It helps to have a concrete example in mind.

This, too, expresses a fairly common (if somewhat ) view of the facts about social organization.

"What was this Theory of Forms?

More specifically, the kind of knowledge relevant to Socratic inquiry, namely what would contribute to as the "," is not something for everyone, not even to the very brilliant people one may find in philosophy departments or in the history of philosophy (e.g.

There must be an answer that derives more fundamentally from the nature of reality.

As we will later notice, Aristotle had .

Some preliminary answers come immediately to mind: the personal rewards to be gained from performing a job well are commonly distinct from itsintrinsic aims;just people are rightly regarded as superior to unjust people in intelligence and character;every society believes that justice (as conceived in that society) is ;and justice is the proper (Gk.

Socrates attacks these points of Thrasymachus and throws light on the nature of justice.

The "greatest good" sounds rather like , , "the human and social kind of excellence," and Socrates himself has claimed to possess "human wisdom." If , "human wisdom," is the best we can do, because only the god is really wise, then Socrates' investigation is itself the "human and social kind of excellence," which means it is the perfection of being human.

()The answer, Plato believed, was to rely upon the value of a good education.


Both tendencies we can detect in the .

"...as upon a great a noble horse which was somewhat sluggish because of its size and needed to be stirred up by a kind of gadfly (, )." The most memorable and durable of the entire , Socrates as a stinging horsefly.

Plato usually wrote relatively short pieces, like the , , etc.

"...if you kill me you will not easily find another like me." Socrates' irony at new heights, since it is unlikely that the jury would ever consider to find another like Socrates.

It contains virtually the entire universe of Plato's philosophy.

Indeed, the word "gadfly" in English now is hardly used for its original sense of real flies, but exclusively for the sort of "annoying person" (as Webster's says), like Socrates, who bothers politicians and others with pestering complaints or criticism.

But Plato's does not start out about politics.

It is also noteworthy that, again, Socrates credits his accusers with an evil intention that otherwise he finds hard to credit to anyone, since he thinks that no one knowingly does wrong.

The is divided into ten Books.

attempting to have a man executed unjustly." This goes back to another one of Socrates' pet ideas, that it is better to suffer evil than to do it.

Each of these was originally what would fit onto one papyrus scroll.

"...certainly he might kill me..." But Socrates decides, evidently because of his confidence in the justice and providence of the gods, that anything that to be harm must not be harm.

the interest of the stronger, the rulers.

But since Socrates' questions were about goodness, virtue, justice, piety, etc., the point was that people should really worry more about what these things are.