Category: Plato in 80 entries

The Platonic dialogues

Plato wrote approximately thirty dialogues, all of which have survived in excellent condition -- a unique occurrence in the history of ancient philosophy. It is very probable that Plato’s first writings immediately followed Socrates’ death. Scholars distinguish the dialogues of Plato’s maturity from the early Socratic dialogues, on the assumption that Plato gradually broke free from Socrates’ influence and was hence able to put forward his own philosophical views. Moreover this break is usually located in 387 BCE, when Plato returned from Sicily and founded the Academy. The later dialogues also form a different group, in which Plato seems to revise some points of his own philosophical approach.


  The established grouping of Plato’s dialogues

in three phases

1.  Early (in alphabetical order)

ALCIBIADES or On the nature of man


GORGIAS or On rhetoric

EUTHYPHRO or On holiness

HIPPIAS MAJOR or On the beautiful

HIPPIAS MINOR or On falsehood

ION or On the Iliad

CRITO or On duty in action

LACHES or On courage

LYSIS or On friendship

MENEXENOS or funeral oration

PROTAGORAS or The sophists

CHARMIDES or On temperance


EUTHYDEMUS or The disputatious man

CRATYLUS or On rectitude in naming

MENO or On virtue

2. Middle (in chronological order)

PHAEDO or On the soul

SYMPOSIUM or On love

REPUBLIC or On justice

PHAEDRUS or On the beautiful


THEAETETUS or On knowledge

PARMENIDES or On forms

3. Later (in chronological order)

SOPHIST or On being

STATESMAN or On the art of governing

TIMAEUS or On nature

CRITIAS or The Atlantid

PHILEBUS or On pleasure

LAWS or On legislation

Under Plato’s name thirteen epistles have come down to us, of which only the seventh is considered genuine, as well as some dialogues that are nowadays considered spurious (Second Alcibiades, Hipparchus, Rival Lovers, Clitophon, Epinomis, Theages, Minos).

Author: Vassilis Kalfas


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