I have gotten my hands on Plato's Complete Works and I would like to know what would be interesting to read on a first read-through of his and what should maybe be reserved for later.

I am not planning on reading the full 1800 pages in one go so I am looking for a few fundamental dialogues that expose his ideas and will serve me well in understanding the philosophy of Aristotle and the others that came after him.

  • 1
    Read it all :-)
    – Frank
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 3:14
  • 2
    For starters, I would suggest Gorgias and Euthyphro. The more important ones are Meno, Phaedo, Sophist, Theaetetus, Parmenides, Republic, Timaeus.
    – Bumble
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 5:21
  • 1
    FYI Plato's Gorgias from BBC In Our Time (audio) Commented May 28, 2023 at 8:23
  • 1
    The Symposium is really quite funny & very accessible. The Republic presents his core ideas in their clearest form, & is probably his most referenced work.
    – CriglCragl
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 9:03

1 Answer 1


I envy you starting on the journey through Plato. But you should temper advice in the light of your own interests. If you read something and find you don't get engaged with, best to read something else that you do get engaged with.

Reading it all is a big project. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't start it and get as far as your other interests allow, always remembering that something that you don't get engaged with is not going to benefit you much.

The important dividing line is the one between dialogues that anyone can get engaged with and dialogues that really need some help from the academic literature. I'm out of date on that, but it shouldn't be difficult to find books about Plato that suit you.

In the first category, I would put Gorgias, Euthyphro, Apology, Meno, Phaedo, Phaedrus, Gorgias, Republic, Symposium, Theaetetus Protagoras.

In the second, I would put Sophist, Statesman, Cratylus, Parmenides, Timaeus, Laws.

When you've got through all of those, you'll be able to explore the rest on your own.

Take your time. There's no rush, and it is good to take time to reflect on ideas before moving on.

  • Thank you very much for your reply. Is there a specific order I should read these or just go based on my interests?
    – Saegusa
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 9:31
  • 1
    Always follow your interests before following the advice of anyone else. Many people start with the trial and death of Socrates, which is not a bad idea. The Republic is not bad as a starting point, and I think the Gorgias is an excellent one.
    – Ludwig V
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 9:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .