Argument, it's a funny old word. If you've never seen that old Monty Python sketch, the argument clinic, then now might be a good time. Pause this video, open a new tab, Google argument Clinic. Watch, good. Now you're back. If you are a logician, then argument means something like set of two or more propositions, at least one of which is a premise. At least one of which is a conclusion. An argument is a rational structure in which premises give reasons, for conclusions. But argument can also just mean people fighting. A proof in a geometry book is an argument. A angry bar fight, is an argument. If you wanted to pick the one thing in the whole universe that is most unlike a proof in the geometry book, hm, angry bar fight wouldn't be a bad choice. So why do we use the same word for both? Are we crazy? Do you see what I'm getting at? Sometimes, Socrates seems like he's wasting our time. Because there's a street fight going on between him and some other guy and he's brought a geometry proof to a fight. Hilarious choice of weapons, dude. By the way, why did Alcibiades and other young noble Athenians like Socrates so much? Alcibiades wasn't the only one. We already heard about why Alcibiades didn't like Socrates at first. Those, what his x arguments they seem so crude, so over simple. They feel like they miss the human point. We heard that Alcibiades eventually came around but there also had to be something attractive about Socrates, even at the start. Or else Alcibiades would have never stuck around. Let me say something about that, admittedly a bit speculative. Speaking well and dueling well with words was something that mattered very much to the Athenians. Particularly members of Alcibiades social class, the aristocracy. So Socrates fascinated them. An analogy. You ever watch a martial arts movie? If not you should, they're fun. Often times, there's one guy, the hero, or maybe the hero's old master, and he doesn't look like much. And there's this other guy, who's younger with all these muscles. You can just imagine them here, and maybe he's got a lot of friends to back him up. And he announces in a deep voice, my Kung Fu is stronger! To prove it, he shows off these amazing flashy moves. And the gold in his robes kind of glint in the sun. He's doing, I don't know, Grizzly bear frosting a birthday cake move. Or grasshopper tiding, typing the next great American novel. Something really fancy. He runs through his forms to show you what he's got. And then, he attacks. And then the other guy, who doesn't look like much, does like a little taiji defensive thing. He holds out his little finger, and the other guy, even with all his muscles and his flashy moves and his well-polished forms. Somehow, he can't get past the little annoying finger that the old guy is holding out. For some incomprehensible reason. And suddenly the balance has shifted. Bam. Tough guy on the ground, writhing in pain. And the other guy, who looked like he might blow away in a light breeze, he won. How did he do it? No one knows. That's why we love martial arts films. The Athenians didn't have martial arts films, so they watched Socrates argue with guys who thought they were all that and by the way how humiliating is that? To be the flashy aggressor who loses to the shabby guy who didn't even break a sweat? Social media disaster to lose like that in public. In front of all your fans. Beyond entertainment value, the spectators want to pick up some of these tricks in a situation like that. They don't want to be Socrates. What young aristocrat wants to be an ugly old man? But it would be cool if you could use the old man's tricks to do what that loser tried to do. Namely, win, dominate and look awesome in from of his fellow great apes. My argument is stronger! What Alcibiades is saying in his speech is that at a certain point, despite himself, he started to realize that maybe there was actually more honor in not regarding arguments as things to beat up and dominate other people with. So does the Kung Fu movie of Alcibiades life, end with him achieving inner peace? By renouncing his flashy aristocrat's life, and becoming Socrates's humble disciple? Nope, like I said, read his Wikipedia page, totally different story, twist ending. So, maybe Plato is saying once again, the wisdom of Socrates, did it do any good? Alcibiades, was attracted, but in the end was to truly, morally improve by exposure to this master. Did I maybe just overdo it with the Kung Fu analogy? I, I think I did overdo it. Forgive me. Let's try out some others. Then you decide which one is best. Let's talk about chess again. Let's look back at my book cover cartoon of the two Greeks. Playing whatever checkers game that is that they're playing. One of them is clearly annoyed, because the other has obviously just proved that my checkers is stronger! My cartoon was inspired by actual ancient Greek images of warriors, usually hoplites, playing some board game. You can Google ancient Greek board game, plus hoplites. I'm sure you'll get hits. Pictures on vases and bowls. I'd like to think that their game was like our modern game of Reversi, or Othello, as it is known. The white player tries to turn all the back pieces white. And vice versa. That would be a perfect metaphor for how Socrates seems to turn everyone's statements into their own opposites. By deriving contractions. Unfortunately, Reversi seems to be a modern game. And no one seems sure what the rules were, for whatever those old Greeks were playing, to while away the long years, while they were besieging Troy. Or whatever they were doing. Oh well. I bring it up because there's a passage in Republic. Not from our readings. But from later in the book. A character named Glaucon, who is actually friendly to Socrates, is trying to explain to him why no one likes him. Why his reason, even though it is strong, is not persuasive. This is a quote form Glaucon. No one can contradict the things you say, Socrates. But each time you say them, your audience has an experience something like this. They think that because they are inexperienced game players, in the game of cross examination, they are tripped up by the argument. A little here. A little there, at each of your questions. When all these small concessions are added together in the end, they find that they fall flat, fallaciously contradicting their own starting points. Just as novice players are, in the end, trapped by masters and cannot move, so this lot are trapped and have nothing to say in this different sort of game played, not with counters, but with words. This passage hits the nail on the head, I think. You've watched this whole video and now you're going to get your just reward for your patience. If you find these Socratic dialogues frustrating, as you well may, ask yourself. Is it because you think it's just a game? That is, these exes we're arguing about, what is holiness, what is justice, what is virtue, arguing in both sense, reasoning about, and fighting over, are all these things just game tokens? They're checkers, or pawns. They aren't really about anything real. But how could that be right? Socrates asks people what they really think about holiness and virtue and justice. If they think this stuff is not real, they could say so, but they don't say so. They seem to say what they really think and if you say what you really think, how can the logical implications of what you say not be real? If it turns out that the implications are the opposite of what you thought. You contradict something else you thought you thought. Doesn't that mean you have to totally change your mind about basic stuff? If the argument is it's just a game, some kind of artificial system that's disconnected from real life. Well, how did it get disconnected?