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Utilitarianism as a way of lifeSuppose you are Mill Suppose that you are asked to write a six-pageessay for the New York Times Magazine critically assessing Socrates viewson what makes life worth or not worth living Write it Let us first begin with the supposition that utilitarianism is a set ofrules for right and wrong constituting a morality This morality can thenbe applied to actions to determine their ethical values In the case ofSocrates many aspects of utilitarianism are applicable to his finalaction the drinking of the Hemlock which he took of his own accordalthough it has been said he could have just as easily escaped thisultimate end It is this that I propose to study because what better wayis there to see a theorys appropriateness than by presenting it in such acontroversial setting The events surrounding the trial and death of sucha prolific philosopher are questionable in their true moral value So muchdebate can be made on merely the issues presented in this limited case thatwe can actually see the worth of the utilitarian system as a whole In theend we will have discovered that by following the principle of utility thegreatest good may be provided for Before considering whether Socrates was right or wrong we must first knowhow and why he acted and what other actions precipitated this occasion Socrates stood trial under the accusation that he was corrupting the youthof Athens with his teachings mainly because they differed with thepolytheistic viewpoint of the majority of Athenians He was brought tocourt by three men Meletos Anytos and Lycon and charged with a requestedsentence of death in front of a court made up of 501 of his fellowcitizens It is in this place that Socrates finds himself and it is inhis hands and his hands only to handle his defense The Apology coversthis trial not objectively but from Socrates own words It is here fromthis direct source that I will begin my discussion on
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