Term Paper: Authority and Socrates Plato Aristotle and Cicero

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AUTHORITY

Some of the most influential philosophers of the past were Plato, Socrates, Cicero and Aristotle in no particular order. They made a lot of interesting observations during their lifetime. Their philosophy was based on everyday life. They also had their views on matters regarding authority. However their views on authority were not similar.

Socrates believed that political authority as well as intellectual authority should be used to serve everyone. He stated that one should not disobey the state as it is wrong. It is the same as comparing the state to a parent. Socrates gives us the example of a parent and child. It is wrong for the child to disobey his/her parent. In the same way the state is like a parent and everybody should follow the rules of the state. However modern day critics feel that this isn't a legitimate analogy. They feel that children are obliged to be obedient to their parents for a temporary period in their lives. They grow out of that phase once they mature and can make the decisions for themselves. According to Socrates, obeying the state should be requirement till death. Socrates also felt that it was morally wrong to break an agreement as it was unethical. According him, citizens live in a state voluntarily. That would mean that whoever lives in the state should be bind in an agreement to obey it. However his critics feel that whoever lives in a state does not have to enter an agreement with the government. Citizens should live within their boundaries but that does not mean that they should be bound to a contract. Citizens should be in control of their lives and not the state. Socrates believed one should never take the wrong action even if the state were to be committing an evil. He felt that the state had authority over everyone. It is ironic that Socrates showed no regard for the same state he fought for. However he did not disobey the state when it handed him his death sentence.

Plato had different views on authority. His views were in sharp contrast to Socrates views. Plato observed that the state separated people with power from those who didn't have any power. He felt that it was an unfair form of elitism. Plato believed in freedom for the citizens. The state should not have too much authority over the lives of its people. He wanted a society which would allow people to express their views and not be subjected to pressure for their views. Plato felt that it was an unfair democracy as it did not have the will of the people. They had no power to do anything as the state controlled their lives. Plato noted that there should be no democracy. People should have the power to exercise their authority if they could handle it or they could turn themselves over to the authority if they couldn't. He also stated that people should have the power to not fight if war was ever declared. They could also choose to wage a war if there was none. His views mirrored the characteristics of modern day anarchy. Plato believed that the people should have the right to take things in their own hands. They could choose to obey or disobey the authorities. Moreover he felt that authority in politics and religion should be only handed over to people who were responsible and able to take care of everything. Plato felt that authority should be handed over to philosophers as they were experienced and had a lot of knowledge about everything. Plato did not believe in the equality of men and women. He thought that women were below men in every way.

Aristotle had a slightly different perception of authority. He believed that the authority figure in a society should be limited to a ruler. aristotle felt… [END OF PREVIEW]

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