Cambridge Centre for the study of Western Esotericism

Research, Reviews, Conferences

Soul to Soul – Orality in the Platonic Tradition

 

Ivy House

CONFERENCE 2011

Friday, 1 July to Sunday, 3 July

Ivy House, Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

 Soul to Soul – Orality in the Platonic Tradition

 But, in my opinion, a much more beautiful study will result from discourses, when some one employing the dialectic art, and receiving a soul properly adapted for his purpose, plants and sows in it discourses, in conjunction with science; discourses which are sufficiently able to assist both themselves and their planter, and which are not barren, but abound with seed; from whence others springing up in different manners, are always sufficient to extend this immortal benefit, and to render their possessor blessed in as high a degree as is possible to man.” Phaedrus, 276e

 The 2011 Prometheus Trust Conference will invite participants to consider the Platonic tradition as primarily an oral one – for in both the Phaedrus and in his Epistles, Plato indicates the superiority of the spoken above that of the written word in philosophy. Further, it is clear that where Plato does commit his philosophy to writing, the very form chosen – that of the dialogue – draws the reader as closely as possible to the oral experience. If this hypothesis is correct, it presents major difficulties to those investigating the Platonic tradition from our modern perspective, which sees the text as the safe arbiter of true understanding. How can we overcome these difficulties? And for those who seek to continue the tradition, how can we embrace orality as the central instrument of philosophical progress?

  Papers are invited from those interested in these areas for presentation at the sixth Prometheus Trust conference. We hope that the subject will attract speakers from both academic and non-academic backgrounds who share a common love of wisdom.

 Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and should be with us at the latest by Friday, 1 April 2011. Acceptance of these will be confirmed as quickly as possible.

 Papers should be around 2500-3000 words or 20 minutes’ presentation (we usually allow a further 20 minutes for a question and answer session after each presentation).

 Bookings should be received by us not later than Friday, 6 May 2011.

 We are delighted that Dr Deepa Majumdar has agreed to give the keynote address on the Friday evening. Deepa is originally from India and now resides in the US where she is a tenured faculty member (Associate rank) at Purdue University North Central. In 2000, she received her DSSc degree in Philosophy at the former Graduate Faculty of The New School, where she wrote her dissertation on the philosophy of Plotinus. She has a prior PhD in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University. She has published one book entitled Plotinus on the Appearance of Time and the World of Sense (Ashgate Publishers 2007) and two papers on Plotinus. She has also published a paper each on Plato and Ghandi. Her current work includes a paper on Plotinus and the Bhagavad Gita, a book on Plotinus and Advaita Vedanta and a work on the nature of love. She has prepared reviews on papers on Plotinus for The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition, Ancient Philosophy, and the 2009 Conference volume of The International Society for Neoplatonic Studies, as well as a review on a book on Plotinus in The Classical Review, volume 60.

Deepa believes in disseminating academic knowledge as widely as possible, engaging in many public educational projects and writing copious op-ed pieces for Indian newspapers. She believes deeply in being a writer and thinker for the people, as it were, and is critical of the hyper-formalism of academia.

 The Thomas Taylor Lecture

 One of the highlights of our conferences is the annual Thomas Taylor lecture given on Saturday evening: this year we are very pleased indeed that Prof John Dillon of University College Dublin has agreed to give this lecture.

 Accommodation

 The conference will take place at Ivy House, a retreat centre in Warminster, which is comfortable and well appointed. Residential prices are for full board for the weekend (from Friday supper to Sunday tea) and are £120 (£90 for students). Students are requested to share a bedroom if there are no single rooms available when they book. Please contact the Treasurer if you cannot afford these fees as it may be possible to offer you a bursary.

 For those who wish to attend the conference but who do not wish to stay or eat at Ivy House, there are inexpensive residential pubs in Warminster and several take-aways/cafes/restaurants. It would be your responsibility to arrange accommodation and food; attendance at Ivy House on a non-residential basis costs £18 per day (to include refreshments and lunch) plus the conference fee. We can forward a list of local accommodation.

 Conference fee: This charge is £30 and is payable with your booking. It is non-refundable in the event of cancellation. Accommodation fees are payable by end of May. Ivy House has its own cancellation policy – details if required from the Conference Secretary.

 Booking forms are available from the Conference Secretary at the above address, phone or email. Completed forms with your deposit of £30 should be returned by FRIDAY, 6 MAY at the very latest.

 Travel: Warminster is on the main train line from South Wales and the South Coast and is easily reached from London via Bath or Salisbury. Buses run from Bath, Bristol and Salisbury and coaches from London.

 Trustees: Mr T J Addey (Chairman), Mr S Wade, LLB (Secretary), Mrs BAF Addey (Treasurer), Dr Crystal Addey, Mr Jeremy A Best,

Ms M Lyn, and Ms A V Wallace

Patrons: Mr D C Skilling and Mrs M A Skilling

The Prometheus Trust

28 Petticoat Lane, Dilton Marsh, Westbury, Wilts BA13 4DG

Tel: 01373 825808

email: info@prometheustrust.co.uk Registered Charity no. 299648

www.prometheustrust.co.uk

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