The story begins with Aristodemus encountering Socrates, who has recently bathed and put on sandals–things he rarely does. Aristodemus inquires as to why Socrates is all dressed up, and Socrates answers that he is going to dinner at Agathon’s. Agathon’s tragedy won him first prize at the Lenaean festival the previous day, and while Socrates shunned the large crowds of yesterday’s celebrations, he promised to join Agathon today. Socrates invites Aristodemus to join him, and while Aristodemus is at first hesitant about dropping in uninvited, Socrates persuades him that he must come.
Nietzsche opens with the suggestion that our knowledge relies on a simplification of the truth that makes it expressible in language and understandable to all. Essentially, then, our will to knowledge is built upon, and is even a refinement of, our will to ignorance. Philosophers most of all should not pose as defenders of truth or knowledge. The “truths” of philosophers are just their prejudices, and no philosopher has even been “proved” right. Philosophers are at their best when they are questioning themselves and freeing their spirits from their prejudices.
Certain discursive organizations of objects, concepts, and enunciative modalities give rise to ‘themes’ or ‘theories’ (the former denoting less ‘coherence, rigour, and stability’ than the latter). Foucault calls these themes and theories ‘strategies.’ He cannot say as much about the analysis of the formation of strategies in history as he was able to about the analysis of the first three formations, because his attention in his three previous books was directed primarily toward these first three. He will, however, indicate some directions for research.
Rousseau rejects the idea that legitimate political authority is found in nature. The only natural form of authority is the authority a father has over a child, which exists only for the preservation of the child. Political thinkers – particularly Grotius and Hobbes – have asserted that the relationship between ruler and subject is similar to that between father and child: the ruler cares for his subjects and so has unlimited rights over them. This kind of reasoning assumes the natural superiority of rulers over the ruled. Such superiority is perpetuated by force, not by nature, so political authority has no basis in nature.
Laches opens with a monologue by the character Lysimachus, speaking to two of his friends, Nicias and Laches. Lysimachus has just brought his two friends out onto a battlefield to watch a soldier fighting.
In the opening section of the Laches there is not an overwhelming amount of actual philosophy taking place. In this dialogue as well as in many others, Plato allows other characters to set the stage with their own remarks before Socrates begins to complicate the picture. That being said, there are several important pieces of information gestured at by Plato in these opening lines.