Apology

Recommended translation: "Apology" in Four Texts on Socrates,  trans. Thomas G. West and Grace Starry West (Cornell University Press: 1984, rev. 1998).

Excerpt from Plato’s Apology: “How you, men of Athens, have been affected by my accusers, I do not know; but I, for my part, almost forgot my own identity, so persuasively did they talk; and yet there is hardly a word of truth in what they have said. But I was most amazed by… More

Gorgias

Recommended Translation: The Rhetoric of Morality and Philosophy: Plato's Gorgias and Phaedrus, trans. Seth Benardete (University of Chicago Press, 1991).

Excerpt: Callicles To join in a fight or a fray, as the saying is, Socrates, you have chosen your time well enough. Socrates Do you mean, according to the proverb, we have come too late for a feast? Callicles Yes, a most elegant feast; for Gorgias gave us a fine and varied display but a… More

Laws

Recommended translation: The Laws of Plato, trans. Thomas L. Pangle (Basic, 1980; University of Chicago Press, 1988).

This is the best edition of the Laws available in English. Thomas L. Pangle’s edition also includes an extended interpretative essay that introduces the work. Excerpt: Athenian To whom do you ascribe the authorship of your legal arrangements, Strangers? To a god or to some man?… More

Timaeus

Recommended translation: Timaeus, trans. Peter Kalkavage (Focus, 2001).

Excerpt: Socrates One, two, three,—but where, my dear Timaeus, is the fourth of our guests of yesterday, our hosts of today? Timaeus Some sickness has befallen him, Socrates; for he would never have stayed away from our gathering of his own free will. Socrates Then the task of filling… More

Republic

Recommended translations:

  • The Republic of Plato,  trans. Allan Bloom (Basic Books, 1968).
  • Plato: The Republic, trans. Tom Griffith, ed. G. R. F. Ferrari (Cambridge, 2000).

Excerpt: “What you say is very fine indeed, Cephalus,” I said. “But as to this very thing, justice, shall we so simply assert that it is the truth and giving back what a man has taken from another, or is to do these very things sometimes just and sometimes unjust? Take this case as… More

Symposium

Recommended translations:

  • Plato's Symposium: A Translation with Commentaries by Allan Bloom and Seth Benardete, trans. Seth Benardete (University of Chicago Press, 1993, 2001).
  • "Symposium," trans. A. Nehamas and P. Woodruff in Plato: Complete Works, ed. J. M. Cooper (Hackett, 1997).

Excerpt: Apollodorus I believe I have got the story you inquire of pretty well by heart. The day before yesterday I chanced to be going up to town from my house in Phalerum, when one of my acquaintance caught sight of me from behind, some way off, and called in a bantering tone “Hullo,… More

Parmenides

Recommended translations:

  • Plato's Parmenides, trans. Samuel Scolnicov (Berkeley, 2003).
  • Plato's Parmenides,  trans. Albert Keith Whitaker (Focus, 1996).
  • "Parmenides," trans. M. L. Gill and Paul Ryan in Plato: Complete Works, ed. J. M. Cooper (Hackett, 1997).

Excerpt: Cephalus When we came from our home at Clazomenae to Athens, we met Adeimantus and Glaucon in the market-place. Adeimantus took me by the hand and said, “Welcome, Cephalus, if there is anything we can do for you here, let us know.” “Why,” said I, “that is just why I am… More

Statesman

Recommended translation: "Statesman" in The Being of the Beautiful: Plato's Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman,  trans. Seth Benardete (University of Chicago Press: 1984).

Excerpt: Socrates Really I am greatly indebted to you, Theodorus, for my acquaintance with Theaetetus and with the Stranger, too. Theodorus Presently, Socrates, you will be three times as much indebted, when they have worked out the statesman and the philosopher for you. Socrates Indeed!… More

Sophist

Recommended translation: "Sophist" in The Being of the Beautiful: Plato's Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman,  trans. Seth Benardete (University of Chicago Press: 1984).

About the dialogue: In the Sophist, which takes place the day after the Theaetetus and was written c. 360 BCE, Plato explores what constitutes sophistry and how sophists differ from philosophers and statesmen.

Theaetetus

Recommended translation: "Theaetetus" in The Being of the Beautiful: Plato's Theaetetus, Sophist, and Statesman,  trans. Seth Benardete (University of Chicago Press: 1984).

About the dialogue: In the Theaetetus, Plato explores the nature of knowledge.

Phaedo

Recommended translations: Phaedo, trans. G. M. A. Grube (Hackett: 1977) Phaedo, trans. E. Brann (Focus, 1998)

Excerpt: Echecrates Were you with Socrates yourself, Phaedo, on the day when he drank the poison in prison, or did you hear about it from someone else? Phaedo I was there myself, Echecrates. Echecrates Then what did he say before his death? and how did he die? I should like to hear, for… More

Introduction to Plato’s Political Theory

Recommended translation: Plato: "Protagoras" and "Meno,"  trans. Robert C. Bartlett (Cornell, 2004).

 An Introduction to Plato’s Political Theory Plato famously remarks in his Second Letter that “no writing of Plato exists or ever will exist, but those now said to be his belong to a Socrates grown young and beautiful” (341c). Thirty-five dialogues and a series of thirteen… More