The Foundation for Platonic Studies
About the Foundation
The Foundation for Platonic Studies promotes the study of the writings of Plato and other philosophers in the Platonic Tradition and fosters a greater awareness of their relevance to the challenges of the modern world. We assist individuals and organisations to conduct research, provide education, publish articles, books and films, and organise seminars and conferences and other activities. We are registered as a charity in Ireland, with a worldwide remit.
John Dillon, MRIA,FBA, Regius Professor of Greek (Emeritus), Trinity College Dublin, a world authority on the later Platonists, serves as our Patron.
Our values flow from the four Platonic Virtues; accordingly, we aspire to be guided in all we do by wisdom, sound mindedness, justice, and courage. We look to:
- wisdom to guide us to make decisions with a view to what is best for all concerned, putting aside limited or short-term considerations in favour of universal ones;
- sound mindedness to ensure that our decisions are not distorted by personal and/or partial considerations;
- justice to help us hold to our objectives, be clear about these and avoid being drawn into activities not aligned with them;
- courage to hold to our objectives and see our undertakings through to completion no matter what challenges we face or what opposition we encounter.
The Platonic Tradition
In the works of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato (428 – 348 BCE), we all have a rich philosophical inheritance. The Academy founded by Plato lasted over 900 years. The ‘Platonic Tradition’ includes not only the works of Plato, but the works of the great thinkers who lived before and after Plato: these include Parmenides, Heraclitus, and other so-called Pre-Socratics, as well as Plato’s student, Aristotle, the second century AD figure, Plotinus and the Renaissance philosopher and translator Marsilio Ficino.
The Needs of Our Time
Today, as much as ever, we need the wisdom, humanity and practical guidance of Plato and the Platonic Tradition, whether we are engaging in the art of dialogue and rational debate, seeking to be wise and just in our dealings with each other or wishing to understand the elements of a well governed society.
The study of Plato in educational institutions is in decline, along with the study of Ancient Greek, and there is little awareness of the relevance of the Platonic Tradition to the challenges we face today. This is despite its profound and far-reaching influence on our way of thinking.
The Foundation is committed to supporting those who undertake research, scholarship and education in this field, particularly the next generation of scholars and researchers, and to work with them to make known the importance of this work to the wider public.
Projects Supported by the Foundation
Since it was established, the Foundation has provided financial support to a variety of projects.
A new translation of the complete works of Plato
Dr David Horan has been working for 13 years on a new translation of the complete works of Plato from the original Greek into English. His work is almost done. This is a remarkable achievement. Not since the great undertaking of Benjamin Jowett in the late nineteenth century has anyone taken on the challenge of translating the whole of Plato’s writings single-handed into English.
This is a consistent modern translation which is true to the original and yet in a readable style. The Foundation has agreed to fund the publication of this translation at an affordable price for use by scholars and the general public alike. This is expected to be available early in 2024.
Free online access to the complete works of Plato
For the first time ever, the complete works of Plato, as translated by Dr David Horan, are freely available online to everyone in the world on The Foundation’s website: platonicfoundation.org. This is an invaluable resource and access to the complete works of Plato has never been easier. In time, and funding permitting, the website will be expanded to include guides and general resource materials to assist those interested in this area of study.
Academic teaching and research
Today, funding for academic teaching and research related to the Platonic Tradition is limited, which causes many scholars, students and researchers to become discouraged and leave for other fields. Such tenured positions as do exist are disappearing. Those with a keen and active interest in the subject must often survive on a series of short-term grants, fellowships, and bursaries. We wish to support those studying in this area or contemplating doing so. We have already funded several PHD students and a post-doctoral researcher in ancient philosophy.
Teaching ancient Greek in schools
Looking to the future, to sustain scholarship in the Platonic Tradition, it is vital that schools continue to educate students to be proficient in Ancient Greek. In the UK, we have begun to work with the English charity known as Classics for All, which has been very successful in introducing the study of Latin and Ancient Greek and classical studies into state schools.
Seminars and conferences
The Foundation has helped finance several seminars on Ancient Philosophy. Philosophic discussion, enquiry and debate are at the heart of the Platonic Tradition. We are keen to support other seminars and events for academics and the wider public in this area.
Dramatisation of Plato’s works
The Foundation has supported the dramatisation of several of Plato’s dialogues. These dialogues are wonderful works of literature and naturally lend themselves to being presented on stage or in film in a dramatic form. This can be an effective way of introducing Plato’s works to a wider audience.
Creating a record of ‘the greats’
The Platonic Tradition has been served by some extraordinary men and women over the last half century who, through their work and teaching, have inspired many of today’s scholars. We intend to produce a series of recorded interviews with some of these figures as a way of honouring them and their work and as an inspiration for future generations.
How You Can Help
There are several ways you can support the work of the Foundation.
We are grateful for the many donations received to date in support of these projects. But there is so much more to do. For this work to flourish, we need your generous support. To donate to the Foundation, please visit the Support the Project page of our website.
We are a charity and much of our work is done by volunteers. If you would like to offer your services to the Foundation, in any capacity at all, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any ideas for projects relating to the Platonic Tradition, and are looking for support, tell us about them and we will see if we can help you.