political philosophy, which is concerned with the nature and justification of government. One leading question of political philosophy is the question of legitimacy: When a government uses force or the threat of force on citizens, what if anything makes this morally justifiable? In other words, does the government have legitimate authority or merely power? What makes the government morally different from, say, a criminal organization with the power to enforce compliance from people?
Socrates explored this question at the end of his life, as he awaited the administration of his death sentence. When Crito, one of his students, offered to arrange to get him out of custody and transport him out of Athens to safety, he refused. His reason for submitting to his punishment is given in his famous “Speech of the Laws of Athens,” at 49e-51c of the Crito dialogue. He argues:
P1. By choosing to remain in the city and benefiting from it throughout his life, he was in effect agreeing to abide by its authority.
P2. We have a moral duty to honor our agreements.
- Therefore, he has a moral duty to abide by the city’s authority in issuing his criminal sentence.
Is Socrates right?
, write couple sentence in which you state at least one of your core beliefs and explain why you believe it
.Beliefs about morality; e.g., “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “Morality is subjective.”