This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to show that Plato's Republic contains two distinct and irreconcilable portrayals of the philosopher. Plato positions his readers to detect the deficiencies in the second philosopher by revealing—in advance—a philosopher of a different stripe. If the first philosopher can reasonably be thought to represent a Platonic ideal, then the second, a philosopher radically different from the first, cannot. If the second philosopher is thus not only second but second-rate, it is because he reflects the character and taste not of Socrates or Plato but of Socrates' interlocutors Glaucon and Adeimantus. The remainder of the chapter discusses the brothers Glaucon and Adeimantus and Socrates' engagement with them. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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