chapter  2
18 Pages

THE DISAPPEARING PHILOSOPHER-KING

The Timaeus begins with a recapitulation by Socrates of a conversation the day before in which he developed arguments on the question of the best politeia, or ‘constitution’ (17C-19A). As the recapitulation proceeds, it becomes evident that these arguments must have been a version of the argument of Books II to V of the Republic. Socrates rehearses the principle of specialisation in skills and the division of classes, the education of the guards, the provision for women guards, the abolition of the family, the eugenic programme and the social mechanisms introduced to sustain it-but not the need for philosopher rulers.1 At the end of his exposition he asks Timaeus whether he has missed out any of the main points in the theory. Timaeus replies: ‘Not at all: these are the very things that were said, Socrates’ (19B; cf. Critias 111C-D).