Next Meetup

Prometheus Trust Reading Group on the Phaedo
Eight reading sessions on Plato's Phaedo - about 1 hr 15 minutes per session. The Phaedo is one of the great works of philosophy and one of the great dramas of western literature: it covers the last day of Socrates' earthly life and centres on a discussion about the immortality of the human soul, and the consequences that flow from that immortality. It includes allusions to traditional myths, discusses interior initiations, explores issues of rationality, allows Socrates to describe his vision of "the true Earth" and culminates in a noble and touching death. We will cover an average of 8 or 9 pages per session, so that we have plenty of time to discuss the issues that arise and explore some of the more hidden matters Plato has embedded in the drama of the dialogue. The Phaedo has profound depths, but is also suitable as an introduction to the philosophy of Plato as it touches on so many of Plato's most fundamental concepts. Whatever your experience of philosophical study, the dialogue should be an engaging read. We will be using an adapted version of the Thomas Taylor translation, which we can make available on PDF from the end of August. We ask for donations of £3 per session if possible, to help with our room hire cost. Timetable 1: 57a-63b * 17th September * Introduction, Theseus, Aesop, Suicide (6 Stephanus pages) 2: 63b-69e * 1st October * A rational defence, philosophy as a meditation on death, initiation and Dionysus (6 Stephanus pages) 3: 70a-78b * 15th October * The argument from opposites, the argument from recollection (8 Stephanus pages) 4: 78-84c * 29th October* The argument from affinity (6 Stephanus pages) 5: 84c-95a * 5th November * Objections through harmony (argument from simplicity) (10 Stephanus pages) 6: 95a-107a * 19th November * Arguement from essence (including mechanical causes v ideal causes) (12 Stephanus pages) 7: 107b-115a * 3rd December * The myth of the True Earth (8 Stephanus pages) 8 115b-118a * 17th December * Last words, and the drama concluded. (3 Stephanus pages)

Cecil Sharp House

2 Regents Park Rd, London NW1 7AY · London

What we're about

The Prometheus Trust, a registered educational charity, exists to encourage, promote and assist the flowering of philosophy as the living love of wisdom. It aims especially at re-introducing philosophy as a transformative activity – one that gradually draws into activity all that is best in the human self, so that both the inner and outer life are directed towards that which is truly good, rather than that that which only appears to be good. "Beatific contemplation does not consist of the accumulation of arguments or a storehouse of learned knowledge, but in us theory must become nature and life itself." - Porphyry, 3rd century AD. The starting point for our studies and reflections is the writings of the Platonic tradition but we rely on the affirmation that every man and woman has within him or herself a connection to all the great truths which underlie reality: our joint discussions are aimed at bringing forth and into focus these truths, which otherwise might remain more or less obscured by the complexities of life. The Trust looks to follow the Platonic tradition's general approach - that merely because Plato or any of the other renowned thinkers inside or outside the Platonic tradition have asserted something we should not simply accept it but, rather, seek to see for ourselves whether or not (and in what way) any particular affirmation is true. We hope to explore the ways of wisdom in a spirit of friendship and co-operation with anyone who is excited by the possibilities of philosophy: previous experience of philosophy or great cleverness are not required – just an interest in discovering the truth and a willingness to look beyond the appearance of things. By this means we may, perhaps, begin with words but journey to some understanding beyond words: as Plato wrote, "For a thing of this kind cannot be expressed by words like other disciplines, but by long familiarity, and living in conjunction with the thing itself, a light as it were leaping from a fire will on a sudden be enkindled in the soul, and there itself nourish itself."

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