After introducing the themes of the book and discussing some of the rhetorical and educational functions of the Socratic thesis, this chapter defends the book’s method, in which each dialogue is approached as a dramatic whole with special attention to its political dimensions, and the serious core of Socrates’ thought is sought through a dialectical engagement with his often exaggerated and incomplete arguments. The chapter then resolves the Socratic thesis into two basic claims, a claim about the goodness of virtue and a claim about the power of knowledge, cataloguing the most important ways in which each of these claims may be understood.
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