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THE PROMETHEUS TRUST: Crisis and Judgment: Contemplating Action

The Prometheus Trust
28 Petticoat Lane, Dilton Marsh, Westbury, Wilts BA13 4DG
Tel: 01373 825808
Registered Charity no. 299648



Friday, 25 June to Sunday, 27 June
Ivy House, Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

Crisis and Judgment: Contemplating Action

The word crisis comes to us from the Greek – it meant the act of judging, distinguishing and making decisions: Sophocles wrote a play called Krisis about the judgment of Paris. Today we are all well aware that we are reaching a point where we too are being asked to make far-reaching decisions about our relationships to the universe and to each other. How are we to go about reaching wise decisions?

When Paris made his judgment he was deciding between the Goddesses of Desire, Honour and Wisdom – it was his choice of desire which plunged the Greek states into their ten year war upon the plains of Troy. In the critical choices which are now rising before us we, as individuals and as a global community, have much the same choices as lay before Paris; and according to our inner choices, so will the course of our outer lives, like his, be shaped.

In his 2009 Dimbleby lecture, Facing the Future, the Prince of Wales talked about how we are to tackle the major problems facing humankind and said, “Philosophy is just as important as practical solutions. In fact the right solutions will come more readily if the philosophy is first of all framed by right thinking.” This is, of course, a view which can be seen throughout the writings of Plato: in the Republic, for example, Socrates urges that those who would act as rulers be trained in right thinking, and be brought to that state in which the very highest and most unitive truth is contemplated. Plotinus tells us that contemplation and action are, in reality, phases of a great continuum and that the most effective actions follow from contemplation.

This Conference is called to consider the philosophic response to practical life in this light: to examine the ways in which in this judgment we may choose wisdom.

Papers are invited from those interested in these areas for presentation at the fifth 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, 26 March 2010. Acceptance of these will be confirmed as quickly as possible.

Papers should be around 2500-3000 words or 20 minutes’ presentation (we usually allow 15 minutes for a question and answer session after each presentation).

Bookings should be received by us not later than Friday, 23 April 2010.

The Trustees are greatly honoured that Professor John Dillon has agreed to be our keynote speaker. The following is an introduction to his address:

Towards the Noosphere: Platonist versus Christian Models of the Universe and our Place in it

My theme is, first of all, a confrontation of the Platonic-Plotinian model of a static universe with that of such a thinker as the Christian philosopher Origen, and, from recent times, of the Jesuit thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, both of whom envisage a process of development, commencing with a ‘fall’, and leading back to what Chardin denominated the ‘noosphere’, a state where rationality will be dominant over all irrational forces.
My question is whether, despite many indications to the contrary, we may not after all be shuffling gradually towards such a consummation.


John Dillon is Regius Professor of Greek (Emeritus) in Trinity College Dublin, and founder of the Dublin Centre for the Study of the Platonic Tradition. He was educated at Oxford and University of California at Berkeley, and specialises in the study of Plato and the Platonic Tradition, on which he has written a number of books.


The conference will take place at Ivy House, a retreat centre in Warminster, which is comfortable and well appointed. Residential prices are for the weekend (from Friday supper to Sunday tea): rates for a shorter stay are subject to availability.

Single room £100 Twin room £80 Students: Single £40 Twin room £30

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 – the only charge payable to the Trust would be the conference fee.

Conference fee: This charge is £20 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 £20 should be returned by FRIDAY, 23 APRIL 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

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