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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 24th - The Statesman, first session Feb 27th - First session (repeat)

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.

 

 

 

Being and Ideas in the Platonic tradition

December 16th at 6pm GMT

 

Plato is famous for his “theory of forms (or ideas)” - but what are they and what access do we as human beings have to them?

The modern understanding of ideas (which are distinct from human concepts) does little justice to the Platonic tradition’s profound meditations on the eternal, living, intelligent and creative paradigms which, it affirms, underlie the whole of the manifested cosmos. The moving world in which all things are entwined with time - and therefore in a condition of “coming-to-be” - rests upon a number of “real beings” which not only provides a stability without which the cosmos would be a whirling disorder, but also allows it to be intelligently understood. These real beings are the ideas of Platonic philosophy, immutable but dynamic, and truly beautiful. We will attempt to explore them from a Platonic perspective.


A short paper with some basic teachings exploring this area taken from the writings of the tradition will be available from the beginning of December for those booking in.

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

Three virtual seminars on

Plato’s Sophist

January 13th, 20th and 27th at 6pm GMT

With repeat sessions on 16th, 23rd and 30th at 4pm

 

chiron1The traditional subtitle given to the Platonic dialogue known as the Sophist was ‘On Being’ - and indeed the leading speaker, the Elean Guest, says “the philosopher through reasoning, being always situated near the idea of being, is by no means easily discerned, on account of the splendour of the region.” For this reason the dialogue explores some of the most profound principles of Platonic metaphysics and - since knowledge addresses being - of epistemology.

The dialogue purports to be one that follows on dramatically speaking from the Theaetetus, but whereas the earlier dialogue fails to grasp the nature of knowledge, here we begin to see not only the nature of real being and the faculties that allow us to contact that being, but also the ways in which that which is “becoming to be” falls away from that which is. The Sophist hastens our ascent from ordinary consciousness towards the god-like state outlined in the digression passage in the Theaetetus (172c-177c) - and this is accomplished by purification as we begin to discern the true from the false and, crucially, how false opinion arises.

There are many important aspects of the dialogue to explore and for this reason we will take three sessions over consecutive weeks to allow ourselves time to study these. We will look at the elements of dialectic; the soul’s gnostic powers; being and the five great kinds of being; true and false types of likeness; the relation of being to unity; and long standing questions of reality - especially that of the materialist to idealist view.

We will be using the Thomas Taylor translation but if you have a different translation you should be able to follow our progress. Do note that the Prometheus Trust has produced a paperback of this dialogue in our ‘Students Edition’ series - the dialogue is accompanied by extensive notes and introductory essays on themes found with it: it’s available directly from the Trust (see here) or, if you live in the US or Canada from our distributor (see here).

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