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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:

 

15th 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

29th 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:

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

Prometheus makes his appearance in the Philebus

Tim Addey

On Prometheus in the Philebus

29 Jul

Philosophy and mystical initation

Tim Addey

 

5 Aug

The Sun, sight, intellect and transcendency

Tim Addey

 

19 Aug

Arete - or the ascent though excellence

Stuart Dunbar

 

23 Sep

Plato and Justice

Miranda 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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