Subjective and cultural relativism
Subjective relativism refers to the view that an action is regarded as morally right if one approves of it. This is a philosophical position that declares that every person is his or her own authority on the moral life and the source of his own moral principles. This reasoning grants every person a right on making a decision on what is morally right and wrong. On the other hand, cultural relativism is the view that customs, personal beliefs, and ethics are relative to every individual within his or her own social context. Individual actions are morally right if our culture approves them. Being right or wrong is culture-specific since what is regarded as moral in one society differs with other societies. For instance, an action considered as moral in one society may be immoral in another society. Actions are right or wrong to the extent that they conform or do not conform to cultural norms. Cultural relativism views the truth, as a variable and not absolute as the morality of what is right or wrong is determined either by an individual or by the society.
According to Plato, whatever a person believes as true is logically incoherent. He argues against the subjectivism in the form of a proof by contradiction. He imputes subjectivism to Protagoras that it is reasonable to take human kind as the measure that nothing beyond or above human judgement can validate their judgment. He adds that a proof argument proves that a thesis is false by showing that it leads to an absurdity that implies a contradiction. On his critics against subjectivism, he says supposing that the subjectivism is true and a person believes that it true, then it is assumed that it is a subjectivism for proof. Likewise, subjectivism is a false given that people disagree thus that subjectivism implies a contradiction (Cooper, 1997).
Subjective relativism implies that each person is morally infallible and that it is not possible to have a genuine moral disagreement. The justification of subjective relativism follows the line of reasoning. I strongly agree with subjective relativism since it is not self-contradictory and it imposes senses to individuals to have moral authority, enhance the integrity of human conscience and ensure that people appreciate the cultural variety and good manners. Furthermore, subjective relativism does not require the study of ethics. It implies that each person is the source of his or her moral principles and that no one has the right to impose morality on other people. It is subjective to a personal decision and the authority is in the perception of the person.
Reasons why Socrates accepted death sentence instead of going to exile
Socrates trial was a reputation of heroism. During the trial phase, he told the jury that he would rather be put to death than give up his soul saving. He had bold philosophical teaching in him that made him obey God rather than the jury. His conviction and execution were a deliberate choice by himself by lecturing and provoking the jurors rather than persuading them. Socrates was not concerned with the opinion of the majority for he regarded it capable of neither greatest evil nor the greatest good. He preferred to die by arguing that his zeal was invaluable if it was used in support of what was right. By using it in support of what was wrong could lead to an even greater evil. Throughout his life, he made a principle never to be swayed by emotional appeals but to follow a course of a decision directed by reason. By following his principle, he could not choose to go to exile but preferred the death sentence.
Socrates’ escape to exile would be a violation of the law of Athens and this would imply that he was an enemy to the law that maintained order in the society. His family would be faced with the risk of banishment and loss of property. Going to another country would result to be looked as an enemy by the honest citizens. He would have an excessive love of life and the citizens of any country he would go would not bear all of his discussions (Brickhouse, 2002). He had a strong belief in the afterlife to an extent that he knew how it was. He chooses death by arguing that the court was making the judgment based on philosophical point of View rather than from a religious framework. Therefore, he feels content to follow the path along which God has been leading him; the path of death by being an innocent victim of injustice, not of law.
In conclusion, my take on Socrates’ decision implies that although the execution is seen as a good thing happening to him, his arguments are not coherent and persuasive since he does not consider of having a bad afterlife. This is why he chooses to die rather than go to exile since he hopes to have a good afterlife not knowing that execution may be bad or worse.
Brickhouse, T. C., & Smith, N. D. (2002). The trial and execution of Socrates: Sources and controversies. He imputes
Cooper, J. M., & Hutchinson, D. S. (1997). Plato: complete works.