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Italian Study week

August 29th - 5th September 2018

The Gorgias

 “For perhaps to live for a period of time however extended, is not to be wished, nor too much sought after, by him who is truly a man; but leaving these things to the care of Divinity, and believing in prophetic women, that no one can avoid fate, he will afterwards consider by what means he may pass the remainder of his life in the most excellent manner. The Gorgias


The Trust is to run a week’s study on the Gorgias in Umbria, central Italy. The week will run from 29th August to 5th September: we will be guests of Etain and Martin who run a small farm called Pratale in the Umbrian hills between Gubbio and Perugia.

The Gorgias poses important questions about the nature of justice, virtue, art and science, knowledge and belief, the goals of human life, and the part that philosophy plays in our self-ordering. Socrates questions the pursuit of power over others gained at the expense of self-mastery, and suggests that such a pursuit is likely to produce the worst form of disease – that of the inner self. Above all the dialogue asks us about where the goodness of life lies – is it in justice or in the gaining of pleasure?

In the Platonic schools of late antiquity the Gorgias was the second dialogue to be studied (following the First Alcibiades, which explores what the self is and how we can know ourselves): it certainly has a relevance today as it examines the tension between rhetoric and philosophy and between good and bad government.

These and other issues will be explored over the week - not as mere abstractions but as having a real bearing upon us and how we live.


We ask for a donation to the Trust of 15 for the week to help with the Trust’s expenses; other than this small donation the fees of the week are only DSC_0454accommodation costs - 15 euros per day inclusive, payable while you are at Pratale. Pratale guests will find the accommodation is fairly basic, but the welcome is warm, the food (largely from the farm itself) delicious, and the surroundings beautiful. We will be joining in with the cooking and washing up duties: for more information about the farm and Etain and Martin’s approach to life on it, click here - Pratale.

For further details and booking please email the administrator:


Some scenes from previous study weeks at Pratale -

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