The Case Of The Blind Man

Submitted By hy123
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The Case of the Blind Man
The case presented before us offers the tale of ten young men hearing that the state will give a thousand denarii to a blind man. The ten youths drew lots to decide which young man would be blinded so they could receive the thousand denarii. However, once the “lucky” young man had been blinded and asked the state for the thousand denarii, he was denied. The intention of this paper is to examine the case methodologically to determine what Socrates' opinion would likely be. This will be accomplished by examining Socrates' writings for similar logic and/or rebuttals of others' arguments that would support an assertion of what Socrates would say of this case. Specifically, The Republic “Euthyphro” and ”Phaedrus” are pieces from Plato that we can use to examine Socrates' ideas. The first statement of the case is that “A blind man shall receive a thousand denarii from the state (Assignment Prompt).” One of the immediately noticeable points Socrates would point out is the singularity of the words “a blind man.” There is no evidence to suggest that the state would be giving every blind man one thousand denarii, and there is no indication to give the ten youths involved any notion that the blinded one from their group would be receiving the money. One of the arguments from Plato's work that immediately come to mind in support of this assertion is the portion of “Euthyphro” in which Socrates argues against Euthyphro's assertion that “the pious is the part of the just that is concerned with the care of the gods.” Socrates argues that the actions of men cannot possibly provide any real benefit to the gods, and therefore pious activities cannot improve the gods (Plato, 54). This argument applied to the case at hand indicates that the state's supposed pious action in giving a blind man one thousand denarii isn't a just action, and does nothing for the gods in its supposed piousness. Therefore, Socrates would immediately be skeptical of the state's motivations for giving a thousand denarii to a blind man to begin with, and certainly wouldn't jump to the conclusion that ten youth should draw lots for which one should be blinded to receive it. Another point Socrates would make is his own definition of justice, not in rebuttal of Euthyphro but of his own accord. His argument would be that the labor of the ten youths who have spent all of their money and intend to blind one of themselves to get more money fits with his concept of justice. In The Republic, Plato uses Socrates argument on justice to assert that because justice is what holds society together as a whole, and what is for the betterment of that society as a whole, it is indeed justice for the state to refuse the blinded young man the denarii because giving it to him would mean rewarding the youth's unjust behavior (Plato, 35-6). In addition, giving the man the denarii would prove unjust for society because there is no justice or good to be had from giving a young man who has wasted his money even more money, particularly if he was willing to blind himself to get it. Even setting aside the absurdity of blinding oneself to receive state monies, Socrates would argue that if all ten youth need the money, drawing lots instead of simply blinding all ten youths is unjust. This argument is clearly hinted at in “Euthyphro” and “The Republic” Finally, it seems to be important to bring up Plato's work on Socrates ideas of conspiracy considering the ten youths are indeed creating and carrying out