Olympians of the Mind

The 8th Annual Philosophy Nights Series

In anticipation and parallel to the forthcoming Olympic Games in Athens, the 2004 Philosophy Nights series, Olympians of the Mind, will celebrate another equally important achievement and contribution of the Greeks to Western Civilisation: that of philosophy. Just as men and women across the globe can train their bodies to excel in sport and athletics, philosophy can also enable us to train our minds to excel in virtue and a philosophical way of life, which for the Greek philosophers of antiquity is essential for a happy and peaceful life - a life of eudemonia and ataraxia.

This series follows previous series of presenting philosophy not merely as an intellectual pastime pursued for its own sake and devoid of any practical application and relevance but as a Way of Life that can help us to live happier and more meaningful lives. In keeping with the Hellenistic style of philosophy as inspired by Socrates and later developed by the Stoics and the Epicureans, philosophy is valuable if it can help improve our lives and create a more harmonious and enlightened social and cultural environment both for the individual and the state.

In this vein, the series begins with Socrates, Our True Olympian. Based on Plato's Apology, this presentation will seek to demonstrate the universally acknowledged great contribution to philosophy by Socrates and the ongoing significance and relevance of his philosophy as a way of living the good life, for the 21st century.

As the cultivation of virtue was considered the essential ingredient for a happy life by all Greek philosophers, Aristotle's Philosophy of Virtue will examine Aristotle's highly developed model of the virtues, one that continues to enjoy enormous influence. Virtue Ethics, as it is referred to by contemporary philosophers, is one of the most dominant ethical models in contemporary moral and applied philosophy.

No discussion and examination of Philosophy as Away of Life would be complete without an examination and discussion of Stoic philosophy, the rightful heir of Socratic philosophy. Inspired by Socrates' dictum, "the unexamined life is not worth living", Stoic philosophy, both Greek and Roman, laid the foundation for a practical philosophy of life that is designed to produce peace and happiness for its practitioner. As a cosmopolitan philosophy that recognises that all human beings are cosmopolites, citizens of one world, Stoic philosophy stresses the fundamental moral worth of all persons irrespective of their religious, national, racial, social, and gender status. Inspired by a monistic pantheism that conceives the entire universe as divinely rational and orderly and thus identical with God, Stoicism views all human beings as intrinsically related through a common divine bond that provides humanity with a kinship based on a shared rationality and divinity. Epictetus, The Philosophy of Freedom will examine the continuing significance and relevance of stoic philosophy for the 21st century. As the practical philosophy of everyday living par excellence, stoic philosophy is a transformative philosophy of happiness and tranquillity second to none. Its central message is that our own happiness is entirely within our control.

The popular format continues a short philosophical presentation on a particular theme by a philosopher. This is followed by a dramatic presentation of the concept in a play performed by actors. The third component is audience participation where the audience can question and discuss the ideas. All this occurs in the surrounds of a Greek Taverna with good Greek food and wine.

Dr Edward Spence Creator and Producer 
The Philosophy Plays Project 




Steki Taverna 
2 O'Connell Street, Newtown


June 10th 
Aristotle: The Philosophy of Virtue Steve Curry - Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics 

July 15th 
Epictetus: The Philosophy of Freedom Edward Spence - Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics 

August 12th Empidocles: Love and Strife John Sutton - Macquarie University


Bookings essential - 95162191

includes a Greek banquet and performance
Cost $35

Copyright GOC 2004