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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 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.

 

The next sessions:

 

January 15th - Living the Platonic Tradition

 

Very occasionally at Cecil Sharp House we have a more formal lecture – although we still aim to have at least half an hour to discuss the ideas which the lecture has thrown up. This is one of those evenings: Tim Addey will give a talk on the important idea that the Platonic tradition was – and still is – really only understandable if the attempt is made to live according to its precepts. All the great sages of the Platonic tradition viewed philosophy as a way life, rather than a set of clever theories – as Porphyry wrote, “Beatific contemplation does not consist of the accumulation of arguments or a storehouse of learned knowledge, but in us theory (theoria) must become nature and life itself.” 

The tradition is at least 3,000 years old and draws upon the accumulated wisdom of many men and women – it addresses directly all the most essential questions that a human being must ponder, from the most outward matters of how we live with justice within society and in relation to our fellow creatures, to the most inward mysteries of the human soul and its relation to its source. The talk aims to explore the relevance of the tradition to contemporary life.

 

Download the text: Living Plato

 

January 29th - Plato's vision: One reality, two worlds, three natures?

 

Plato is sometimes considered to be a dualist - a philosopher who neglected the material world in favour of his eternal forms: but is this a fair reflection of his views? This evening we'll look at his account of the creation of the physical universe in his masterly dialogue, the Timaeus: here we find that although he distinguishes the stability of the eternal world (with its dynamic forms) from the ever-flowing "coming to be" of the manifested world, nevertheless he understands them as forming one reality. He calls the manifested cosmos a "blessed god" and explores the overarching union of the differing states of being in terms of a unity which he calls the Good. We'll read a selection of extracts from the dialogue, and then discuss some of its implications.

 

Download the text: Platonic vision - 1 reality - 2 worlds - 3 natures

Programme 2018

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

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

 

12 Mar *

Orphic Myth

Tim Addey

 

26 Mar

Myths of Life and the Afterlife 1 - the Gorgias

Miranda Addey

 

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

Providence

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 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 15th - March 19th 2018
 

Click here for details

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