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Bristol Wednesday evenings
study & discussion sessions

* Please note these sessions are suspended while corona virus emergency conditions continue  - click here for remote sessions via zoom *


“The whole life of a philosopher is a dance. Terpsichore, therefore, is the inspective guardian of all dancing. Who then are those that honour the goddess in the dance? Not those who dance well, but those who live well through the whole of the present existence, beautifully arranging their life, and dancing in symphony with the universe.”

Click here for details of our Essentials of the Philosophy of Plato and his Tradition - 10 Tuesday evening classes starting in February

The Prometheus Trust runs fortnightly philosophy sessions in Bristol on Wednesday evenings from 7.00 to 8.30pm at:

 St Paul’s Learning Centre

94 Grosvenor Rd, Bristol BS2 8XJ

Further details from or phone 01594 726296

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 £2 and £3 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.

Upcoming sessions in 2020:

15th January: Plato’s Philebus: What is the principal good of human life?


What is the chief good of human life? How does a human being find true happiness, rather than its shadow? In Plato’s Philebus two possible answers are offered by the main speakers: Protarchus argues for pleasure while Socrates argues for wisdom. But is there a third possibility? Socrates suspects so, and in a brilliant thought experiment reveals it.

We will look at three passages (one of which includes an important section on the techniques of philosophic truth-seeking) and join in their discussion. The options that the dialogue lays before us may have profound implications for the problems that press in on humanity in the coming decades.


Download the text: The Philebus

29th January & 12th February: Metaphysical Foundations

The modern age is reluctant to engage with metaphysics: perhaps because the prevailing view is that there is a high degree of unreality intrinsic to non-physical objects; perhaps because trying to frame metaphysical laws is deemed to be too difficult or too big for ordinary human minds; perhaps because metaphysics is thought to have no relevance to practical life. But are any of these possibilities true?

The truth is that just because we don’t consciously engage with metaphysical concepts, doesn’t mean that we are not basing our life on a set of metaphysical assumptions: these assumptions are likely to have profound consequences on our decision-making processes. From this point of view metaphysics underpins ethics.

We plan to run two sessions looking at a few propositions from Proclus’ Elements of Theology (sometimes known as the Elements of Metaphysics). The first session will centre on the questions surrounding the unity and multiplicity inherent in reality; the second will explore some of the rules of causality that Proclus identifies.


Download the text 29th January: Metaphysical foundations 1

Download the text, 12th February: Metaphysical foundations 2


26th February & 11th March: Cupid and Psyche - a Platonic tale explored

11th March -POSTPONED

In the second century AD, Apuleius, a Platonic philosopher, retold the myth of Cupid and Psyche in the course of his novel, 'The Golden Ass.' We will read passages from the myth, and explore the clear parallels between the trials of Psyche as she loses and regains her union with Cupid (or Eros), and our own experience of descent and ascent as souls â€œexiled from the orb of light” as understood by the Platonic tradition.

We’re taking two sessions to explore the delightful story and its insights - in the first we’ll look at the double descent of Psyche at the end of which she is left to wander across the material world in search of her divine lover. In the second one we'll summarize the first session before we begin, so those who missed it can pick up the threads of the story. This second half concerns Psyche's re-ascent and her trials and initiations which lead to the reunion with her lover.

For those who would like to read the whole story, as told by Apuleius here it is in PDF:

Cupid and Psyche

Download the study text: (26th) - Cupid and psyche - Descent (11th) - Cupid and Psyche - Ascent

Draft syllabus for 2020

Subject [and text]


File download

15 Jan

Philebus: Goodness: pleasure or wisdom

Miranda Addey

The Philebus

29 Jan

Proclus on Metaphysical foundations - One and Many

Tim Addey

Metaphysical foundations 1

12 Feb

Proclus on Metaphysical foundations - Causes

Tim Addey

Metaphysical foundations 2

26 Feb

The myth of Eros and Psyche - descent

Tim Addey

Cupid and psyche - Descent

11 Mar

POSTPONED The myth of Eros and Psyche - ascent

Tim Addey

Cupid and Psyche - Ascent

25 Mar

POSTPONED Reminiscence in Plato’s Meno



8 Apr

POSTPONED Can virtue be taught?



22 Apr

POSTPONED Platonic tradition on consciousness



6 May

POSTPONED Platonic tradition on consciousness



20 May

Plato on the Good



3 June

Plato on Wisdom



17 June

Plato on Beauty



1 July

Philosophy and nature and ecology



15 July

Philosophy and nature and ecology



29 July

Plato’s First Alcibiades and the soul-body question



12 Aug

Plato on human society



9 Sept

Platonic Philosophy as a spiritual path



23 Sept




7 Oct




21 Oct




4 Nov

Socratic Questioning



18 Nov

The One and the Gods in Platonism



2 Dec

Gods in Greek Myth



16 Dec

Plotinus - insights into the Beautiful