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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.

 

 

 

Knowledge and Opinion in the Platonic tradition

November 11th at 6pm GMT

 

OedipusThe distinction between opinion (or belief) and knowledge is crucial for the Platonic tradition: many of Plato’s dialogues bring in the issue in order to clarify the nature of the philosophy and its path. The human soul when conjoined with body seems to possess a number of powers which give it access to manifestations of truth: these range from the senses right up to, and possibly beyond, intuition. In this stand-alone session we will explore our gnostic powers and look carefully at the nature of opinion and knowledge and their objects. Those intending to join our zoom-based studies of the coming dialogues (the Theaetetus, Sophist, Phaedrus, Symposium and Philebus) should find our exploration of particular concepts helpful to the reading and examination of the five dialogues.

A short paper with some basic teachings exploring this area taken from the writings of the tradition will be available from the beginning of November 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

 

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Two virtual seminars
on Plato’s Theaetetus


Wednesday November 18th & 25th at 6pm BST
with a repeat of these sessions on
Saturday November 21st & 28th 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 Theaetus is the fifth 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.

What is knowledge? This is a question which is of the utmost importance for human beings, because our lives are profoundly conditioned by our knowledge - not merely our material welfare but even more our spiritual welfare depends on our grasp of knowledge. In the Theaetetus Socrates endeavours to draw from a young but promising student of mathematics a viable answer to the question: several possible responses are tested and found wanting, but although the dialogue fails to find a conclusive answer, the very act of exploring Theaetetus’ answers throws valuable light on the issue and prepares us for other more conclusive dialogues.

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The are several good translations of this dialogue and we should be able to follow each other whichever translation you have read and have to hand. Cornford’s translation in his Plato’s Theory of Knowledge is a well presented version (and has the advantage of including the Sophist in it - the next dialogue in the cycle.).

 “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. 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.

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 to 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 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