THE SIXTH INTERNATIONAL PLATO SYMPOSIUM IN PRAGUE
focused on Plato’s Theaetetus
Since 1997, the Czech Plato Society (CPS) has been holding annually a conference on a particular Platonic dialogue. Every even year, the meeting brings together Czech scholars to discuss one of the “lesser” Platonic dialogues (the Meno in 1998, the Lysis in 2000, the Hippias Minor in 2002, the Charmides in 2004, and the Euthydemus in 2006). Every odd year, a larger conference on one of the more significant Platonic dialogues takes place with participation of experts from all over the world (the Republic and the Laws in 1997, the Phaedo in 1999, the Protagoras in 2001, the Parmenides in 2003, and the Symposium in 2005). All papers are subsequently collected in a proceedings volume and published by OIKOYMENH Publishers.
The symposia take place in the representative Villa Llana, belonging to the Czech Academy of Sciences and is situated in the Prague diplomatic residence area. The participants form a sort of community and spend their time together in a beautiful historical environment. Perhaps it is this pleasant atmosphere of a relatively small conference that has made the Prague symposia popular among many distinguished Plato scholars, such as L. Brisson, Th. Ebert, F. Lisi, D. O’Brien, Th. Robinson, C. Rowe or Th. A. Szlezák.
The last international conference held by the CPS took place on October 17-20, 2007 and was focused on Plato’s Theaetetus. The conference was launched by a brief introduction by the chairman of the CPS, A. Havlíček. During the subsequent four days, fifteen researchers tried to tackle the difficult text: Th. A. Szlezák and L. Brisson on Wednesday, O. Primavesi, A. Balansard, T. Chappell, F. Lisi and F. Trabattoni on Thursday; D. O ́Brien, F., Ferrari, L. Bene, M. Narcy and Š. Špinka on Friday; I. Bárányi, D. Sedley and I. Chvatík on Saturday. Sunday was, as usual, dedicated to sightseeing.
Besides common meals and a reception in the villa, all participants – including some auditors – went twice for dinner at Prague restaurants. Such an informal meeting not only deepened the sense of cooperation among the participants, but also provided them with an opportunity to talk informally to Czech students, which enabled them to experience the Czech university atmosphere.
The conference significantly improved the international acceptance of the CPS, as it has just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. As A. Havlíček had decided that after so many years as chairman of the CPS, it was an appropriate moment to step down, the regular meeting of the CPS has voted F. Karfík into his place. In another vote, the topic of the next symposium, to be held in 2009, was decided to be the Sophist. In 2008, the Czech conference on the dialogue Alcibiades I will take place.
For up-to-date information see <www.platonskaspolecnost.cz>.