To begin with, we need to introduce Socrates. Socrates was and still regarded as one of the most influential philosophers. Socrates throughout his life showed a deep understanding of the human life, as well as an understanding of the world. He is considered one of the most important ethical philosophers of all time. Nothing much is known about his personal life, but his works were well preserved which revealed a lot about him as a great man. Socrates was sentenced to death and was put into prison because he disobeyed the roman god, and claimed to be led by a mysterious power.
He was accused with offences against public morality. After his sentence was released a lot of his friends and jury expected him to refuse the sentence, but for their surprise, he did not say anything and he accepted the sentence readily. Many of his friends urged him to escape the prison, but he refused saying that the state should be obeyed. He stayed in prison for 30 days because at the time of his sentence romans had a sacred time in which they did not kill anybody. During that time, many of his friends came to him and urged him to leave the prison, but he refused.
One of the most important visits by his friends was Crito’s visit. Crito visited him the last day before his sentence, and they argued about whether Socrates should escape or not. In his argument, Crito used a teleological approach. He presented Socrates with the consequences of him staying in jail. On the other hand, Socrates replied to him using deontological approach, defending his point of view using valid reasons. First Crito presented Socrates with the argument that people will say that Socrates did not choose to stay in prison; it must be his friends that did not talk to him.
By this, he is saying if you don’t escape people will talk badly about your friends. By this argument, Crito shows a large interest in public opinion, and a large care about his reputation. This represents a teleological approach, because he is stating facts and consequences of Socrates staying in prison. When Socrates heard this, he immediately refuted this argument. He told Crito that he should not care about the majority’s opinion. Socrates gave the example of a trainer and a student. He says that when the student does something, everybody around him will talk about the thing, but he doesn’t listen to anybody but the trainer.
Then he tells Crito that he should do the same thing because “the general public” is not qualified to judge anybody. It is the responsibility of a qualified person to give judgment for actions taken by others. This argument represents a deontological approach, because he is talking about a purpose. He is not listing facts and consequences; he is just saying that all matters of justice and injustice should be handled that way because it is the right way. According to Socrates justice and truth work together. He gave an argument saying that the state is the one that bough him to life, and is the one who could end his life.
He made a comparison between the state and parents. He said that the state in a sense is like a parent, who always wants the best for his son. This is a deontological approach because he did not say anything about a consequence he just listed his belief and his point of view on the subject. To add, Socrates mentioned another point, which is that by disobeying the state you are breaking a commitment and by breaking the commitment you are doing wrong. This also is a deontological approach of the issue because he is stating a point of view without mentioning any facts or evidence about it. He is just pointing out a personal point of view.
He is basing his argument on his perception of right and wrong, without any reference to factual evidence. He said that by disobeying the state and going out of prison without an official charge he would be unfair and unjust to the people of Athens. He says that by escaping, he breaks the law and the law is found for everybody and is fair with everybody, so if he breaks it this justice will break down. This is another deontological approach because he is supporting his point of view using his own perceptions of right and wrong. He does not backup his argument with consequences or related factual evidence.
In addition to the deontological approach, Socrates used the teleological approach in addressing some of the issues with him escaping prison. In his argument with Crito about leaving the prison because of his kids, Crito said that if he stays in the prison his children will be orphaned and will have nobody to take care of them and educate them. He used the teleological approach here because he mentioned a consequence of him staying in the prison. Socrates replied to that by saying that by escaping, he would break the law. By breaking the law Socrates would be labeled as an outlaw.
Being an outlaw would not allow him to raise his children, because he will be running away from the government the whole time. Not having time for his children will let strangers raise them. While if he stays in prison and dies the state will take care of his children. This shows a teleological approach because Socrates is mentioning a consequence of him running out of prison. He says that if he escapes, he would not be able to live life the same way he was used to living it. In my opinion, Socrates’ argument is better and more concrete because he didn’t just apply the argument to this particular situation.
He expanded the analogy to involve every situation that involves a case like his. His analogies could be expanded to any situation involving justice and injustice. In addition, Socrates’ arguments represent real moral values. While in Crito’s arguments, we could see that he is only concerned about himself and his reputation. In addition, they could be only applied to this situation not any other situation. His arguments do not have any real ethical or moral values because he is concerned only about himself. To sum up Socrates’ arguments care about the well-being of every human being, while Crito’s only care about the well-being of himself