In this course we will examine the ways in which Plato, who is often regarded as the founder of western philosophy, distinguished his philosophical project from the intellectual pursuits of both his predecessors and his contemporary rivals. In addition to considering Plato's influential views about the nature of reality, knowledge, and human happiness, we will aim to understand the kinds of questions that Plato thinks philosophy is apt to answer, the method by which he thinks philosophy ought to be conducted, and his arguments about the value of philosophy over competing intellectual pursuits and ways of life.