The Foundation for Platonic Studies
The purpose of the Foundation is, primarily, to support the study of the Platonic Tradition: a subject that has had a profound and far-reaching influence on the development of human thought and has substantially shaped our understanding of the world. Although this tradition, as the name implies, centres upon the work of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato (428 – 348 BCE), the study of the tradition typically includes philosophers who lived before and after Plato: these include Parmenides, Heraclitus, and other so-called Pre-Socratics, as well as Plato’s student and sometime critic Aristotle, the second century AD figure, Plotinus and the renaissance philosopher and translator Marsilio Ficino. Unfortunately, despite the crucial role this tradition has played in shaping our thinking, even up to the modern day, there is nowadays less and less study of it in educational institutions.
With respect to this deficiency, there are currently two important needs: The first is that those who are involved in this field of study as scholars, researchers, and/or students, are supported financially, so that they are able to continue their work; the second is that the works of Plato be freely available to the general public in a readable format in a consistent modern English translation, thus helping to ensure that the works of Plato, the central figure of this tradition, whose dialogues are, for the most part, highly readable, are readily accessible to anyone who wishes to study them.
In view of these needs, the Foundation confers a clear public benefit by meeting both of them. Firstly, we are committed to supporting research, study and scholarship in the Platonic Tradition by providing direct support to students, scholars, and researchers who are working in this area. This helps to ensure that educators are encouraged to continue working in this vital and vibrant field and are, in turn, able to educate the next generation of scholars and researchers. In general, funding for research and study in this area is, with some notable exceptions, limited, which causes many students and researchers to become discouraged and leave for other fields. There are very few tenured third level positions available in Platonic Studies and this number is reducing rather than increasing. Those with a keen and active interest in the subject must often survive on a series of short-term grants, fellowships, and bursaries. The Foundation, therefore, provides additional assistance to them. Without such encouragement and support to those who wish to devote their lives to this work, the study of the Platonic Tradition will continue to fade. Supporting the study of this tradition is therefore a significant public benefit.
The second aspect of the public benefit conferred by the work of the Foundation is at an advanced stage and will be a very significant focus of that work until 2023. Since 2008 Dr David Horan has been engaged in translating the complete works of Plato from the original Greek into English. This is the first time that the entire corpus has been translated into English by a single hand since the task was completed by the English scholar Benjamin Jowett in the late 19th century. Although the various dialogues of Plato have been translated, individually, into English many times in the intervening years, the translator has generally been different for each dialogue. Because of this, these collections of translations lack a consistency of approach and treatment. As this 13-year translation project nears completion, Dr Horan, in support of the overall aims of the Foundation, wishes to make the fruits of those years of endeavour available online free of charge to scholars and to the general public on an entirely open and unrestricted basis, seeking no financial return for the promulgation of his translations. Over the past years, the Foundation has been funding the services of two researchers to assist Dr Horan with this translation project..
Now that this new translation has been made freely available on this website, a three-year revision project has commenced. Once a thorough revision process has been completed a printed edition of the translation will be published. The Foundation will, as required, fund the revision process and the ultimate publication of these translations.
Funding for the work of the Foundation comes mainly from private individuals who are inspired by its mission, and by the projects that are currently being supported. The Foundation is a charity registered with the Charities Regulatory Authority of Ireland: Registered Charity Number (RCN) 20206186.