Read The Great Books

A Curated Guide for Autodidacts


by Plato

One of the dialogues, a series of philosophic texts written by Plato, Parmenides allows the scholar to delve into his thoughts on various topics of his age as well as some of the questions of man.

The series are all set up as conversations between Plato as well as his peers of the era. This one specifically is a discussion between the other well known philosophers Parmenides, Socrates, and Zeno. The conversation goes over many of the varied philosophers’ ideals including plurality and the concept of Forms in the world, especially the Forms of man. Many accustomed to Plato’s writing consider this to be one of the most passionate of his dialogues as well as one of the hardest to comprehend. Knowing that, a good edition is a must for this text.

There are two editions of Parmenides that stand out. The first being an independently published version with Benjamin Jowett as translator. A good no-nonsense translation and a well written introduction are definite plusses for this copy. It does a great job to help the reader on a path of understanding of one of Plato’s most difficult writings. I doesn’t do much in the way of making the writing accessible for those new to Plato though, and is a bit wanting in forms of context. However, the edition by Focus Philosophical Library is the one that does this piece the best. The translation is clear-cut but is completely readable for someone on any level. Along with a solid translation, this copy also gives the reader comprehensive chapter summaries, detailed notes, a well worded introduction, as well as analysis and further reading. Plus, there’s plenty of space for notes of your own, which never hurts in a piece as detailed as this, especially for students.