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First steps in Platonic dialectic

Short talk on Platonic dialectic, with readings from Plato's Phaedrus and his Seventh Letter.

How can we discover truth? How can we move from mere belief to knowledge? Or are we trapped in a world of constantly shifting human concepts with no access to what Plato calls "real beings" – the eternal ideas which he suggests transcend materiality while at the same time inform it?
In several of his dialogues Plato discusses dialectic, which he says is the means for bringing into full consciousness the truths that normally lie more or less hidden from view within the depths of the human mind: this dialectic is not a way of winning arguments but rather the "path that attends upon truth" as Parmenides puts it. Dialectic is the key to unpacking the great works of the Platonic tradition: as John Petvin wrote, "Mankind are not to be made any more truly knowing than happy by another's understanding. - There is no man can at once convey light in the higher subjects, to another man's understanding. It must come into the mind from its own motions, within itself: and the grand art of philosophy, is to set the mind a-going; and, even when we think nothing of it, to assist it in its labour . . . the ancients never attempt to lead us into knowledge, by a continued chain of reasoning; on the contrary, they write in such a manner, as to force us to think for ourselves."

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.)


Tim Addey | talks | www


Date and Time:

19 September 2016 at 7:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Cecil Sharp House
2 Regent’s Park Road

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Organised by:

The Prometheus Trust
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