Feb
18
Mon
Platonic philosophy and Freewill
Feb 18 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Platonic philosophy and Freewill

The existence or otherwise of freewill has been the subject of philosophic exploration for as long as philosophy has existed: and if it exists its nature and reach is then widely debated. In modern times the view that freewill is more or less and illusion has enjoyed widespread support in some sections of contemporary philosophy – this is in contrast to both ancient trends in this area of thought, as well as what one might call “common sense and practical views” upon which most people in today’s world base their approach to life. What does the Platonic tradition say about freewill, and how can we better our understanding of human agency?

We will look at passages from Plato and from Proclus’ treatise On Providence, Fate and That which is in our Power, alongside modern concepts. We should have time for the best part of an hour to discuss the issues raised by the extracts.

No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Entrance in free, but donations between £3-5 will be welcomed.

A PDF download of the extract we will be reading is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust’s activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the “London Monday Evenings” page.)

Feb
24
Sun
Plato and the pursuit of Truth – Questioning as an instrument of truth
Feb 24 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Plato and the pursuit of Truth – Questioning as an instrument of truth

“Divinity compels me to act as a midwife . . . but when souls, not bodies, are pregnant.” – Plato, in the Theaetetus

Plato’s dialogues have challenged readers to explore questions of truth and reality for the last 2,400 years: during that time humankind’s view of truth and the universe we inhabit has undergone many changes – but Plato’s philosophy remains alive with his profound questions. But Plato does not present his philosophy in a dogmatic way – many of his dialogues are built around a question and answer format: why is this?

The third of three Sunday afternoons exploring Plato’s approach to truth-seeking we aim to explore the different ways that careful questioning allows hidden truths to emerge from common opinions, and half-formed thoughts, from conflicting positions and unexamined assumptions. We will also look at the way Socrates in particular approaches different characters with appropriate strategies – for his is a more subtle art than many realise.

We will spend an hour looking at various passages of the dialogues, selected to illustrate particular approaches and after a short break, open up the meeting to an open discussion about this form of philosophy.

Each workshop will be self-contained, so if you can’t make all three Sunday afternoons (March 10, 17th and 24th) do come along to those you can make.

Details of all three workshops can be found on both the New Acropolis website (see contact details) and the Prometheus Trust website – www.prometheustrust.co.uk (go to the “lectures” page)

Mar
4
Mon
Plato’s Phaedrus and the power of Eros
Mar 4 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Plato’s Phaedrus and the power of Eros

Whither are you going, my dear Phaedrus, and from whence came you?” With these words Plato opens a dialogue which might be called his manifesto of philosophy: it draws the reader in to a consideration of the fundamental questions of human life, touching upon all the primary teachings of the Platonic tradition, and showing how intimately bound love and truth are in the philosophic life of the soul. This love is a desiring form of love – the kind ruled over by Eros, and Socrates has much to say about the inspiration which comes from him:

“. . . many then are the beautiful works arising from divine mania, . . . So that we ought not to be afraid of mania; nor should any reason disturb us, which endeavours to evince that we ought to prefer a prudent friend to one who is divinely agitated: for he who asserts this, ought likewise to show, in order to gain the victory, that love was not sent from the Gods for the utility of the lover and his beloved. But, on the contrary, it must now be shown by us that a mania of this kind was sent by the Gods, for the purpose of producing the greatest felicity. The demonstration, indeed, will be to the unworthy incredible, but to the wise, an object of belief. It is necessary, therefore, in the first place, that, beholding the passions and operations of the divine and human soul, we should understand the truth concerning the nature of each.”

We will explore what Plato says in the Phaedrus concerning the soul that is the true self and how the divine impulse and inspiration of Eros underpins the ascent to its starry home.

No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Entrance in free, but donations between £3-5 will be welcomed.

A PDF download of the extract we will be reading is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust’s activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the “London Monday Evenings” page.)

Mar
18
Mon
A Platonic look at Homer’s Iliad
Mar 18 @ 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Platonic look at Homer’s Iliad

In the glittering and vast stellium that was ancient Greece, the two brightest stars were Plato and Homer: the former is known as the founder of the West’s rational and systematic approach to truth, the latter as the founder of the West’s literary tradition. But perhaps the simple division of philosopher on the one hand, and epic fiction writer on the other fails to capture the range of either: Plato’s use of myth and story, and his power to move the reader in the drama of his dialogues, along with his ability to elevate and initiate those who follow him along the path of philosophy is there for any who are open to such possibilities. And Homer, whose understanding of the human condition and the stage upon which we are required to unfold our mysterious nature has rarely been surpassed, has perhaps obscured his wide-ranging wisdom by hiding it in symbolic and mythic language. 

Can we draw the two together by reading Homer with Platonic eyes? Will Platonic concepts help us to gain a deeper understanding of the two great epics attributed to Homer, and will his verses give us insights into the narrative which Plato offers us, scattered through various dialogues, of the soul’s journey?

No previous experience of formal philosophy is required.

Entrance in free, but donations between £3-5 will be welcomed.

A PDF download of the extract we will be reading is available on our website together with further details of this and other Prometheus Trust’s activities: www.prometheustrust.co.uk (the PDF is on the “London Monday Evenings” page.)