Reading Plato: An Introduction to Philosophy

Reading and discuss the famous dialogues where Socrates stands accused of corrupting the youth of Athens.

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



Wednesday nights from 9 Sept 2020, 6:30 – 8pm (Eastern Australian time)
Online using ZOOM (during Covid-19 restrictions)


Course Outline

First Session    | Philosophy, Scepticism and Wisdom    | Apology page 20c to 23e

Convicted of corrupting the youth with impieties, Socrates’ trial defence is a classic of philosophical scepticism.
Why is scepticism preparatory to philosophical inquiry? What is meant by ‘divine wisdom’?

Second Session    | What is Justice?    | Euthyphro (complete)

Back before his trial, Socrates falls into discussion with his friend, a theologian, about the nature of ‘piety’. This marvellous (and infuriating!) demonstration of Socratic inquiry shifts to the grander question of ‘justice’.
We all know what justice means…or do we?

Third Session    | Body & Soul    | Phaedo page 60b to 69e 

It’s dawn in prison on Socrates’ last day and he is arguing that bodily emotions and senses distract from the absolute and insensible reality of justice, beauty, equality, etc. The ensuing arguments for the soul’s immortality informed Christianity on a topic found deficient in the Bible.
Why do true philosophers lose their fear of death?

Fourth Session    | Opposites and the other side of everything    | Phaedo page 70a to 79e

In continuing the argument for immortality, Socrates argues that all generation proceeds from opposite to opposites. Platonic opposites (pleasure/pain, equal/unequal, great/small) are complete unto themselves in their very opposition.
Can you think of some other Platonic opposites? In what sense are they boundless?

Fifth Session    | The absolute reality of the insensible ‘forms’    | Phaedo page 84c to 100a

As death approaches, Socrates is still defending his case for immortality when he introduces the doctrine that sensible realities come into being through their participation in their absolute forms.
Take ‘equality’ as such a form, where does it exist?

Sixth Session    | What is Platonism?    | Phaedo page 100c to 105e

The final winning argument for immortality may not win you, but attention is drawn towards the vision of reality known down through millennia as ‘Platonism’.
What is the Platonic vision of reality?


Spring class starts 9 September. Ensure your place by booking now.

For information about previous Platonic Academy activities see FaceBook.