The Most Important Plato Works

The Works of Plato Are a reflection of the philosophy of the time of the years 400 a. C., where the dialogues were more common than the narrations and the force of the forms that he called justice, beauty and equality gave shape to his legacy.

While other thinkers used these three ideas as somewhat inaccurate, Plato Came to pay special attention to these entities. Since they were concepts only accessible to the mind, he considered them the most important components of reality.

Plato with his works

An important event in his life was the encounter with the great Greek philosopher Socrates. The methods of dialogue and debate of Socrates so impressed Plato that he soon became a close associate and dedicated his life to the essence of virtue and the formation of a noble character.

After Socrates' death, Plato traveled for 12 years, studying mathematics with the Pythagoreans in Italy, as well as geometry, geology, astronomy and religion in Egypt. During this time began his extensive writing.

There is some debate among the experts about the order of these writings, but most believe that they are divided into three distinct macro periods.

The first period takes place during Plato's travels (399-387 BC). Socrates' Apology seems to have been written shortly after his death. In the dialogues of this period, Plato tries to convey the philosophy and teachings of his teacher.

In the second period, Plato writes in his own voice about the central ideals of justice: courage, wisdom and moderation of the individual and society. The Republic was written during this time with its exploration of the just government ruled by philosophical kings.

In the third period, his teacher Socrates is relegated to a minor role and Plato more closely examines his own metaphysical ideas. In addition, he explores the role of art, including dance, music, drama and architecture, as well as ethics and morality.

Plato's Dialogues deal universally with the search for truth and understanding of what is good. In his"Theory of Forms,"​​he saw in the world unique truths, belonging to the higher realm of the real.

On the other hand, to recognize the"Form of Beauty", it is necessary to recognize that this world is nothing more than an illusion or a reflection, and that what one calls"beautiful"on earth is not beautiful in itself, A more explored concept in his famous"Allegory of the Cave"in the VII Book of the Republic). Therefore, the saying"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder"would be unacceptable for Plato.

In this sense, if person A affirms that a horse is beautiful and person B claims that the horse is not, one of them needs to be right and the other in the wrong. According to Plato, the one who is right will be the one who understands and recognizes the"Form of Beauty"as expressed in that particular horse.

This statement, of course, is directly opposed to Protagoras' statement about"man is the measure of all things"because it was supposed to be. Plato devoted most of his life to trying to demonstrate the reality of the realm of forms and to refute the relativism of Protagoras.

Classification of the works of Plato

In antiquity, the ordering of Plato's dialogues was given entirely along thematic lines. The best reports of these orders (see Diogenes Laertius's discussion in 3.56-62) included many works whose authenticity is now disputed or rejected unanimously.

Aristotle, Diogenes Laertius and Olympiodorus affirm that Plato wrote the Laws After the Republic. The internal references in the Sophist and the Statesman (also known as the Political) show that the statesman comes after the sophist.

The Timaeus may refer to the Republic as before it, and more clearly mentions the Critias as following.

It may be thought that the references in the Sophist and Theteteus show the intended order of three dialogues: Parmenides, Theteteus, and Sophist, but it is not known whether these dialogues were actually written in that order.

Scholars have tried to increase this rather scarce evidence by employing different methods of ordering the remaining dialogues. One such method is that of stylometry, by which various aspects of Plato's diction are measured in each dialogue with its uses and frequencies in others.

Another still more popular way of organizing and grouping dialogues is what is called"content analysis,"which works by searching for and enumerating apparent similarities or differences in the philosophical style and content of the various dialogues.

The most recent scholarship assumes that Plato's dialogues can be classified into different groups.

The most complete you can find is in the book of Gregory Vlastos ,"Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher"(Cambridge and Cornell, 1991, Chapters 2-4), where we observe ten significant differences between Socrates of early dialogues and that of later dialogues. During each period, he performed several works:

Early stage

Situated between the death of Socrates and the first trip of Plato to Sicily in 387 BCE, he writes:

Apology, Here the author defends Socrates, when the tribunals of Athens accused him of attacking the youth.

Also highlights Cármides where Socrates speaks with Charmides about prudence. At this time also writes the philosopher Criton Y Euthyptus Where Socrates describes to his friend Christ a visit which he and several young people paid two brothers, Euthydemus and Dionysodorus.

Other books include Gorgias In which morality, rhetoric and ethics intervene. In Hippias major and Hippies minor, if Argue about beauty. Turn on, Ion , Socrates, talks to an artist who recites epic poems, called rapsoda, and in Lacs It is about bravery.

His second most remarkable writing of this period is Protagoras Where Socrates visits Protagoras at the request of a friend, but warns him that the Sufis are dangerous, speaking of virtue and wisdom. In the complete work presents his main ideas, in addition is his best known legacy. In it Socrates talks to different followers.

Early Transition

This stage covers concretely at the end of the first group or beginning of the middle group, 387-380 a.C., when he writes:

Cratylus. In this work the characters talk about the origin and reason of words, science called etymology). On the other hand in Menéxeno Has come to believe illegitimate for being a funeral and satirical speech of the well-known Pericles, unique in his work. And in Menón Again the question of the origin of virtue is questioned.

Middle stage

The works of this period comprise between 380-360 BC. The most outstanding are, among others:

Phaedo. Here Socrates gives four ways of thinking in which all express the immortality of the soul, from the Second Republic to the X Republic. In Symposium there is a Extremely important in the world today, since it derives from"platonic love". It also examines love in a meeting where different men give their speeches.

Late Transition

Between 360-355 BC, one can speak of writings that have been reviewed and studied by the philosophers of later. These works are:

Parmenides, in addition to Socrates being very young, the presence of Aristotle is very remarkable. The writing is a great challenge to achieve a correct interpretation of this dialogue, which happens precisely in Parmenides and hence the name.

In addition, the author wrote Theaetetus, Where Socrates discusses with Teteto the three forms of knowledge: opining, perceiving and judging, not being able to accept any at 100%. Y Phaedrus, Phaedrus in Spanish, in which he writes about erotic love and falling in love, memory and reincarnation.

Late stage

Covers the years 355-347 a.C., and in chronological order the following works can be found:

Sophist , Statesman , Philebus, Philebus in Spanish, Socrates faces pleasure and hedonism to Philebus. In Timeo, The work raises speculations about the nature of the physical world and human beings and is followed by the dialogue of Critias.

You critias Consists essentially in history about a good city and a city transformed into evil, in addition to the divinely arranged therapeutic punishment for its defeat in the hands of the good.

Finally, he wrote Laws, Considered The longest dialogue of Plato. The conversation described in the twelve books of the book begins with the question of who is given credit for establishing the laws of a civilization. His reflections on the ethics of government and the law have established him as a classic of political philosophy along with The Republic).

Other works attributed to Plato

Other works, including the thirteen letters and the eighteen epigrams, have been attributed to Plato. These other works are generally called"spuria"and"dubia".

The Spuria were collected among Plato's works, but were suspected to be frauds even in antiquity. The dubia are the real suspects in later antiquity, but have more recently been questioned.


Ten of the spuria are mentioned by Diogenes Laercio and five of these no longer exist: the breeder of horses, Feacios, Chelidon, Seventh Day and Epimenides. There are five others: Halcyon, Axiochus, Demodocus, Eryxias and Sisyphus.

In addition, Justice, Virtue and Definitions, which were included in the medieval manuscripts, but which are not mentioned in antiquity, are added.

Works whose authenticity was also doubted in antiquity includes the According to Alcibiades (The Alcibiades II), Epinomis , Hipparco And rival lovers, and these sometimes defend themselves as authentic today. If any of these are authentic, the Epinomis Would be in the late group, and the others would go with the first transition groups.


Seventeen or eighteen epigrams, poems of funerary monuments or other dedications, are also attributed to Plato by several ancient authors. Most of these are certainly not Plato's, but a few may be authentic.

The first is a love poem dedicated to a student of astronomy, perhaps at the Academy, the second seems to be a funeral inscription for that same student, and the third is a funeral inscription for his friend siracusan. Highlights Dion, In which he confesses that Dion"maddened his heart with erôs,"and the last, the seventh, is a love poem to a young woman or a girl.


Dubia presents special risks for scholars: on the one hand, the decision not to include them in the authentic dialogues creates the risk of losing valuable evidence of Plato's philosophy. On the other hand, any decision to include them creates the risk of overshadowing the correct view of Plato's philosophy.

The dubia include the first Alcibiades , Minos Y Teas , All of which, if authentic, would probably go with the first transition groups; he Mouthpiece , Which could be early, transient or medium and letters, of which the seventh seems the best candidate for authenticity.

However, in relation to what was actually written in antiquity, there are now so few absolutely reliable sources, that the lack of old references to any dialogue does not seem to be an adequate reason to doubt its authenticity, since many dialogues have the same problem.

In style and content, it seems that most contemporary scholars fit well with the other Platonic dialogues.

Thanks to the passage of time and the trace left by his works in history, it has been shown that Plato is one of the greatest philosophers of humanity.


  1. Meinwald, C.C. (2016). "Plato Greek Philosopher". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from:
  2. Editors of (2015-2017). "Plato Biography". A & E Television Networks. Retrieved
  3. Mark, J.J. (2009). "Plate". Ancient History Encyclopedia. New York. Recovered
  4. Brickhouse, T and Smith, N.D. (2016). "Plato (427-347 B.C.E.)." Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. U.S.A. Lynchburg College and Lewis & Clark College. Retrieved
  5. Frede, M. (1992). "Plato's Arguments and the Dialogue Form". Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy . Supplementary volume 1992, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 201-220.
  6. Kahn, C. (2003). "On Platonic Chronology". Julia Annas and Christopher Rowe (editors), New Perspectives on Plato: Modern and Ancient , Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, chapter 4.
  7. Dr. Boeree, C.G. (2009). "The Ancient Greeks, Part Two: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle". U. S. A. Retrieved from:

Loading ..

Recent Posts

Loading ..