Philosophy teaches us and unsettles us by confronting us with what we already know. There’s an irony. the difficulty of this course consists in the fact that it teaches what you already know. It works by taking what we know from familiar unquestioned settings, and making it strange. Philosophy estranges us from the familiar not by supplying new information but by inviting and provoking a new way of seeing but, and here’s the risk, once the familiar turns strange, it’s never quite the same again. Self-knowledge is like lost innocence, however unsettling you find it, it can never be unthought or unknown. what makes this enterprise difficult but also riveting, is that moral and political philosophy is a story and you don’t know where this story will lead but what you do know is that the story is about you. Those are the personal risks, now what of the political risks. one way of introducing of course like this would be to promise you that by reading these books and debating these issues you will become a better more responsible citizen. You will examine the presuppositions of public policy, you will hone your political judgment. you’ll become a more effective participant in public affairs but this would be a partial and misleading promise political philosophy. for the most part hasn’t worked that way. You have to allow for the possibility that political philosophy may make you a worse citizen rather than a better one or at least a worse citizen before it makes you a better one and that’s because philosophy is a distancing even debilitating activity And you see this going back to Socrates. there’s a dialogue, the Gorgias in which one of Socrates’ friends Calicles tries to talk him out of philosophizing. calicles tells Socrates philosophy is a pretty toy if one indulges in it with moderation at the right time of life but if one pursues it further than one should it is absolute ruin. Take my advice calicles says, abandon argument, learn the accomplishments of active life, take for your models not those people who spend their time on these petty quibbles, but those who have a good livelihood and reputation and many other blessings.