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London Evening Sessions:

The Examined Life


"The unexamined life is not lived." – Socrates, The Apology.

Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Road, London, NW1 7AY

The Prometheus Trust runs regular meetings in London. We meet at Cecil Sharp House fortnightly on Monday evenings, from 7.30 to 9.15 – but with time after this for more informal chats, if so desired. 

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 3 and 5 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 14 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 session:

(Please note 8pm start times for these three evenings)


February 12th - The threefold soul - Proclus on Plato’s Republic


Although Plato considered the soul (the real self of each one of us) as an essentially indivisible unity, when exploring it as something that acts, he presents it as having three aspects.  A detailed examination of the nature of the human self is to be found in his Republic where, at the beginning of the second book, Socrates suggests that, since the soul is too small and too close for us to look at easily, he and his fellow thinkers should explore the workings of a republic because, he claims, it is an analogue of the soul and its multiple "parts" or modes.  He divides the whole of a city into three classes “ the governors, the auxiliaries and the general population who are the mercantile producers  of material goods: these, Socrates says, are the parallels to three distinct aspects of the soul: the reasoning part, the thumos (or ordering or spirited part) and the desiring or appetitive part.

This evening we'll read extracts from Proclus' commentary on the Republic in which he discusses the nature of the parts, the way that they work as a whole, and the virtue (or excellence) which each part must be directed towards if the just and happy life is to be lived. If we have time we'll also look at Proclus' explanation of Pythagorean harmony in terms of the three parts of the soul.

Download the text: Proclus - the tripartitie soul


February 26th - Diotima’s Path of Love in Plato’s Symposium


In his dialogue the Symposium, Plato places one of his most important accounts of the nature of philosophy into the mouth of a woman called Diotima (whose teaching Socrates relates in his speech), who is characterised as a prophetess and priestess as well as a philosopher. Socrates relates that Diotima describes philosophy as a path of love and cognitive ascent. In this session we will consider Diotima’s speech and its implications for philosophy. Why does Diotima connect philosophy with love, desire and beauty? How does her speech relate philosophy and the search for wisdom to our relationship with other human beings and the world around us? Why does Socrates relate Diotima’s teaching rather than making his own speech on the nature of love (or erōs)? How significant is it that Plato places this teaching on the nature of philosophy in the mouth of a woman and a prophetess-priestess?

This evening we'll read extracts from the Symposium and explore these - and other - questions.

Download the text: Diotima in Platos Symposium



March 12th - Orphic myth in Plato’s dialogues


Plato drew upon many sources as he explored the profound truths which are presented in his dialogues – but perhaps none are more fundamental and far-reaching then that of the Orphic teachings. The Orphic myths offer insights into the nature of reality, the place of the human self within that reality, the path we take as we experience life and death, and the possibilities of a radical change in consciousness if we can find our way through the twists and turns of the labyrinth that lies before each one of us. We will look at extracts from Plato's Phaedrus and Phaedo, together with the Orphic myth of Dionysus and the inscriptions on the mysterious Orphic gold tablets.



Download the text: Orphic Myth in Plato

Programme 2018

The following is a draft syllabus for 2018: descriptions and downloadable text will be available as each date approaches.

Subject [and text]


File download

15 Jan *

Lecture: Living the Platonic Tradition

Tim Addey

Living Plato

29 Jan *

Plato's vision: One reality, two worlds, three natures? [Timaeus]

Tim Addey

Platonic vision

12 Feb *

Proclus on the Republic’s tripartite soul

Tim Addey

Proclus - the tripartitie soul

26 Feb *

Diotima's path of love [Symposium]

Crystal Addey

Diotima in Platos Symposium

12 Mar *

Orphic Myth

Tim Addey

Orphic Myth in Plato

26 Mar

Myths of Life and the Afterlife 1 - the Gorgias

Miranda Addey

Myth of Judgement - Plato's Gorgias

23 Apr

Myths of Life and the Afterlife 2 - the Phaedo

Peter Lyle


30 Apr

Myths of Life and the Afterlife 3 - the Republic

Crystal Addey


14 May

Plato on Ideas

Tim Addey


21 May

Porphyry on Arete (virtue) 1



4 Jun

Porphyry on Arete (virtue) 2

Peter Lyle


18 Jun

Tyranny in the Republic

Stuart Dunbar


2 Jul

Tyranny in the Gorgias

Miranda Addey


16 Jul

Women as philosophers in the Platonic tradition

Crystal Addey


30 Jul

Porphyry’s Letter to Marcella

Crystal Addey


13 Aug

The levels of virtue

Stuart Dunbar


28 Aug

No meeting - Cecil Sharp House closed for the bank holiday



17 Sep

The Gods of the Platonic Tradition 1

Tim Addey


1 Oct

The Gods of the Platonic Tradition 2

Tim Addey


15 Oct

The Gods of the Platonic Tradition 3

Tim Addey


29 Oct


Tim Addey


5 Nov

Parmenides on Nature

Peter Lyle


19 Nov

The Platonic tradition on Evil

Stuart Dunbar


3 Dec

Knowledge in the Platonic tradition

Miranda Addey


17 Dec

Plato on Justice

Tim Addey























The above syllabus is very much a draft and subject to revision as we go along. Please note that sessions marked with an asterisk in January, February and the beginning of March will begin at 8pm and run through to 9.30 (we are running a class before each of these session which is timed to end at 8pm). We have highlighted in red dates when the normal fortnightly pattern is disrupted.






An outline of our approach

The Prometheus Trust, a registered educational charity, exists to encourage, promote and assist the flowering of philosophy as the living love of wisdom. It aims especially at re-introducing philosophy as a transformative activity – one that gradually draws into activity all that is best in the human self, so that both the inner and outer life are directed towards that which is truly good, rather than that that which only appears to be good. "Beatific contemplation does not consist of the accumulation of arguments or a storehouse of learned knowledge, but in us theory must become nature and life itself." - Porphyry, 3rd century AD.

The starting point for our studies and reflections is the writings of the Platonic tradition but we rely on the affirmation that every man and woman has within him or herself a connection to all the great truths which underlie reality: our joint discussions are aimed at bringing forth and into focus these truths, which otherwise might remain more or less obscured by the complexities of life. The Trust looks to follow the Platonic tradition's general approach - that merely because Plato or any of the other renowned thinkers inside or outside the Platonic tradition have asserted something we should not simply accept it but, rather, seek to see for ourselves whether or not (and in what way) any particular affirmation is true.

We hope to explore the ways of wisdom in a spirit of friendship and co-operation with anyone who is excited by the possibilities of philosophy: previous experience of philosophy or great cleverness are not required – just an interest in discovering the truth and a willingness to look beyond the appearance of things. By this means we may, perhaps, begin with words but journey to some understanding beyond words: as Plato wrote, "For a thing of this kind cannot be expressed by words like other disciplines, but by long familiarity, and living in conjunction with the thing itself, a light as it were leaping from a fire will on a sudden be enkindled in the soul, and there itself nourish itself."

For further details, email

Venue: Cecil Sharp House
2 Regent’s Park Road
NW1 7AY                Google maps link

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“Essentials of the Philosophy of Plato and his Tradition”

- a ten week introductory course January 15th - March 19th 2018

Click here for details