Reader Question: Where to start with Plato?

January 16, 2010

It’s time for Plato. I’m ready. I’m going to leap into the Greek philosophers. Gulp. But I don’t know where to start.

In my book plans for 2010, I mentioned that I want to surmount Plato this year.

Here are my questions for you:

  • Which Plato should I start with?
  • What edition/translation should I get?

My goals are to get an understanding of the basis of much Western thought and theory, as well as finding a translation that doesn’t make me want to slit my wrists.

My future with Plato is in your hands!


  1. One thing to keep in mind when reading Plato is that you are actually reading 2 different sets of thoughts; Plato’s and Socrates. The earlier dialogues are mostly Socrates, authored by Plato when he we Socrates student. The mid-later dialogues are then considered to consist more of Plato’s own thinking.

    As far as readability his early and middle dialogues are his best works and fairly fun reading. The best collection I have any experience with is simply called ‘Five Dialogues’ by G.M.A. Grube [1]. It is an excellent translation and a collection of works that covers a lot of his thinking.


  2. Cork Catherine says:

    I didn’t really find Plato interesting to read until I read the Republic trans. by Francis Macdonald Cornford. That was a looong time ago so there are likely to be better translations on the market but this is my recommendation. Plato stands up to time not because he is always right or because you agree with him but because he could write so well. Enjoy.

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