Lecture Twelve

January 5th, 2015

Socrates

The Conscience of the West

by David Horan

Socrates was a man who claimed to know nothing whatsoever. He was no respecter of persons, and was regarded as a nuisance and a destabilising influence by many. He was executed on criminal charges some 2,400 years ago.

Yet, despite the fact that he left no written works behind him, the name ‘Socrates’ still resonates in western consciousness, and his words—imparted by others—are always powerful and transformative.

Socrates asked difficult questions—questions people did not want to face; and yet, he was convinced that only through philosophic enquiry—rightly pursued—could people live happy and fulfilled lives, and societies escape endless woes.

Conscience is a voice within us that we can listen to or ignore. This lecture explored these key questions:

  • Why is Socrates so influential?
  • What is the voice of Socrates saying to the world today?
  • How can we truly heed his message?
  • How can the world continue to be inspired by Socrates, to face the questions we really need to face?

The evening’s enquiry was chaired by the internationally acclaimed scholar and translator Dr David Horan.

About the Presenter

David Horan is a senior member of the Dublin School of Philosophy and in conjunction with Irish universities he has organized the public “Day With Plato” event since 1987, introducing thousands to the works of Plato.

He has produced film versions of three of Plato’s dialogues and live dramatisations of numerous others. David has run Plato Study Weeks since 2004 in Ireland, Italy and Melbourne and has lectured extensively on the dialogues in England, Holland, New York and Johannesburg.

He has been conducting group tours to Greece since 1996, combining the study of Plato with visits to the sites of the ancient world. He has led three 2 week seminars on various dialogues in Delphi, Greece.

He is currently producing a new translation of the Complete Dialogues of Plato. This work is being undertaken at the Centre for the Study of the Platonic Tradition in Trinity College, Dublin.

Past Feedback

“I really enjoyed the style of the presenter, easy to listen to with clear diction.”

“I was invigorated, stimulated and it re-ignited a desire to pursue, to enquire further.”

David Horan