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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plato's Academy features discussions of philosophical Subjects for Second Life Residents Ramon Federal Reporting...

Plato’s Academy provides a “down-to-earth” venue for the consideration of serious issues
Plato Greybeard and Violette McMinnar have created a site and a group called Plato’s Academy that provide Second Life residents with an unequaled opportunity for down-to-earth discussion of important philosophical subjects. You can find it at:

The group meets every other Sunday at 8 am SLT. The next meeting of the group will be on Sunday, May 29, 2011. The question to be discussed at that time will be “Equality: Fact or Fiction?”
The idea for the site and group came from Plato Greybeard, who joined Second Life about two-and-a-half years ago and decided that he wanted to create a place for the serious consideration of important issues from a philosophical perspective.
He told the SL Enquirer in an interview at his site that he was lucky to find Violette McMinnar, who was “totally important” in building the sim that houses the group and in doing the important and time-consuming administrative work that is essential to the smooth operation of the discussion group on an on-going basis.
Violette added that she is motivated to support the group because she “likes to hear others’ views.”
Previously-featured discussion topics have included “Mechanisms of Offensiveness,” “Limits of Free Will,” and “What is Truth?”

Plato’s Academy discussions usually have eight to ten participants and sometimes as many as 12 to 15. The discussions are conducted in voice, with everyone encouraged to comment in text if they prefer. They are moderated by Plato, who calls on people around the group to offer their observations on the subject under discussion. There are rules for “civil discourse” that everyone is urged to follow, to keep the discussion polite and productive.
Violette produces a notecard for each session with basic ideas about the topic to be discussed. Plato reads the notecard aloud at the start of the session to get the discussion going.
Here’s an excerpt from the notecard about the up-coming discussion about equality:
“Consider the relationship between equality and freedom. The exercise of pure freedom by some would mean restricting the economic or social freedom of others, thereby rendering them unequal. Power, strength and wealth would replace any semblance of equality. Therefore, equality is at risk and seriously compromised in a free society.”
The group is publicized through Search and visits to other philosophical groups, where announcements about Plato’s Academy events are made.
The purpose of the group, according to Plato, is “to give people a chance to express themselves, to have interchange with an intelligent way of discussion.”
Participants come from all over the world. The discussions are conducted in English. Sessions generally run about an hour-and-a-half.
The group seldom comes to a rigorously-defined answer to the question under discussion, since, as Plato says, “there is [often] no definitive answer to the questions we discuss.”
Plato’s motivation for organizing and running the group, he says, is that he feels “quite a sense of accomplishment, with Violette’s help,” from doing it. A discussion at Plato‘s Academy, he says, “never fails to stimulate my thinking. That’s enriching.” He adds, “It’s very rewarding that so many people come back” for multiple sessions.
Plato stresses that, unlike some philosophical groups that favor the exchange of erudite quotations from established thinkers, Plato’s Academy is more “practical and down-to-earth” and likes participants to be “thought-provoking in their own ways.”
For more about Plato’s Academy, go to its blog at or visit its Facebook page at:


  1. I think Plato's Academy is a brilliant addition to Second Life's Philosophical Community. His is the only other "First Person" Voice facilitated philosophical discussion venue other than my own Roadside Philosophers and I am delighted that we have worked to assist each other in open dialog for those that like to think out-of-the-box. Plato is a wonderful calming facilitator and him and Violet are brilliant in their research and opposing opinions. Definitely a wonder Sunday morning activity. Pamala Clift- The Roadside Philosopher


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