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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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 âexiled from the orb of lightâ 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: