Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves. -Blaise Pascal
iSymposium 2016 Session, beginning in January 2016
What is Socratic Education? A journey through the shorter Platonic Dialogues
What is genuine education? What qualities of heart and mind does it require of both students and teachers? Even if you’ve never read Plato before, if you feel the sting of longing to learn and to keep challenging your mind far beyond the walls of conventional schooling, then this group might be for you. The spirit of this group is a lifelong interest in the meaning of genuine education. Instead of reading essays “about” education, we’ve set ourselves the task of investigating the matter itself by letting the fundamental problems and insights emerge from a careful reading and discussion of key Platonic texts.
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The meeting frequency for this iSymposium series is once a week. As long as there is a quorum of participants (depending on the size of the group), we will plan to meet each week. Each session is one hour and fifteen minutes. The session opens promptly with a fifteen minute reading of the text by participants, followed by an hour long discussion based on that selection. Because each meeting begins with a reading of the text, participants are free to prepare as much or as little as desired prior to meeting. For many participants, minimizing prep time is an advantage, considering the length of the series.
Meeting Day: The first seminar will be held Tuesday, January 5th. Thereafter, the seminars will continue to be on Tuesday at the group’s discretion.
Meeting Time: 8 Central (9 EST, 6 PST)
Meeting Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
We will follow the order of dialogues recommended by Christopher Bruell in his commentary On the Socratic Education (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999. ISBN 0-8576-9401-1):
Hipparchus (Session 1 and 2)*
Minos (Session 3 and 4)*
Students and Teachers
Alcibiades I (Sessions 5 and 6)*
Alcibiades II (Sessions 7 and 8)
Laches (Sessions 9 and 10)*
Euthydemus (Sessions 11 and 12)
Greater Hippias (Sessions 13 and 14)*
Lesser Hippias (Sessions 15 and 16)*
Theages (Sessions 17 and 18)*
The Life Itself
Euthyphro (Sessions 19 and 20)
Apology (Sessions 21 and 22)
Ion (Sessions 23 and 24) *
Meno (Sessions 25 and 26)
Cleitophon (Sessions 27 and 28)*
Menexenus (Sessions 29 and 30)
Crito (Sessions 31 and 32)
(The number of sessions for each dialogue in the above syllabus is an approximation. Depending on the needs of the group sessions will be added or subtracted.)
*Dialogues thus marked are contained in the following translation, recommended for 9 out of 16 dialogues: The Roots of Political Philosophy: Ten Forgotten Socratic Dialogues Thomas Pangle Cornell University Press; 1 edition (October 19, 1987)
iSymposium 2014-2015 Session: Plato’s “Laws”
Plato’s Laws, a great classic of political philosophy, is Plato’s last and longest work – spanning 12 books. It is the only dialogue which doesn’t feature Socrates. Three figures appear in the dialogue: The Athenian Stranger and two others – a Spartan citizen Megillos and the Cretan politician and lawgiver Clinias from Knossos. The Athenian Stranger joins the two men, who are making a pilgrimage from Knossos to the Cave of Zeus. The conversation takes place during this journey. The action of the dialogue is a mime of a journey made by Minos, the ancient law-giver of Crete: every nine years, Minos made the journey in order to receive instruction from Zeus on lawgiving. The aim of this iSymposium group is a careful and thoughtful reading of the text, meeting once a week beginning in February. Everyone is welcome – no prerequisites besides a love of good discussion and a desire to dig deep in the text. Click here for Amazon. Click here for Internet Classics Archive.
Joining Voices Across the Nation
iSymposium joins voices across the country in conversation about the most important questions.
Past seminars have included readings on law in times of public emergency, the problems of popular elections and laissez-faire economics, Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, and even Supreme Court Cases – for example, the recent ruling on the Affordable Care Act, as well as the landmark “Steel Seizure Case.” Authors from Sallust and Cicero, to Abraham Lincoln; Adam Smith and Karl Marx to Keynes and Hayek have been open for discussion and debate.
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Are iSymposium seminars webinars? No! And aren’t you so glad? iSymposium is a vastly different experience than what you get through mass internet based educational products. You will not be one out of nameless and faceless thousands listening and watching a single person talk on a youtube video. Our groups are small by choice, no more than ten or fifteen participants, lending a personal character to the conversational experience. Best of all, you will be able to participate freely and at will in the dialogue!
If you are wondering how this works, why not give it a try? Join our mailing list to receive free updates about the latest offerings!
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