For a complete philosophy noob, what are the best companion (either a book or online resource) to Plato's Complete Works? I just checked this out from the library, but I want to be able to get as much out of it as possible. Is it not necessary or do any of you guys have any recommendations? Thanks in advance.
I'd like to know this too. I usually use the Wikipedia articles and SparkNotes for each dialogue just to make sure I didn't lose the Big Important Idea in a given dialogue, and I used to have this great .pdf a /lit/ user posted way back that gave historical context for each dialogue. Some great stuff in there, like how in the early dialogues, these aren't just random Athenians or random topics, they are eminent members of The Thirty Tyrants who met messy ends, either related to the dialogue's topic or to the interlocutor's failure to really grasp the point of a certain virtue. There is some eerie foreshadowing in there.
plato is not that hard besides republic/laws/weird stuff try this and dive in.
I got a hearty chuckle while reading the symposium when they began discussing the intimate relationships of men to younger (perhaps adolescent) men.
>Greatest philosophers of all time fucked little boys.
And the entire point of reading the Dialogues is to induce negative knowledge, i.e. the knowledge of your own ignorance. Reading a commentary that will tell you what Plato meant or was trying to accomplish will produce the exact of opposite effect of what Plato is trying to achieve, namely, it will give you the impression that you have learned something positive when Plato is trying to wipe away your positive ideas and give you a deeper thirst for knowledge beyond what you can immediately grasp.