistent with Socrates’s theory of the social contract. During that discourse, he compares Athens to a loving parent: “We have given you birth, nurtured you, educated you; we have given you and all other citizens a share of all the good things we could.” To him, disobedience to the state is like disobedience to the family. This metaphor shows that he considers the filial contract important; thus, he should honor his own. Accepting exile would not break his contract with Athens, either, for it would give him the sentence. It is Socrates’s most moral choice.

Explore posts in the same categories: Philosophy, Politics, Schoolwork

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