Analysis Of Phillipe Beneton's Equality By Default

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In order to understand Phillipe Beneton’s core argument in Equality by Default, it is important to first analyze the significance of the word choice in the title. Beneton clearly suggests in his title that equality by default is disconnected from other forms of equality, namely substantial equality. Substantial equality is based upon the pretext that “men are alike before they are different” which leads to the healthy conclusion that men are equal because we are all unequivocally human. Meanwhile, equality by default also concludes that all men are equal, however, this conclusion comes through a very different thought process. The key differentiater in Beneton’s title is the word default. This term suggests that equality comes not from…show more content…
are equal because they cannot be differentiated from each other. Beneton clearly feels that the idea of equality by default is not only detrimental, but further that it leads to the imprisonmnent of our minds. Equality by Default is an essay on “modernity as confinement” which essentially means that this new modern way of thinking entraps the mind and disallows freedom of thought to some extent. Plato uses the allegory of the cave to represent the journey of the philosopher as he challenges the commonly held beliefs in a city, and further seeks after enlightenment as well as virtue, which he refers to as the good. Plato further demonstrates that all men are in the cave to some extent as our perceptions of reality are almost entirely shaped by the understanding that our cities and cultures afford to us. In Plato’s eyes, it is absolutely vital to free oneself from the chains of the cave, and to venture out in pursuit of truth, knowledge, wisdom, and excellence. However, according to Beneton, equality by default suggests that, “reason is cut off from life”(21) and that this creates a situation in which, “the vital questions are matters of opinion, and all opinions are equal” (21). This understanding suggests that under rule of equality by default, it is no better to enlighten oneself, and to search for virtue outside of the cave than to remain chained to ignorance while watching “shadowy nothings” move accross the wall. Plato evidently agrees that we must leave

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