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The exercise of arete – Porphyry on excellence or virtue

A short talk on the Platonic view of arete - virtue or excellence, using a passage from Porphyry's writings.

For the Platonic tradition, philosophy is intimately connected with human life: it draws together our inherent impulse to explore truth and our deep-rooted desire to live well. For this reason the tradition gave much attention to the nature of arete (virtue, or excellence) through which, it taught, our life is transformed from the merely human to something bright with divinity.

But what is arete? And how do the Platonic primary virtues (wisdom, courage, temperance and justice) emerge in human life? And most important of all, how do we cultivate arete in ourselves? We will read and discuss a short extract from Porphyry (the pupil of Plotinus and a highly regarded philosopher of the 3rd century AD) and explore these questions.

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.)


Peter Lyle | talks | www


Date and Time:

28 November 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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