The Society met on October 6 in Riggs Library to consider the question Resolved: Socrates was Justly Condemned.
Ms. Mary Margaret Cleary spoke on the affirmation and Ms. Madeline Revier spoke on the negation.
Ms. Cleary began by asserting that Socrates did in fact commit the crimes of which he was committed. She argued that, although we may not like the law, the Athenians justly condemned Socrates for a violation of their laws, and thus his condemnation was just. Ms. Cleary did note, however, that they did not condemn him for being annoying, but she would most likely do so. Ms. Revier contended that the charge against Socrates was not just. She stated “if making the youth think is corruption, than he is guilty.” She discussed the role of the youth in Athens, and claimed that Socrates made the elders of Athens angry because he challenged their knowledge.
Ms. Emily Coccia (COL ’15) began the floor debate by arguing that Athens at the time of Socrates needed a stable society, not a questioning old man. Mr. Donovan continued this strain of though, orienting the debate with historical background. He went on to confess to the Society that he would wear a shirt that said “Kids Don’t Do Socrates” if he were in Athens. Ms. Green argued that the text and history was on the side of the affirmation, and that Socrates corrupted them by saying questioning was the only way to achieve greatness and understanding. Echoing many previous comments, Vice President Henderson asserted that Socrates had no regard for the laws of Athens. Mr. Lim discussed the differences between legality and justice.
Mr. Shom Mazumbder (SFS ’15) and Ms. Emily Coccia (COL ’15) were chosen as the night’s best floor speakers by the keynoters.
The Society voted 45-19-2 to affirm the resolution.
Peter A. Prindiville