Lecture Seven

January 9th, 2011

Philosophy and Certainty

by David Horan

This lecture focused on why philosophers so seldom agree with one another.

If they are all searching for the truth, why do they not reach an absolute truth where dispute ends and harmony of thought and opinion reigns?

The great philosophic issues have been debated and pronounced upon for thousands of years but the pronouncements all differ and the debate rages on, while non-philosophers lose interest or develop an inevitable scepticism.

This lecture featured a re-enactment of a famous live philosophic debate, which was recorded for radio in the 1940s, to focus our discussion on the search for truth and the question of why it leads to controversy and disagreement.

After the lecture, there was further discussion to explore the philosophic questions, such as:

  • How do we ourselves approach these questions?
  • Can our search for truth be fulfilled?
  • What must change if our search for truth is to be fulfilled?

David Horan presented From Heaven to Earth: Plato's Philosophy and the World We Live In in 2009, Plato's Five Forms of Government in 2010, and this next lecture proves to be just as insightful, engaging and challenging!

About the Presenter

David Horan is a senior member of the Dublin School of Philosophy, and, in conjunction with the Dublin School of Philosophy and the Irish universities, he has organized the public "Day With Plato" event for the past 21 years, introducing thousands of people to the works of Plato. He has produced dramatisations of the dialogues of Plato each year for this event and more recently has produced three film versions of Plato's dialogues. He has run Plato Study Weeks since 2004 with the Dublin School in Ireland and in Italy and has facilitated four Plato Summer Schools in Melbourne. He has lectured extensively on the dialogues of Plato and has conducted study days and weekends on Plato in England and Holland. With his wife Frances he has been conducting group tours to Greece for 12 years, combining the study of Plato with visits to the sites of the ancient world. This year he led a two-week seminar on Plato's Timaeus at the European Cultural Centre in Delphi, Greece.

David is currently producing a new translation of the entire dialogues of Plato—a substantial project that began in 2008 and will run for some 10 years. Apart from the translation work, his current research interest is self-knowledge in the dialogues of Plato. This work is being conducted at the Centre for the Study of the Platonic Tradition in Trinity College, Dublin.

During his 2009-10 and 2010-11 visits to Australia, David conducted Plato Summer Schools in Melbourne and has been invited to facilitate events in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Wellington and Auckland.

David Horan