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Courses

Most courses consist of 6 evening classes in a central Melbourne classroom that can also be attended online or reviewed in recording. The cost is usually $180/$90, or less if you become a member. If you can’t pay, then contact us to arrange free enrolment.

Reading Plato is the foundation course introducing the Platonic approach to philosophy. The other courses suitable for beginners are Gorgias and Ancient Greek Language Part 1. See what past-students said about these courses.

Intermediate course: Platonic Love, Platonism & Christianity, Geometry, Learning Greek with Plato, Plato’s Republic, Timaeus/Critias/Philebus and Plotinus.

Advanced Courses: Theaetetus and continuing to Sophist.

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GORGIAS: PERSUASION, POWER & PASSION

Curious about philosophy? Let Plato teach you.

Beginners in philosophy are welcome to join in reading and discussing this famous dialogue (Gorgias) where Socrates debates whether it is better to pursue a political life or the life of a philosopher.

  • Suitable for beginners and continuing students
  • Six weekly small-group sessions
  • Read a set passage before the evening talk and discussion.

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PLATO’S REPUBLIC

Find out why this is one of the most famous and influential books in the Western tradition. Also discover some of its esoteric secrets.

This course extends across two 6-week terms so that we can read together the entire 10 books of the Republic.

Part 1 | The Just Society

  • Six weekly small-group sessions for continuing students
  • All readings from The Republic (available for purchase)
  • Not for beginners: take Reading Plato first (or at the same time)

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Part 2 | The Essence of Reality

  • Six weekly small-group sessions for continuing students
  • All readings from The Republic (available for purchase)
  • Not for beginners: take Reading Plato first

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READING PLATO: AN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

Join us reading and discussing the famous dialogues where Socrates stands accused of corrupting the youth of Athens.

  • Suitable for beginners and continuing students
  • Six weekly small-group sessions
  • Read a set passage before the evening talk and discussion
  • All readings from The Last Days of Socrates
    (available for purchase)

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BOOKINGS NOW OPEN FOR TWILIGHT TERM
Starting 6.30 pm Monday 6 November 2023 in Carlton (+online)
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This course will likely run again in 2024. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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PLATONIC LOVE

Love, sex, booze, rhetoric and winged chariots: reading the Symposium and Phaedrus

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This course is not currenly scheduled to run in 2024. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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PLATONIC ESOTERIC GEOMETRY

Get in touch with the universal form of experience through geometric drawing.

  • Hands-on small-group sessions
  • Compass, rule, paper and all other materials provided
  • Part 1 for geometry beginners

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This course will run again in Autumn 2024. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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ANCIENT GREEK LANGUAGE & THE FIRST PHILOSOPHERS | Part I and Part II

This two-part course provides both a beginner’s introduction to the ancient Greek language and a discussion of philosophy prior to Plato, including the key fragments of Thales, Heraclitus and Parmenides that have profoundly influenced our tradition. By gaining some understanding of the original Greek words and sentences of these first philosophers we come closer to the original meaning of philosophy.

  • Taught by Martin Black in collaboration with the Independent School of Philosophy
  • Each part of this course consists of six weekly small-group sessions
  • No knowledge of Greek language or alphabet is required for Part I.
  • Philosophy beginners are recommended to take Reading Plato first.

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This course will likely run again in Spring 2024. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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LEARNING GREEK WITH PLATO

This course teaches the Ancient Greek language by studying the Attic dialect used by Plato in his dialogues the Meno

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This course will likely run again in 2024. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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THE SOCRATIC TURN IN PLATO’S PHAEDO: AN INTRODUCTION TO CLASSICAL PHILOSOPHY

This new course promises a rounded introduction to philosophy through a close reading of a Socratic speech in Plato’s Phaedo. We then consider criticism of the Socratic teaching by modern philosophers such as Russell, Popper, Descartes, and Heidegger.

  • Taught by Martin Black in collaboration with the Independent School of Philosophy.
  • Suitable for beginners and continuing students
  • Six weekly small-group sessions

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This course is not currently scheduled to run in 2024. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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READING PLOTINUS: AN INTRODUCTION TO NEO-PLATONISM

For many centuries after Plato there was a thriving Platonic tradition of which only textual fragments remain. But then from the 3rd century AD there emerged what is now called neo-Platonism. This involved expressions of a universial philosophy by sometimes encompassing Aristotelian and Stoic insights into a Platonic frame. One neo-Platonists most influential in the subsequent tradition of European mysticism was Plotinus. In this course we read from the Enneads, a surviving compilation of his writings made by a student, Porphyry.

  • Six weekly small-group sessions for continuing students
  • Not recommended for beginners: take Reading Plato first (or at the same time)
  • All readings from The Enneads (recommend edition)

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This course is not currently scheduled to run in 2024. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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TIMAEUS, CRITIAS & PHILEBUS

Timaeus is one of Plato’s later dialogues packed with interest at a variety of levels. It was most influencial for its account of the creation of our psycho-physical world by a demi-God. Packed into this story are lots of cryptic mathematical references to deciphered, including a first account of the Platonic solids and Plato’s advance on the Pythagorean theory of musical harmony. The narrative continues with the short and unfinished dialogue Critias, the singular source of the Atlantis myth. Philebus addresses the question of the good life and its relation to desire, pleasure, the life of science and our natural aspiration to the highest good.

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This course is not currently scheduled to run in 2024. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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PLATONISM & CHRISTIANITY

Discover just how much Plato and Platonism shaped Christian doctrine

  • Six weekly small-group sessions suitable for beginners
  • Some knowledge of Plato and/or Christianity recommended but not essential

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This course will run again in October 2024. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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THEAETETUS: ON KNOWLEDGE

What is it to know? …to know things? …to know ideas? Theaetetus is a lively and deceptively casual critical survey of the complete spectrum of answers to these questions.

  • Six weekly small-group online sessions for continuing students
  • Not for beginners: take Reading Plato first.

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This advanced course is not currently scheduled to run in 2024 and will only be run again subject to demand. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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THE SOPHIST: ANSWERING PARMENIDES

If anywhere Plato presents his mature philosophical view, it is surely in the Sophist. Watch how the epistemological conundrums of Theaetetus resolve into a fully rounded philosophy.

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This course will following the Theaetetus course and subject to demand. Contact us to register your interest or subscribe to the blog for updates.

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