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starts his main argument in the trial by saying that his wisdom is only “human wisdom” and that he is willing to admit that there is “a good chance” he has that kind of wisdom (p.3 [20e]). He compares this to the kind of wisdom that is “more than human,” by which he means that of the god of Delphi (p.3 [20e]). This is because the oracle told Chairephon that “there was no man wiser” than Socrates (p.3 [21a]). Socrates talks about his distress at hearing this, and explains that he went to ask a bunch of different people about their knowledge, “hoping to refute the oracle there if anywhere, and reply to” it with proof (p.4 [21c]).
He then runs through some of the encounters he had with people he talked to. He starts with a politician who was supposedly wise but “it seemed to me that while this man was considered to be wise both by many other people and especially by himself, he was not.” (p.4 [21e]). When Socrates tries to explain this, he becomes hated. After he had gone through all the politicians with similar results, he tries the poets. The poets come off a little better, for although they are not wise enough to explain their own poetry, but that they “are possessed, like the seers and fortune-tellers, who also say many fine things but know nothing about what theyre saying.” (p.4 [22c]). On the other hand, they think themselves wise just like the politicians do. The last set of people he talks to are the artisans. He finds that although they do know many things, they have the same problem as poets, and “Because each of them performed his craft well, he considered himself to be most wise about the greatest things” (p.5 [22d]).
Socrates is quick to point out that his disproving of these other people’s wisdom does not make him think he is wise himself. He still maintains that knowing he does know nothing makes him both wise and unwise. Because he is self-aware, he knows “that he is actually worthless with respect to
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