Crito has come at the break of dawn to persuade Socrates to disobey the law and break out of jail. SOCRATES: Then consider the matter in this way:—Imagine that I am about to play truant (you may call the proceeding by any name which you like), and the laws and the government come and interrogate me: ‘Tell us, Socrates,’ they say; ‘what are you about? Speaker: Dr Kevin Walton (Sydney Law School) Chair: Paul Troop (UCL Laws) About the talk. And if this is true you are not on equal terms with us; nor can you think that you have a right to do to us what we are doing to you. Normative and instrumental perspectives were important sources of Guangzhou citizens' perceived obligation to obey the law. We have a political obligation to obey the law in our society, this belief is backed up by the justifications of fairness, consent, utilitarianism, and morality, but the most compelling arguments found for the justification of why we should obey the law are consent, fairness and morality, Utilitarianism. In the year 399 B.C., in Athens, Socrates was brought to trial on charges of impiety and corrupting the youth. Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Before one can know whether there is a moral obligation to obey the law, one must know what a moral obligation to obey the law is. Do you imagine that a state can subsist and not be overthrown, in which the decisions of law have no power, but are set aside and trampled upon by individuals?’ What will be our answer, Crito, to these and the like words? He was found guilty and condemned to death. We have an obligation to obey the law, if we have an obligation to act in accordance with the law because the law commands it. Anyone, and especially a rhetorician, will have a good deal to say on behalf of the law which requires a sentence to be carried out. The moral obligation to obey the law, or as it is generally called, political obligation, is a moral requirement to obey the laws of one’s country. Rawls’s principle of fair play is essentially a just and united social The central question raised in this passage is: Do we have an obligation to obey the law, and if so, why are we obligated? To learn more about the ideas of Socrates and Plato, please see the following links: The Daily Idea aims to make learning about philosophy as easy as possible by bringing together the best philosophy resources from across the internet. In fact, with the exception of a special class of laws, it is no reason at all. All Rights Reserved. This is the core of discussion whether there is a general moral obligation to obey the law. In this Wireless Philosophy video, Matthew Chrisman (University of Edinburgh) explores the nature of our obligations to obey the law. This one gives a general introduction to the dialogue, while this one focuses specifically on this section of the dialogue. As a leader of this discussion, Rawls proposes that moral obligation to obey the law is upheld if the system of law is grounded in the principle of fair play. Did it violate a moral obligation to obey the law -- or can it be criticized only for failing to do an adequate risk-benefit analysis of compliance versus noncompliance? In his philosophical text, Plato’s Socrates argued that when one was raised and educated in a society, one had already received the benefits of the society’s laws. Thanks for watching! Obligation to Obey the Law. Obligation to Obey the Law.   Human beings' inherent epistemic limitations mean that they must rely on the trial and error learning built into the common law process to discover rules that facilitate peaceful social interaction. In this passage, Socrates argues that he has an obligation to obey the law and remain in his cell, even if he was unjustly sentenced to death. Traditionally, this has been viewed as a requirement of a certain kind, to obey the law for the “content-independent” reason that it is the law, as opposed to the content of particular laws. @inproceedings{DAmato2010ObligationTO, title={Obligation to Obey the Law: A Study of the Death of Socrates}, author={A. One final point in clarification: As used here, the phrase "prima facie" bears a different meaning than it does when used in legal writing. Please, subscribe or login to access full text content. It seems that it is the merits and demerits of obedience in each case which impose the obligation (or lack thereof ) to obey. Reading. In this Wireless Philosophy video, Matthew Chrisman (University of Edinburgh) explores the nature of our obligations to obey the law. moral obligation to obey the law, or, at the very least, the participants in the debate have been prepared to assume that this is so.2 To simplify the discussion, I shall adopt John Simmons' practice of speaking of a moral obligation to obey the law, rather than of a prima facie moral obligation to obey the law.3 Following this practice, to say But the general idea in favour of a moral obligation to obey the law is that in most cases we should assume that because law is generally good, we should follow individual laws unless they are particularly unjust or there are special moral circumstances for breaching it. This chapter does not provide general argument showing there is no such obligation to obey the law; rather, it hopes that a more indirect approach may suggest that the duty does not exist. Would you have any right to strike or revile or do any other evil to your father or your master, if you had one, because you have been struck or reviled by him, or received some other evil at his hands? Without the laws, he would not even exist. Will you, O professor of true virtue, pretend that you are justified in this? I do not hope to prove this contention beyond a reasonable doubt: Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter. contact us o I’m not sure we can’t tease a (narrower) generic obligation to obey out of the act-­utilitarian argument: e.g. use the phrase "the prima facie obligation to obey the law" I shall be referring to a generic obligation. The term“obligation” need not be used, nor its near-synonym,“duty.” One rarely finds the imperative mood. ‘Well then, since you were brought into the world and nurtured and educated by us, can you deny in the first place that you are our child and slave, as your fathers were before you? “Crito” explained Plato’s Socrates’ view on obligation to the law fairly simple: always obey the laws. or rather do I not wrong those whom I ought least to wrong? In the first place did we not bring you into existence? Three possible bases for an ethical obligation to obey the law are examined. A second argument for a general moral obligation to obey the law is the argument of consent. Matthew is Professor of Ethics and Epistemology in the Philosophy Department at the University of Edinburgh. And when we are punished by her, whether with imprisonment or stripes, the punishment is to be endured in silence; and if she lead us to wounds or death in battle, thither we follow as is right; neither may anyone yield or retreat or leave his rank, but whether in battle or in a court of law, or in any other place, he must do what his city and his country order him; or he must change their view of what is just: and if he may do no violence to his father or mother, much less may he do violence to his country.’ What answer shall we make to this, Crito? D'Amato}, year={2010} } A. Social Contract Theory 5. Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is superseded thereby. So the hard question is how we come to actually acquire political and legal obligations. a prima facie obligation to obey particular laws (e.g., when disobedi-ence has seriously untoward consequences or involves an act that is mala in se), they have no prima facie obligation to obey all its laws. are you not going by an act of yours to overturn us—the laws, and the whole state, as far as in you lies? Even the author suggests that there is not even a prima facie obligation to obey it. He will argue that this law should not be set aside; and shall we reply, ‘Yes; but the state has injured us and given an unjust sentence.’ Suppose I say that? Tell us,—What complaint have you to make against us which justifies you in attempting to destroy us and the state? Has a philosopher like you failed to discover that our country is more to be valued and higher and holier far than mother or father or any ancestor, and more to be regarded in the eyes of the gods and of men of understanding? And because we think right to destroy you, do you think that you have any right to destroy us in return, and your country as far as in you lies? (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. You could not be signed in, please check and try again. For a more thorough discussion, Dr. Gregory Sadler has several videos on the Crito. This chapter does not provide general argument showing there is no such obligation to obey the law; rather, it hopes that a more indirect approach may suggest that the duty does not exist. FAQs This essay argues that there can be a duty to obey the law when it is produced by the evolutionary forces at work in the customary and common law. date: 08 December 2020. The full text can be read online at Project Gutenberg or a more modern translation of the Crito can be bought on Amazon. If the obligation to obey is established in each case only after considering the merits and demerits of obedience, it is difficult to imagine how the law qua law contributes to an obligation to obey. we’re always obligated to obey the law whenever And there are countless other laws from which he has benefited from living under. It is relatively just only if there is a moral obligation to do that which it imposes legal obligations to do. The first section of the chapter discusses the nature of the claim that one has an obligation to obey the law. Without them, he would not even exist. It is never fully content independent - depends In terms of non-instrumental (consent or social contract theory) - this never fully amounts to an obligation in terms of mandatory comply So doesn't go as far to answer whether there is an 'obligation' to obey the law. Some even argued that theexistence of political obligations could be established by conceptualanalysis alone — a point we return to in §3. View On the Moral Obligation to Obey the Law.pdf from POLI 2107 at The University of Hong Kong. In the twentieth century political philosophers devoted themselves atleast as much to the analysis of the problem of political obligation,and to the concepts it involves, as to full-scale attempts to devisetheories of the obligation to obey the law. In this passage, Socrates argues that he has an obligation to obey the law and remain in his cell, even if he was unjustly sentenced to death. You can also listen to an audio version of this reading on Youtube. Is it through birth, or through consent? You would not say this. Rule of law: In democratic societies, governments and those in power are subject to the law of the land. law. A citizen should never harm the city’s legal institutions because he owes them for bringing him into the world, for educating and raising him. The theory of fairplay creates another link by which an obligation to obey the law is created. Do I not desert the principles which were acknowledged by us to be just—what do you say? Speaker: Dr Kevin Walton (Sydney Law School) Chair: Paul Troop (UCL Laws) About the talk. absolute obligation, obligation, obey the law, prima facie obligation, law, good law. Matthew Chrisman . Joseph Raz, The Obligation to Obey: Revision and Tradition, 1 Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy 139 (1984) Kent Greenawalt, The Natural Duty to Obey the Law, 84 Michigan Law Review 1 (1985)[alternatively, chapter 2 of Conflicts of Law and Morality (Oxford U.P., 1989) First he argues that by disobeying the law he will harming the city by contributing to the destruction of it’s legal institutions. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. The following reading is from the Crito by Plato, translation by Benjamin Jowett. Follow The Daily Idea on Facebook and Twitter for updates. The following reading is from the Crito by Plato, translation by Benjamin Jowett. SOCRATES: Ought a man to do what he admits to be right, or ought he to betray the right? That there should never be an obligation to obey the law simply because it is the law. Reassessment of the relation between law and ethics justifies a new look at the classic statement of legal obligation: the death of Socrates found in the dialogues of Plato. The basic assumption of the argument is rather … Matthew is Professor of Ethics and Epistemology in the Philosophy Department at the University of Edinburgh. It is generally agreed that there is no absolute or conclusive obligation to obey the law. SOCRATES: But if this is true, what is the application? THE OBLIGATION TO OBEY THE LAWt Richard A. Wasserstrom* The question of what is the nature and extent of one's obliga- tion to obey the law is one of those relatively rare philosophic questions which can never produce doubts about the importance of theory for practice. Hart explains the existence of a legal system by the reunion of two perspectives usually respectively attributed to naturalist and positivist. In leaving the prison against the will of the Athenians, do I wrong any? Keywords: “Do you imagine that a state can subsist and not be overthrown, in which the decisions of law have no power, but are set aside and trampled upon by individuals?”. For example, I might have a legal obligation to pay tax in a deeply corrupt state, but not necessarily a moral obligation to do so. The study revealed that the vast majority of citizens in Guangzhou felt obligated to obey the law irrespective of their personal feelings. Only if one knows what it is can one know whether an argument for it succeeds. “There is no obligation to obey the law even in a good society where the legal system is just.” Table of Contents 3. establish that we have a specific prima facie obligation to obey the law when doing so would in fact be optimific. The chapter also examines the case for the existence of such obligation arising from moral and prudential considerations. A son should never attack his parents; he owes them for bringing him into this world, for educating and raising him. Similarly, without laws around marriage his parents would never have come together to have a child, without educational laws he wouldn’t have received a proper education. Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012, DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198253457.001.0001, PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). Political obligations vary in force. AUTHORITY, LEGITIMACY, AND THE OBLIGATION TO OBEY THE LAW - Volume 24 Issue 2 - Richard Dagger Professor of Philosophy at University of Edinburgh. The CanadianCriminal Code imposes an obligation not to advocate genocide thus:“Every one who advocates or promotes genocide is guilty of anindictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceedingfive years.” The English Sale of Goods Act says that,“Where th… . This discussion started in … Your father married your mother by our aid and begat you. To troubleshoot, please check our It appears to be quite obvious then that the status of law adds no moral force in a just legal system and would indeed be redundant in Raz’s own terms. He goes on to say that he is obligated to obey the law in a similar way that a child is obligated to obey a parent. Three possible bases for an ethical obligation to obey the law are examined. The basic assumption of the argument is rather … This passage is an early example of the gratitude theory of political obligation. Positivist and Natural Law Theory 8. In this Wireless Philosophy video, Matthew Chrisman (University of Edinburgh) explores the nature of our obligations to obey the law. To get started, check out this organized collection of 400+ articles, podcasts, and videos on a wide range of philosophical topics. Matthew Chrisman . A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is a collection of the greatest thoughts from history’s greatest thinkers. He has already bribed the guards and made all necessary arrangements to allow Socrates to escape. Introduction 3. It is generally agreed that there is no absolute or conclusive obligation to obey the law. CRITO: I cannot tell, Socrates; for I do not know. Socrates speaks on behalf of the laws and argues that he must obey, even if this means he will be put to death, and even if he was unjustly sentenced in the first place. CRITO: He ought to do what he thinks right. But this doesn’t establish a generic obligation to obey. , and if you can't find the answer there, please People have a general duty to obey the law because it is democratically decided. Socrates claims that to harm the state would be a greater crime than harming one’s parents. 4 See, e.g., Lefkowitz, David, “ The Duty to Obey the Law,” Philosophy Compass 1, no. Thanks for watching! (late 2nd Ed. AUTHORITY, LEGITIMACY, AND THE OBLIGATION TO OBEY THE LAW - Volume 24 Issue 2 - Richard Dagger The obligation to obey the law looks to only apply to a limited range of people, if we go with the consents account examined so far. This is a topic that Plato will (partially) address in the next reading: On Consenting to Laws – another short reading from the Crito. Civil Disobedience 9. Professor of Philosophy at University of Edinburgh. But Crito ultimately fails to persuade Socrates and he remains in his cell to await his execution. This chapter fleshes out Dworkin's argument for a general obligation to obey the law. It concludes with a discussion of the role of the law in society in a way which explains why one should not expect a good law to give rise to an obligation to obey it. Do the laws speak truly, or do they not? This naïve legalistic notion of the duty to obey the law has few, if any, takers. This is the idea that by some action, or inaction, we have implicitly consented to obeying society's law. An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law. Every legal system contains obligation-imposing laws, but there isno decisive linguistic marker determining which these are. The theory of fairplay creates another link by which an obligation to obey the law is created. Tags: Socrates, estoppel, law and ethics, ethical obligation to obey law [pg1079]**Do we have an obligation to obey any law, no matter how unjust or evil, provided only that it is in fact a valid rule of the legal system in which we happen to be physically The discussion of moral obligation to obey the law, however, raises difficult questions met by various arguments. Even the author suggests that there is not even a prima facie obligation to obey it. The two can come apart. Second problem. It seems to be a restriction on consent that it only generates obligation if one is able to withhold consent. Where there's no possibility of withholding consent, there is no effective consent. organized collection of 400+ articles, podcasts, and videos. In this Wireless Philosophy video, Matthew Chrisman (University of Edinburgh) explores the nature of our obligations to obey the law. Or do we have ‘nat… D'Amato}, year={2010} } A. This is not a purely academic concern, meriting the interest only of management scholars. It is set in Socrates’ jail cell the day before he is due to be executed. Do we have an obligation to obey the law, and if so, why are we obligated? To have a political obligation is to have a moral duty to obey the laws and support the institutions of one’s political community. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it. It would be insulting if people didn't engage in murder and rape because it was the law - should expect them to refrain whether it was legally forbidden or not the whole motive for following law should be morality, not legality If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian. But it also raises problems about whether we are obligated to obey unjust laws. Political Obligations 6. Featuring classic quotations by Aristotle, Epicurus, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, Michel Foucault, and many more, A History of Western Philosophy in 500 Essential Quotations is ideal for anyone looking to quickly understand the fundamental ideas that have shaped the modern world. The Crito, written by Plato, is a dialogue between Socrates and his good friend Crito. In fact, I think political obligations are a broader category of duties than strictly legal obligations. ‘Or against those of us who after birth regulate the nurture and education of children, in which you also were trained? Power changes hands democratically according to the rules of the country’s constitution, not as the result of force or war. Were not the laws, which have the charge of education, right in commanding your father to train you in music and gymnastic?’ Right, I should reply. 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