Prometheus Trust
TTS Catalogue
Texts and Translations
Other books
ISNS Collections
Complete Catalogue
Ordering
Education
Essentials Course
London Monday  Evenings
Bristol Wednesday evenings
Academy Appeal
Conference
Virtual Events
Events
Lectures
ISNS Scholars Articles
Videos
Warburg Neoplatonic Reading
Meadow 1
Meadow 2
Meadow 3
Thomas Taylor
The Trust
Glossary
Links
Files to download
Seeds and fruits
Contact us
Study weeks in Italy
Latest books
Reading group
Weekend on Myth
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.

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), and run a single session introducing the principles of Platonic dialectic.

Upcoming………………

The Cratylus (2 sessions in mid October)

We plan to run a session exploring concepts of “opinion and knowledge” in early November

The Theaetetus (2 sessions in late November)

A session (or perhaps 2) on “Being and ideas” in early December

The Sophist (2 sessions in early January)

And sessions on the Statesman, Phaedrus, Symposium and Philebus in the following months.

 

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. At present this means that we usually run a repeat of each session. We run one session on Wednesday evenings (at 6pm London time) and its repeat on Saturday afternoon (at 4pm London time). See below for details of our next set of sessions

 

images

Two virtual seminars
 

on Plato’s Cratylus


 

 

Wednesday Oct 7th & 14th at 6pm BST

with a repeat of these sessions on Saturday 10th & 17th at 4pm BST


 

This is a part of the Prometheus Trust’s virtual study project of working through the first cycle of Platonic dialogues which the ancient Platonic schools from Iamblichus onwards adopted for their standard syllabus. The Cratylus is the fourth in this cycle - we have a forum for the discussion of this and the first three dialogues which you will have access to on registration.

 

The Cratylus is a much neglected dialogue - modern critics tend to see it as either a joke or as a dialogue by an off-form Plato (or both). But it was included in the first cycle of dialogues by the ancient Platonic schools, and they clearly thought it should be studied for its serious insights.  The first two dialogues of the cycle, the First Alcibiades and the Gorgias were seen as moving the student into the area of civic virtue (in which the rational soul encounters the outer world), while the third, the Phaedo, addressed cathartic virtue (when the soul turns its powers upon itself). After cathartic virtue comes the theoretic or contemplative level, where we attempt to bring ourselves into contact with the real being of eternal Forms, and it is for this reason that the Cratylus comes next - since the beginning of thinking about anything requires us to separate it from all other things: and this is function of names. Only by naming something can we properly begin to investigate it, with a long-term hope of coming into a proper relationship with the thing itself.  The Cratylus is a dialogue concerning names - and it asks whether a name is a mere convention or arises from the nature of the thing named; the largest part of the work is Socrates working through a number of etymologies, for he takes that task to be intrinsic to the discovery of the rightness of name in relation to its nature.
 

The dialogue is somewhat at odds to modern thought, and not an easy one to follow: perhaps the best of modern translations is that of Reeve (widely available via the normal internet book sellers) so we will be using this as our primary translation but will also draw on the translation and notes of Thomas Taylor, and the Commentary of Proclus on the dialogue.

 “There are three things belonging to each of those particulars through which knowledge is necessarily produced. But the fourth is knowledge itself. And it is requisite to establish as the fifth that which is known and true. One of these is the name of a thing; the second its definition; the third the resemblance; the fourth knowledge.”

Plato, Seventh Letter.


The sessions will run for one hour 45 minutes via Zoom. Each session will begin with a 15-20 minute presentation which will pick out a particular aspect of the dialogue, and then open up for a group exploration. We aim to limit the number of participants to around 10 (if there is a significantly greater demand than this we will repeat the session as required on the Saturdays of 10th and 17th October). You are welcome to join us whether you have been a participant in previous Prometheus face to face events or are a newcomer and, of course, wherever you are in the world.

There are no charges for participation, but registration is required. To register for a place please email education@prometheustrust.co.uk - let us know which of the days you would prefer.