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Socrates argues that he cannot be held
accountable for the charge of corrupting the youth. He is accused of being the
biggest – if not the only – perpetrator of corruption of the youth in Athens.

Meletus names to be Socrates as the only corruptor, but Socrates calls
attention to the absurdity of the claim, since Meletus’ complementary argument
essentially implies that the rest of Athens influences the youth in a “positive”
way. That should not be the case, however, given that there is no logic in the
mass influence of one corruptor. Socrates explains this absurdity by using one
of his many analogies. He alludes to the constant influences when explaining
that just as there are few horse trainers, so there are few who are in a position
to really “train” the youth (25c, p.22). He later goes on to question
Meletus’ insistence on Socrates’ intention to harm. If Socrates voluntarily
hurt the youth, then they would hurt him in return, and no rational person
hurts himself on purpose (26a, p.22).

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