A Day With Plato - Enquiry & Knowledge - Booking Closed

"The unexamined life is not worth living" are words spoken by Socrates at his trial where he describes his life of inquiry and his efforts to awaken his fellow citizens. In this Day with Plato, we will look at what Socrates what trying to awaken us to, how we may inquire and where that inquiry might lead. Is right opinion the best we can hope for or is true knowledge a possibility?


Date Sat 20th Nov 10:00 - 17:00
Location Online link will be provided prior to the first session., zoom

What to expect

There will be 3 talks on the topic with an opportunity for Q&A at the end of each talk as well as a opportunity to meet in smaller groups to read some related extracts from Plato.


10:00am - 11:00am - Lilly Corbett - Enquiry and Knowledge

“They are just like us….….such people would believe, without reservation that truth is nothing but the shadows of the artificial objects”. In his strange depiction of prisoners in a cave Socrates is alerting us to our own structures of though, unseen assumptions and ignorance which we think of as knowledge, and which imprison us in a way we do not even notice. Can Enquiry lead us out of this prison and what guidance can we take from the words and examples of Socrates and Plato.

11:30am - 12:30pm - Reading extracts in groups

02:30pm - 03:30pm - Dr Brendan O'Byrne - The knower and the known

What is the object of knowledge? Can the objects of sense experience be objects of knowledge or only opinion (doxa)? Do we the knower acquire knowledge through experience, or do we already have knowledge in the soul? What is the role of dialectic in recovering this knowledge which has been obscured by bodily experience? These questions are central to interpreting Plato’s greatest image, the plight of the Prisoners in the Cave.

04:00pm - 05:00pm - Dr Horan - How can philosophy help the world?

How can the world be changed for the better and what part can philosophy play in that process? People all over the world have various opinions on issues of significance and importance and such opinions influence how they see the world and how they see other people. In general, opinions on issues of significance remain broadly the same over considerable periods of time. If change for the better is to be brought about in the world, then opinions must, it seems, change or be changed. But Socrates said (Meno 98a) that opinion is not the same as knowledge and that knowledge is superior to opinion. What does this mean in practice? This lecture will use the abolition of the slave trade in the UK to explore the difference, in practice, between knowledge and opinion. We shall consider the dramatic events of those years and ask whether this was a mere change in opinion or the dawning of real knowledge and understanding.