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Through Socrates Eyes

Updated on July 26, 2014

Socrates’ Thoughts on Justice

What is the role that justice plays in the actualization of a good life? What separates the just from the unjust? What is that that determines one from the other? Socrates had his arguments. In his perspective, whatever that is just serves to benefit the soul and that that is unjust does the contrary. It harms the soul. So how does one obtain knowledge on justice? Put simply, one seeks out an expert in the matter. Another question arises-why is it important to do so?

Only Experts have True Knowledge

Harsh? Maybe. But as per my deduction of Socrates view, it is incomprehensible that one who is not an expert in justice to have true knowledge in it. It would be thus unwise to pursue advice from such. Doing so will result in harming the soul and consequently the failure of living a good life. It bears equal nature to partaking in unjust actions.

On the other side of the scope, taking advice on what is just from someone who is an expert will result in a good life. How? This is as the soul will be benefitted, rather than hurt, by the doing of things which are just. However it was brought to notice that upon disagreeing with an expert on whether a certain path is deemed just or unjust, one shouldn’t be forced onto it.

Why Socrates Never Feared Death

Death-a cause of worry for many and a source of fear for most. Why was it, then, that Socrates did not fear it? Socrates believed that one can’t fear that which is not known. Since he didn’t know what death was, he consequently could not, need not, fear it. Furthermore, he was of the perception that knowledge could only be ultimately pure if the soul was isolated from the body.

He was thus of the view that, by thus, a true philosopher should not fear death. His pointing out that fear of death was tantamount to fear of wisdom and love of the body is clear indication that he saw death to not being the end of life, a romantic notion per se. This would have helped him cope with the reality of the death penalty that he faced.

Fear the Unknown

There were those who disagree with this notion. That by fact something is unknown is reason enough to fear it. No one is certain as to what awaits on the other side upon passing away. No one can claim to look forward to it or to dread it. The certainty that it is a compulsory path that life must take only heightens the anxiety.

Did Socrates Support Suicide?

So, if death in Socrates’ view is to be welcomed, why then is suicide wrong? ‘It’s unnatural’ is one of the notions raised. How is it so? In the end it is the soul that leaves the body, common with all kinds of death. Delving into the matter, a conclusion is made that suicide is unnatural because the gods do not decide upon it. This can be expounded upon by Socrates take on the matter that is the humans-gods relationship. He equated it to a slave-master relationship. Taking of one’s life did not concur with the gods will and it is an obligation of slaves not to contradict their master’s will.

How Important is the World? How Important is Life?

This brings as to the question-is the world as important as the Athenians believe? It is in actual sense. It is the journey that is life that is fundamental to each and every personality. Socrates also perceived there to be an intelligence responsible for crafting the universe and all in it. Would the gods then be subordinate to existence of truth?

Truth is supreme as it bears purity, perfection. Truth cannot be refuted. Everything else stands secondary. It determines what is and what isn’t. All that is left is for the rest to fall in place.


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