September 20, 2011
Socrates predominately values the state of the soul, therefore his decision to remain in prison, contrary to Crito’s wishes, condemning himself to death is the only plausible option. Socrates values focus on the soul, and the ways the state of the soul can remain in its best condition (Phil. 100 notes, 15 September). Support for this statement is readily visible when Socrates addresses the Athenian citizens: “For I go around doing nothing but persuading both young and old among you not to care for your body or your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best possible state of your soul” (30b).
Socrates is so steadfast in his commitment to the betterment of the soul, because he believes it is the condition of a person’s soul that will lead them to happiness, both in this life and the next. Judgment pertaining to the condition of one’s soul will be delivered upon arrival in Hades, and without a righteous soul a desirable judgment will be in doubt. Socrates gives credence to the previous statement by saying, “Do not value… anything more than goodness, in order that when you arrive in Hades you may have all this as your defense before the rulers there” (54b). This is in part why Socrates wishes to die rather than devalue the goodness of his soul.
Socrates taught that the state of a soul is affected, either positively or negatively, by our willing actions. Our will is guided by our knowledge, and this knowledge is improved through engagement in dialectic. The study of dialectic forces an individual to examine their beliefs, and question the validity of preconceived notions. The more one knows, the greater their ability to reach the correct or just decision, through the employment of their reason. This is beneficial because according to Socrates decisions made, just or unjust, affect the state of our soul., “…we shall harm and corrupt that part of ourselves that is improved by just actions and...