Above all, Sedley lauds the Timaeus. It is a ‘uniquely rich and seminal text’. It is ‘the most influential of all Plato’s works, and probably the most seminal philosophical or scientific text to emerge from the whole of antiquity’. And ‘it could hardly be denied that Plato had been stunningly successful in explaining the natural world as the product of craftsmanship.’ Well, I deny it with both hands. Plato’s efforts are not stunningly successful: the Timaeus is a dismal commixture of pseudo-science and cod philosophy (and it is written in disgusting Greek). ‘Is this science or fable?’ Sedley asks of one passage, and gives a darkling answer. He does not consider a third possibility: that it is guff. The Timaeus is incontrovertibly a text of the first importance, as Sedley says, ‘seminal’, but from its seeds grew rank and stinking weeds.
That said, I’m looking forward to reading Sedley’s book which Barnes later describes as “golden”.