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The Myth of Er (from the 10th book of Plato's Republic)

Plato explores the themes of judgement and choice as he concludes his Republic - we explore his curious mythological presentation.


Plato's Republic is a dialogue which examines the nature and course of justice in human affairs: in particular, Socrates wishes to consider the soul and its faculties in relation to justice. What is the state of a person who acts justly, and what that of a person who acts unjustly? Does the leading of a just life lead towards goodness? It seems that it does: but is this an intrinsic goodness, or merely good because justice leads to later rewards and injustice towards subsequent punishment? Socrates claims that acting justly is its own reward, and in the first nine and a half books of the work, Plato is especially concerned to show that this is the case. It is really only in the last half of the last book (the tenth), that he allows himself to consider what the consequences are of living a just or unjust life to the soul after the death of its mortal body. Following the Pythagorean and Orphic teachings on reincarnation, Plato has Socrates tell a tale of Er, a soldier who seems to have died in battle but afterwards revives and relates how he saw the souls of the dead go to a place of judgement, and then after receiving their just rewards for the life they had led, were faced with the task of choosing a further life. This choice, Er said, appeared to be profoundly influenced by the nature of the previous life, but especially by the wisdom (or otherwise) of the soul making the choice - for each of us needs to be able to discern the truly good life from the seemingly good life.

This evening will begin with a short talk about the Republic and Plato's Orphic inheritance; we will then read the myth of Er and leave ourselves an hour to discuss its implications.

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.)


Speaker(s):

Mr Tim Addey | talks | www

 

Date and Time:

4 April 2016 at 7:30 pm

Duration:

1 hour 30 minutes

 

Venue:

Cecil Sharp House
2 Regentís Park Road
London
NW1 7AY


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Organised by:

The Prometheus Trust
See other talks organised by The Prometheus Trust...

 

Tickets:

£5 (concessions £3)

Available from:

Donations at the door.

Additional Information:

Cecil Sharp House is less than 10 minutes walk from Camden Town tube, and on several bus routes.

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