Jainism is an Indian philosophy who believers believe one should never use violence against another living creature, so they believe that physically defending oneself is harmful to the attacker. Applying Jainist reasoning to Socratic principles, we get:
- Since the psyche is more important than the body, ruining the psyche by doing injustice is more harmful than ruining the body.
- Defending yourself harms the attacker.
- There is no difference between doing an injustice and doing harm.
- Doing an injustice to an attacker ruins my psyche, while not defending myself ruins my body.
- Since no one wants to be harmed, I should not harm the attacker and thus preserve my psyche, even if it means sacrificing my body.
Since Socrates makes no differentiation between harm and injury, and since physically defending oneself would probably injure the attacker, it follows that physical defense would be harmful. Socrates, then, being opposed to harming another person, would be opposed to physically defending oneself.
As could be predicted, few people share Socrates’ principles of non-retaliation. Some of the most noted are Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King who are commonly supposed to have been against any use of physical force.
A problem with supposing that Socrates' principles of non-retaliation are Jainist in nature is that, if Socrates believed that one should never use any physical force against another person, his actions as a foot soldier would seem to prove otherwise. In the Platonic corpus, Socrates is mentioned as distinguishing himself in the battles of Potidaea and Delium. In the Symposium, Alcibiades claims that, during the retreat from Delium, Socrates made it plain from quite a distance away that, if attacked, he would defend himself vigorously.