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.)

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.)