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PTCOLIM

 

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 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.

We also run similar sesions in Bristol fortnightly on Wednesday evenings: click here for details.

Upcoming sessions:

 

Download the text: Porphyry and the philosophic death

20th May & 3rd June: 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 sessions 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

 

17th 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

1st 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

 

Programme 2019

 

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

Subject [and text]

Presenter

File download

21 Jan

Platonic Letters on the Philosophic Life NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

Letters on the Philosophic Life

4 Feb

On Philosophy and Creativity NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

Philosophy and Creativity

18 Feb

On Freewill  NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

The Platonic tradition and Freewill

4 Mar

Plato’s Phaedrus and the power of Eros NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

Phaedrus and the power of Eros

18 Mar

A Platonic look at the Iliad      NOTE: runs from 8-9.30pm

Tim Addey

A Platonic look at Homers Iliad

15 Apr

Ideas in Plato and his tradition

Tim Addey

Plato and Ideas

29 Apr

Porphyry and the philosophic death

Miranda Addey

Porphyry and the philosophic death

20 May

Plotinus on the Beautiful 1

Peter Lyle

Plotinus - Beauty

3 Jun

Plotinus on the Beautiful 2

Peter Lyle

Plotinus - Beauty

17 Jun

The experience of self in Plato’s Phaedrus

Miranda Addey

The experience of self in the Phaedrus

1 Jul

Platonic Education in the Phaedrus

Tim Addey

Platonic education and the Phaedrus

15 Jul

Iamblichus

Crystal Addey

 

29 Jul

Philosophy and mystical initation

Tim Addey

 

5 Aug

Philosophy as an oral tradition

Tim Addey

 

19 Aug

Women in philosophy

Crystal Addey

 

23 Sep

The journey of the Soul in the Platonic tradtion

Tim Addey

 

7 Oct

A Platonic look at the Odyssey 1

Tim Addey

 

21 Oct

A Platonic look at the Odyssey 2

Tim Addey

 

4 Nov

The Apology of Socrates 1

Tim Addey

 

18 Nov

The Apology of Socrates 2

Tim Addey

 

2 Dec

Apuleius’ Platonic tale of Cupid and Psyche

Tim Addey

 

16 Dec

First Steps in dialectic

Tim Addey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above syllabus is very much a draft and subject to revision as we go along.  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 education@prometheustrust.co.uk

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

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“Essentials of the Philosophy of Plato and his Tradition”

- a ten week introductory course January 21st - March 25th 2019
 

Click here for details

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