The Prometheus Trust runs fortnightly philosophy sessions in Bristol on Wednesday evenings from 7.30 to 9pm at:
Hydra Bookshop, 34 Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0EZ.
Please note, from June onwards we are meeting at St Paul’s Education Centre
94 Grosvenor Rd, Bristol BS2 8XJ
Further details from email@example.com 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:
15th & 22nd May: Plotinus on Beauty
Plotinus, one of the sages of the Platonic tradition wrote two treatises that explored Beauty (Ennead I, 6 - On Beauty & Ennead V, 8 - On the Intelligible Beauty). Over two successive Wednesdays we plan to look at passages from these treatises, and explore some of Plotinus’ questions and themes - What is Beauty? What is the relation of beauty to virtue? How are we to participate in it? How does beauty manifest at different levels? The god-like contemplation of the inner Beauty of the Intelligible world.
Download the text: Plotinus - Beauty
19th June: The experience of self in Plato’s Phaedrus
What is a human being?
To understand the nature of anything there are some basic questions which should be explored:
What are its causes? What is its history? What drives its activities? What potential does it possess? What is its ultimate goal?
So the opening line of Plato’s Phaedrus, “Where are you going, my dear Phaedrus, and from whence came you?” is a strong hint that the dialogue is going to offer the reader a chance to examine some fundamental issues of selfhood. And so it turns out: its sixty or so pages not only present us with the widest possible frame in which to view our human nature and experience, but it is packed with extraordinary subtle insights. We will read some extracts from the dialogue and explore some of these fundamental questions.
Download the text: The experience of the self in the Phaedrus
3rd July: Platonic Education in the Phaedrus
Plato’s understanding of the nature of education is one of the truly liberating doctrines of the ancient world - and one which is largely neglected in modern times to detriment of the individual and global society. “All learning is reminiscence” is its keynote - and Plato explores this starting point as the necessary outcome of conceiving the self to be a soul which has descended into its present embodied form full of innate reasons or ideas. For him and those philosophers who followed the Platonic path, our experiences in the material world are reminders of the great eternal ideas upon which the whole of manifested reality is based; education is the process by which the latent ideas within the self are drawn out into full consciousness and thence into creative activity. We will explore this understanding using passages from the Phaedrus as our starting point.
Download the text: Platonic education and the Phaedrus