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According to John M. Cooper, the dialogue's intention was to clarify that to rule or have political power called for a specialized knowledge. The statesman was one who possesses this special knowledge of how to rule justly and well and to have the best interests of the citizens at heart. It is presented that politics should be run by this knowledge, or gnosis. This claim runs counter to those who, the Stranger points out, actually did rule. Those that rule merely give the appearance of such knowledge, but in the end are really sophists or imitators. For, as the Stranger maintains, a sophist is one who does not know the right thing to do, but only appears to others as someone who does. The Stranger's ideal of how one arrives at this knowledge of power is through social divisions. The visitor takes great pains to be very specific about where and why the divisions are needed in order to properly rule the citizenry.
The original publication of Rowe's translation in 1995 was a landmark event in the study of this fascinating but enigmatic dialogue. Based on a careful and convincing revised Greek text, the contemporary English of this unpretentious, clear, and--above all--accurate revised version make it by far the best available. In fact, Rowe’s translation is now and will surely remain the only acceptable choice. --John Cooper, Princeton University
Theodorus: And soon, Socrates, you’ll owe triple that, once they’ve worked out the statesman and the philosopher for you.
Socrates: Come now, is that how we’re going to say we’ve heard it put, my dear Theodorus, by the one mightiest at calculations and geometrical matters?
Theodorus: How so, Socrates?
Socrates: Because you set down each of the men as of equal worth, though in honor they stand farther apart from one another than accords with any proportion in your art.