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PTCOLIM

 

Bristol Wednesday evenings
study & discussion sessions

 

“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.”
                                                                                                         Hermeas

The Prometheus Trust runs fortnightly philosophy sessions in Bristol on Wednesday evenings from 7.30 to 9pm at:

 Hydra Bookshop, 34 Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0EZ.

Further details from education@prometheustrust.co.uk 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 2019:

 

3rd April: Ideas in Plato and his tradition

Plato is perhaps best known for his "theory of forms" – the view that things in the material world are produced and shaped by eternal ideas or forms. But although the fact of the theory is well known, the actual nature of forms as envisaged by Plato is badly misunderstood, and this has been the case for many centuries. Thomas Taylor, the great English Platonist, wrote, "The Platonic doctrine of Ideas has been, in all ages, the derision of the vulgar, and the admiration of the wise. Indeed, if we consider that Ideas are the most sublime objects of study, and that their nature is no less bright in itself, than difficult to investigate, this opposition in the conduct of mankind will be natural and necessary; for, from our connection with a material nature, our intellectual eye, previous to the irradiations of science, is as ill-adapted to objects the most splendid of all, 'as the eyes of bats to the light of day.' And yet unless the existence of these lucid beings is admitted, there can be no such thing as science; nor, indeed, any genuine knowledge at all."

Aided by some extracts from Plato and other Platonists, we will take a careful look at what ideas are (and what they are not); what their power is; the effect of ideas on the world we perceive through our senses; and what our relation is to ideas.

 Download the text: Plato and Ideas

17th April: Porphyry and the Philosophic Death

One of the central themes of Platonic philosophy is the idea of the immaterial soul giving life to the body it occupies, but being “separable” from it - in other words its identity and integrity is not dependent upon the body. In the case of humans, this soul is marked by its ability to both reason and choose to live virtuously: what are the implications of this view? Porphyry in a short work sometimes known under the title “Auxiliaries to the Perception of Intelligibles” discusses important concepts which underlie this view - in what way the soul is attached to the material body; what kind of life leads to our recovery of a full independence; the nature of philosophy and the part it plays in that recovery. We will explore both passages from Porphyry’s treatise and extracts from Plato’s Phaedo - the dialogue which clearly inspired the work.

Download the text: Porphyry and the philosophic death

15th & 22nd May: Plotinus on Beauty

Plotinus, one of the sages of the Platonic tradition wrote two treatises that explored Beauty (Ennead I, 6 - On Beauty & Ennead V, 8 - On the Intelligible Beauty). Over two successive Wednesdays we plan to look at passages from these treatises, and explore some of Plotinus’ questions and themes - What is Beauty? What is the relation of beauty to virtue? How are we to participate in it? How does beauty manifest at different levels? The god-like contemplation of the inner Beauty of the Intelligible world.

Download the text: Plotinus - Beauty

 

Draft syllabus for 2019

Subject [and text]

Presenter

File download

23 Jan

Platonic Letters on the Philosophic Life 

Tim Addey

Letters on the Philosophic Life

6 Feb

On Philosophy and Creativity 

Tim Addey

Philosophy and Creativity

20 Feb

On Freewill 

Tim Addey

The Platonic tradition and Freewill

6 Mar

Women in Philosophy 

Crystal Addey

Women Philosophers and the Platonic Tradition

20 Mar

A Platonic look at the Iliad     

Tim Addey

A Platonic look at Homers Iliad

3 Apr

Ideas in Plato and his tradition

Tim Addey

Plato and Ideas

17 Apr

Porphyry and the philosophic death

Miranda Addey

Porphyry and the philosophic death

15 May

Plotinus on the Beautiful 1

Tim Addey

Plotinus - Beauty

22 May

Plotinus on the Beautiful 2      

Tim Addey

Plotinus - Beauty

19 Jun

The Good and the transcendent Sun

Miranda Addey

 

3 Jul

Philosophy and truth

Tim Addey

 

17 Jul

Iamblichus

Crystal Addey

 

31 Jul

Philosophy and mystical initation

Tim Addey

 

7 Aug

Philosophy as an oral tradition

Tim Addey

 

21 Aug

Phaedrus and the power of Eros

Tim Addey

 

25 Sep

Plato on Justice

Tim Addey

 

9 Oct

A Platonic look at the Odyssey 1

Tim Addey

 

23Oct

A Platonic look at the Odyssey 2

Tim Addey

 

6 Nov

The Apology of Socrates 1

Tim Addey

 

20 Nov

The Apology of Socrates 2

Tim Addey

 

4 Dec

Apuleius’ Platonic tale of Cupid & Psyche

Tim Addey

 

18 Dec

First Steps in dialectic

Tim Addey

 

Please note - where we slip out of the normal fortnightly pattern the dates are in red