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Bristol Wednesday evenings
study & discussion sessions


“The whole life of a philosopher is a dance. Terpsichore, therefore, is the inspective guardian of all dancing. Who then are those that honour the goddess in the dance? Not those who dance well, but those who live well through the whole of the present existence, beautifully arranging their life, and dancing in symphony with the universe.”

The Prometheus Trust runs fortnightly philosophy sessions in Bristol on Wednesday evenings from 7.00 to 8.30pm at:

 St Paul’s Learning Centre

94 Grosvenor Rd, Bristol BS2 8XJ

Further details from or phone 01594 726296

These evenings include short talks and/or readings from Platonic writings – but we hope they will be genuinely interactive, with all participants invited to contribute to our collaborative search for truth. No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Admission is free, but we do encourage those who are able to donate between 2 and 3 in order to cover our costs.

Most of these evenings are self-contained and every effort is made to make them accessible to the newcomer, while allowing the great profundity of the Platonic tradition to step forward and speak to us at whatever level our present understanding sits. Some of these sessions are coupled together, in order to give us the space to examine more fully particular texts and themes, but even here we will ensure that if those attending have missed the first of the two sessions a recap of what has gone before will help all participants to pick up the main threads of the theme.

We will make available (as a PDF download) the text we are studying, well before the date of the meeting.

The Trust has run similar activities for some 18 years, and in our experience they allow the most profound questions concerning human life, the nature of reality, and our interactions, to be explored at once both seriously and with good cheer. Our aim is to provide a forum for honest and straight-forward enquiry, but which is unafraid to explore inward-moving paths too often neglected by modern schools of thought.

Upcoming sessions in 2019:


7th August: The Sun, sight, intellect and transcendency

The usual view of Plato’s philosophy is that it postulates two orders of reality: an immaterial order in which eternal ideas abide unchanging yet dynamic; and a temporal and material one in which those ideas are manifested in a series of ever-changing instantiations. The contents of the first order are perceptible only to the mind, the contents of the second perceptible to the sense. But there are places in the Platonic dialogue where speakers explore the source of this twofold reality – a single, transcendent starting point which at best can only be grasped by analogy. One of these explorations in to be found the sixth book of the Republic, where Socrates calls this first Principle “the Good” – we will read this passage, and discuss the profound implications which Plato puts forward for our consideration.

Download the text: The Sun, sight, intellect, transcendency

21st August: Plato’s Cave

One of the most intriguing and influential passages of Plato’s writing is that known as the Cave: it is told by Socrates in the seventh book of the Republic. The story compares our present understanding and its possible development with a group of people who have lived all their lives in a cave; they are chained to benches in such a way as to prevent them turning their heads, and so all they can see is the wall at the end of the cave. Behind the prisoners is a fire and a low screen behind which move people carrying statues on their heads - the effect is that on the wall in front of the prisoners is cast a procession of shadows which they take to be the whole of reality. In the story one of the prisoners escapes his chains and leaves the cave to discover an order of reality both unexpected and dazzlingly bright. . . . 

Download the text: The Cave

25th September: Plato on Justice

A recurring theme in the dialogues of Plato is the profound relationship between the human self and justice: all ten books of the Republic are dedicated to the examination of this relationship, and although the speakers often turns aside to explore other issues, the central theme is never far away. Towards the end of the dialogue, Socrates says that the most important thing to study is the good life and that, having an eye to the nature of the self, we should comprehend “both the worse and the better life, pronouncing that to be the worse which shall lead the soul to become more unjust, and that to be the better life which shall lead it to become more just, and to dismiss every other consideration.” We notice that the point of focus here is the soul (psyche) – that invisible something that is understood to be the unific seat of selfhood, which gives life to the body, and which has the power to know and to make choices. It is on this understanding that all the important ethical principles of Platonic philosophy are based.

We’ll read an extract from the Gorgias which puts forward profoundly challenging consequences to this soul-centred view of life and its ethical dimensions, and discuss our understanding of the issues raised.

Download the text: Justice in the dialogues of Plato

Draft syllabus for 2019

Subject [and text]


File download

23 Jan

Platonic Letters on the Philosophic Life 

Tim Addey

Letters on the Philosophic Life

6 Feb

On Philosophy and Creativity 

Tim Addey

Philosophy and Creativity

20 Feb

On Freewill 

Tim Addey

The Platonic tradition and Freewill

6 Mar

Women in Philosophy 

Crystal Addey

Women Philosophers and the Platonic Tradition

20 Mar

A Platonic look at the Iliad     

Tim Addey

A Platonic look at Homers Iliad

3 Apr

Ideas in Plato and his tradition

Tim Addey

Plato and Ideas

17 Apr

Porphyry and the philosophic death

Miranda Addey

Porphyry and the philosophic death

15 May

Plotinus on the Beautiful 1

Tim Addey

Plotinus - Beauty

22 May

Plotinus on the Beautiful 2      

Tim Addey

Plotinus - Beauty

19 Jun

The experience of self in Plato’s Phaedrus

Miranda Addey

The experience of the self in the Phaedrus

3 Jul

Platonic education in the Phaedrus

Tim Addey

Platonic education and the Phaedrus

17 Jul

Plato’s Philebus and the Prometheus myth

Tim Addey

On Prometheus in the Philebus

31 Jul

Philosophy and mystical initation

Tim Addey

philosophy and the mysteries

7 Aug

Sun, sight, intellect and transcendency

Tim Addey

The Sun, sight, intellect, transcendency

21 Aug

Plato’s Cave

Tim Addey

The Cave

25 Sep

Plato on Justice

Miranda Addey

Justice in the dialogues of Plato

9 Oct

A Platonic look at the Odyssey 1

Tim Addey



A Platonic look at the Odyssey 2

Tim Addey


6 Nov

The Apology of Socrates 1

Tim Addey


20 Nov

The Apology of Socrates 2

Tim Addey


4 Dec

Apuleius’ Platonic tale of Cupid & Psyche

Tim Addey


18 Dec

First Steps in dialectic

Tim Addey


Please note - where we slip out of the normal fortnightly pattern the dates are in red