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PTCOLIM

 

Virtual Events

Exploring a living tradition with the Prometheus Trust

During the covid-19 hiatus the Prometheus Trust is running a number of remote sessions (via Zoom): these are designed as supplements to those who are reading Platonic dialogues privately. We also have a readers’ forum using the Slack forum facility. If you are interested do write to education@prometheustrust.co.uk in order to register and get access. This is open to anyone, and there are no fees payable.

The Trust sees the Platonic tradition as a spiritual one: not only a guide for the outer life, but especially to be treasured for its assistance in the cultivation of the inner self - the soul - for, says Plato in the Timeaus, “we are not terrestrial plants, but blossoms of heaven.” We understand the tradition to be profound and cohesive, and one that repays the long-term effort required to truly embed oneself in it. Our approach is not exclusive - we value other traditions for their insights - nor is it dogmatic or an attempt to proselytise: however we are serious in our attempts to fathom the depths of the tradition, to identify its foundations, and where its teachings seem to run counter to accepted thinking to investigate them thoroughly rather than rejecting them prematurely. Thus our point of focus is on the teachings of the tradition and our own inner response to them.

By joining our studies you are making no commitment beyond that of co-operating with us in our exploration of those truths which have inspired a company of men and women most luminous in their understanding, and unsparingly generous in their teaching. We do encourage those booking in to the dialogue sessions to have read the whole dialogue by the date of the first session - even if you don’t feel you have understood it!

At present we are using the ancient Platonic schools’ first cycle of ten dialogues which, as far as we can tell, was the accepted path through the writings of Plato for students coming to the tradition.

The ten dialogue cycle is: First Alcibiades - Gorgias - Phaedo - Cratylus - Theaetetus - Sophist - Statesman - Phaedrus - Symposium - Philebus.

As of October 2020 we have already looked at the First Alcibiades (2 sessions), the Gorgias (2), the Phaedo (3), the Cratylus (2) and run a single session introducing the principles of Platonic dialectic: if you have missed these, there is no problem in joining us for the sessions coming up - they are all fairly self-contained, although the multiple sessions on each particular dialogue are linked and we do ask that if you book for any dialogue you should aim to attend the two or three that cover it.

Our one-off sessions on particular subjects are run on Wednesdays at 6pm (GMT)

Our dialogue sessions are run on Wednesdays at 6pm and repeated on Saturdays at 4pm (GMT)


Nov 11th - A session on Knowledge and Opinion - for details click here.

Nov 18th - The Theaetetus, first session Nov 21st - First session (repeat). For details click here.

Nov 25th - The Theaetetus, second session Nov 28th - Second session (repeat)

Dec 16th - A session on Being and Ideas - for details click here

Jan 13th - The Sophist, first session Jan 16th - First session (repeat)

Jan 20th - The Sophist, second session Jan 23rd - Second session (repeat)

Jan 27th - The Sophist, third session Jan 30th - Third session (repeat)

Feb 17th - A session of Arete (or virtue) Details below. Feb 20th Arete (repeat session). Paper: Arete or the Virtues

Feb 24th - The Statesman, first session. Details below. Feb 27th - First session (repeat) Text: The Statesman TT

Mar 3rd - The Statesman, second session Mar 6th - Second session (repeat)

Mar 24th - A session on the Gods in the Platonic tradition

Apr 7th - The Phaedrus, first session Apr 10th - First session (repeat)

Apr 14th - The Phaedrus, second session Apr 17th - Second session (repeat)

Apr 21st - The Phaedrus, third session Apr 24th - Third session (repeat)

TBA - A session on daemons and the principles of mediation in the Platonic tradition

TBA - The Symposium, first session TBA - First session (repeat)

TBA - The Symposium, second session TBA - Second session (repeat)

TBA - The Philebus, first session TBA - First session (repeat)

TBA - The Philebus, second session TBA - Second session (repeat)

TBA - The Philebus, third session TBA - Third session (repeat)

Each session is around 1 hour 45 minutes, and as we reach each dialogue a channel is made available in our Slack forum for the further exchange of views, questions, and insights.

We try to keep the number of participants down to 10 or less in order to give everyone involved space to explore questions which arise.

 

 

 

Arete (virtue or excellence) in the Platonic tradition

February 17th at 6pm GMT

with a repeat on February 20th at 4pm GMT

One of the most important elements of the Platonic tradition was that of arete (which can be translated as excellence or virtue): the philosophic path laid out before us requires that all our learning becomes a living reality. Arete is key to this transformation, taking us from the more mundane levels of life to the very highest levels to which the human being can aspire and of which 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.”

We have a short discussion paper as a prompt to our exploration, but the session will allow participants to follow many threads the tradition weaves around the subject, as they see fit: Arete or the Virtues

 

The session will begin with a short introductory talk - perhaps 10 to 15 minutes in length, and then, as usual, we will open the session up for a general discussion of the subject.

There are no charges for participation, but registration is required. To register for a place please email education@prometheustrust.co.uk

Two virtual seminars on

Plato’s Statesman (or Politicus)

February 24th and March 3rd at 6pm GMT

With repeat sessions on February 27th and March 6th at 4pm

 

chiron1Our continuing exploration of the late Platonic syllabus moves on to the Statesman (sometimes known as the Politicus) which has much material to stimulate our thinking: dialectic matters are examined extensively, but dialogue also has a significant philosophical myth as a counter point.

Questions of governance have troubled humankind for as long as we can remember, and recent years have demonstrated that we are still far from settling these questions. How are we to distinguish the true ruler from those who make false claims for themselves? The Statesman - which traditionally carried the subtitle On a Kingdom, considers the various forms of government and how each can fall away from their lawful foundations.

As for the strange myth which the main speaker relates, we will look at Proclus’ deep insights into the nature of the cycles around which our lives individually and collectively revolve: as he says, “there is a twofold life in the world, the one unapparent and more intellectual, but the other more material and apparent, and the one bounded by providence, but the other proceeding in a disorderly manner according to fate.”

We will be using the Thomas Taylor translation but if you have a different translation you should be able to follow our progress.  Down load the Taylor version here: The Statesman TT

Each session will begin with a short talk on some aspect of the dialogue - perhaps 10 to 15 minutes in length, and then, as usual, we will open the session up for a general discussion of the subject.

There are no charges for participation, but registration is required. To register for a place please email education@prometheustrust.co.uk