We are fortunate to have as the leader of our Platonic studies someone who is fluent in ancient Greek and who is currently involved in the preparation of a new translation of the whole of Plato’s work.
A Day with Plato is held three times a year, alternately at Hyde Park Towers, CBD and Mahratta, Wahroonga. The event is always on a Sunday, 9am-3pm.
The approach taken is to read and discuss the text with a view to following the argument rather than assessing whether the views expressed are correct or otherwise, or whether my views are correct or otherwise. All that is required, is an enthusiasm to go beyond what we normally regard as the limits of our understanding. Participants find these events stimulating and refreshing.
Each day begins with a briefing to put into context the materials to be studied and includes morning tea and lunch in very good company.
We are now embarking on the study of Plato’s best known work, The Republic, over 10 consecutive meetings. Each meeting will examine one book of the text. The Republic is an investigation into the nature of justice.
The Republic has proven to be one of the world’s most influential works of philosophy. Much of the subject matter we will enquire into are underlying principles fundamental and relevant to contemporary issues in politics and current affairs.
To examine this Plato presents a view of an ideal state, and has to deal with many other subjects to justify and explain his model. These subjects include what has become known as the Platonic Theory of Forms, Immortality of the Soul, the Philosopher King, Plato’s Cave, Five types of Government, and more.
Term 2 2017
Book 1 – The central theme of The Republic is an enquiry into the nature of justice. Why do I need it? Is it better to live a just life or a life of injustice?’
Term 3 2017
Book 2 – Is justice more profitable than injustice (continued)? Why do the unjust wish to appear just? The story of the ring of invisibility, moving the discussion to universals based on an examination of an ideal state. The natural divisions of an ideal state; the role of government, and the education of the governors. The role of literature in education, and selecting the right material.
Term 1 2018
Book 3 – The education of the governors expanded. The role of music and physical training in education. The best of those, so educated, become the leaders and the need for ‘falsehood’ by the leaders.
Term 2 2018
Book 4 – Justice may flourish where the whole citizenry are happy. The source of happiness identified. How many laws are required in the ideal state? Virtues to be sought in individuals, not the state. The powers of the human mind and the powers associated with classes in society.
Term 3 2018
Book 5 – Further exploration of the qualities of the leaders of the ideal state. Is the ideal state possible? The Platonic Theory of forms. Forms as absolutes (such as justice, goodness, Happiness). The Philosopher is the best ruler for the ideal state.
Term 1 2019
Book 6 – More on the Philosopher as a ruler and the difficulty of producing a Philosopher ruler. The Philosopher ruler must possess Goodness, Justice, Beauty etc. Goodness is required to see the goodness of Justice and Beauty. The intellect and Plato’s divided line. Dialectic.
Term 2 2019
Book 7 – Plato’s cave; the role of mathematics in the education of the leader; education of the leaders, from early childhood to age fifty.
Term 3 2019
Book 8 – The breakdown of the ideal state; and the four types of unjust state (timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny); how the type of state relates to the type of people; descriptions of the timocracy, oligarchy and democracy, and their relationships.
Term 1 2020
Book 9 – The tyrant, is the most miserable of men, a slave to his own desires; the just man is free and the happiest of men; each person must learn to govern himself using reason.
Term 2 2018
Book 10 – The role of arts in society; the role of art in the ideal state; the immortality of the soul; justice and the immortal soul; the myth of Er.