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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:


17th July: Myth and Reason: Prometheus appears in the Philebus

In the Philebus Socrates and the other characters discuss the problems presented to us as thinkers which arise because everything is both one and many. In responding to this, and in order to promote the systematic reasoning of dialectic, Socrates refers to the myth of Prometheus and the stealing of the fire of heaven: this is, perhaps, not what the reader would expect. Why a mythic approach? And why this particular myth? We’ll read the section of the dialogue where this occurs, summarize the myth itself and explore the interplay between reason and myth with the help of some of Damascius’ interpretations taken from his lectures on the dialogue.

Download the text: On Prometheus in the Philebus

31st July: Philosophy and mystical initiation

In the ancient world an important complement to civic religion (largely exoteric in character) were the more esoteric mystery cults which addressed the relation between the individual self and the Gods, and which offered participants a direct experience of the divine drama which underlies all life. Plato linked philosophy with these mysteries both implicitly and explicitly, as did many of those who followed him in the ancient world: the transformative experience of true philosophy being seen as similar to that of mystical initiation. We’ll read some of the passages from Platonic texts where this subject is explored, and discuss the insights offered by this now profoundly neglected area of philosophy.

Download the text:

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:

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


7 Aug

Sun, sight, intellect and transcendency

Tim Addey


21 Aug

Plato’s Cave

Tim Addey


25 Sep

Plato on Justice

Miranda Addey


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