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τῶν γραμμάτων: lit. letters; here, the rudiments of learning, reading and writing.

ὁπότε βούλοιτο: for the assimilation of mode, see on αἰσθανοίμεθα i. 5. 1.—δικαιότερον κτλ.: the fallacy, of course, consists in the assumption that he who knows what is right will always do it; a confusing of knowledge with character. He who knows the right is not ‘righter,’ but only ‘more knowing’ than he who does not know it. While we recognize this argument as a weak place in Socrates's reasoning, it is not necessary to regard him as insincere in making use of it to convict the young man of ignorance. It is clear that to him the term ‘knowledge’ included more than we understand by it. See Introd. §§ 18-21.

φαίνομαι (sc. τοῦτο λέγων): “evidently I am saying this.”

οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ὅπως: somehow or other.

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