P H I L O S O P H Y P A T H W A Y S ISSN 2043-0728
Issue number 68
5th October 2003
I. 'Dehumanisation of Humanity: Capitalist Period -- Colonisation'
by Munayem Mayenin
II. 'More in the On-Going Discussion of Social Contracts: Reply to
Tony Flood' by Stuart Burns
III. 'Abolition versus Redistribution: A Summary Reply to Stuart Burns'
by Tony Flood
The launch of the new Pathways electronic newsletter is just one month away.
The title of the newsletter will be 'Philosophy for Business'. Themes will
Is business ethics possible?
Idea of a code of conduct
Responsibility for the environment
Globalization and monopoly
* Whistle blowing
Just in time to prick our consciences, Munayem Mayenin from Bangladesh in a
deeply felt piece reminds us of the human misery brought about by the
Stuart Burns and Anthony Flood conclude their long discussion prompted by
Professor Jonathan Wolff's article, 'Four Forms of Redistribution'.
I. 'DEHUMANISATION OF HUMANITY: CAPITALIST PERIOD -- COLONISATION'
BY MUNAYMEM MAYENIN
Capitalism! Oh capitalism! Money! Oh money! The God, the goddesses and gods of
the modern world is nothing but money! And finally we made it our living and
mission to play this monopoly game, but this is not on the board but in real
life! Instead of living a life, leading a life, breathing life we have been
made Normals so that we measure our lives "with a coffee spoon" -- such a
trifling and flimsy thing our lives have become! Capitalism made us sing and
live by the divine rule: "value for the money". The capitalist society has
trained us to believe and trust and act that everything has a price which can
be bargained and nothing has value at all except money! We waste our whole life
to earn money! No one in their right mind spends their whole life playing
monopoly games on the board buying and selling Baker Street properties or the
Old Kent Road shop or paper money, yet we all are doing the very same thing
with all our life and energy. But the question is for what? Money! What is
money! Why is money! Who is it for! Everybody wants this thing, however, nobody
stands and asks, does anybody really need money?
The couple are now awaiting the call of the final inspector at their home but
they spent and suffered and have not at all lived for buying their house, the
house, which was X Pounds and they paid it back in 35 years with an interest of
50 times X! And guess what happened: they even did not know this simple fact
that still they did not own that house. Until the last day the house belonged
to the bank and all along it was the property of the crown! However, the crown
has given permission to the people, who need to make money to make money by
giving out a mortgage on that property. Here we go again! Making money! But
that elderly couple! Go to them and they would not have any of it! They were
virtually slaves of the Bank for all their life. After paying the mortgage they
had hardly any other money left to enjoy life! They did not put on their heating
properly and stayed in cold! They did not take baths properly in order to save
on water bills. They did not buy good clothes or even good food. They tried to
eat cheap food with less quality! They were mean and acted and behaved meanly
with their family, friends and neighbours because of money! They lived and
aspired to be selfish! They wanted to go and see a musical or go on holiday or
eat out at a fancy restaurant sometimes. They did none of it! However, they
paid bills. All their lives they continued like good boys and girls to pay
their bills on time as they did not want to have bad credit history! Now where
is the life for them! Where is humanity in it! What is natural about this! That
applies to every single one of us!
Let us look, see, feel, taste, hear and touch capitalism and try to understand
it and establish how it has effectively put up all sort of barriers to human
progress in every possible sense of the word!
Feudal society was based on power and as it continued expanding its power base
and culture, things moved so fast and deep that it could not cope with the
system and structure it developed. Its own success brought about its obvious
end. When feudal society became colonial in nature and went out to get the
world out there and acquire all the land there was to acquire and all the
slaves to be tied to land as an extended part of it and still unable to touch
the land in any way, they began to find out that it was not just the land that
could get them power! There were other things that would bring them more money
and there came trade, commerce and business. That is where it began to shape
up. More looting of wealth took place of colonial countries coupled with taxes
from land and other ways and means. The more money and wealth came back to the
mother country, the faster the change began to take place. After all, all the
colonialist big names and boys went out to get access to wealth and power
because of the fact that they had not been able to get it back home. They went
about seeking their fortunes! And once those fortune seekers had got hold of
the fortunes they were not going to enjoy it over there! There would not have
been much fun in doing that unless you have shown to the folks back home that
you had made it and that you are as powerful as them and you would want to be
included in the power club. Moreover, it was time to turn the table and get
ahead in the game, as the Powerfuls back home could not compete against you as
you found out about the land of silver or the valley of gold or the country of
liquid gold or the land of diamond and spices etc etc.
Now wealth and money poured into the mother country and we see that what
happened in European countries in those days was that Capitalism had got hold
of its first capital enhanced. The robbery of own nationals created capital but
not yet enough to create a structural change However, soon the money started to
roll in from the colonies -- a huge lot of money and the outlook was more than
promising of it increasing and continuing. Colonisation ensured that the
capital is now big enough to start a revolution of industry, trade and
commerce. The whole industrial revolution the way we are taught is nothing but
a period of the capital of colonisation being invested to establish the
infrastructure of the social, political and economic system to sustain the
capitalist expansion and establish and take power to such a point of
sophistication that power and the exercise of it reaches almost an art form.
Whatever little humanity still remained in society as a die hard residue,
capitalism declared public genocide towards. Having completed the industrial
revolution and the necessary other relevant changes, power had been made the
monarch well or more than well established on his throne, although the power
players and the Powerfuls had to be renamed or rearranged so that the balance
was still in favour of the Powerfuls and the maintenance of power.
If one looks at various European countries one cannot help but notice that the
countries with most established feudal system went outwards and tried to
colonise other parts of the world and establish colonies. Britain, France,
Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal etc. -- every country tried their hands on
colonisation. However, the rate and degree of success depended on how advanced
their existing system was and how effective, efficient and resilient it was in
terms of being able to implement, enhance, maintain and support rapid change in
order to support the colonisation forces abroad. The British went all the way so
they could declare that the sun does not set in their empire. It did not because
Britain could do the things just mentioned better than any other competitors in
the game. However, although all the players acted individually having their own
best interests at heart, they did not forget to follow the big brother rules
that adhere to the NATO principle that says basically if one is down everyone
must act in support of the them! They maintained that to the best of their
ability. They never liked this sort of exercise, they hated it and all
Powerfuls hate it even more so now. Regardless, they had to in order to
maintain, gain and keep order and control.
The so-called Renaissance had a big impetus this colonisation process. The
renaissance began the process of learning and acquiring new areas of knowledge
and skills that were to come handy in going out on expedition to grab lands.
Because of that they needed science, they needed technology and technical
ability and expertise and they needed mathematics. They needed to understand
and be able to deal with a lot of difficult and dangerous issues that would
come before them.
They needed to be able to make and read maps, navigate ships, work and remain
healthy in sea voyages, learn different languages, build huge ships and other
materials and so on an so forth. In effect the colonisation process is the
biggest ever capitalist project, that came out of feudal system but gave birth
to capitalism. One could almost feel tempted to say the colonisation process
was the cocoon that gave birth to a monsterfly. And the system then had to
develop and support that monsterfly to stay alive and healthy, grow and
reproduce fast and effectively. This was not going to lay eggs but spread
golden silk, diamond emerald and golden eggs for the Powerfuls.
Let us concentrate on changes it brought about in the political, economic and
social structures of society. It brought about a system of society that was
completely and utterly based on money. Wealth was power. Anything and
everything that could be transformed into commodities that could be sold and
made a profit becomes wealth and measured in money, which in turn acts as the
barometer of power identifying the perimeter of status.
Thus the divine principle of capitalism was that anything and everything in
this universe could be sold and made a profit out of and if that was the case
then one can own it.
Capitalism thus established itself on the foundation of power, which nourishes
itself on owning, winning, pride, hatred, resentment, fear and competition, all
of which are and can be measured in money. This is the capitalism's Bible, which
would start as saying: Anything and everything in this universe is hereby
proclaimed to be owned, bought and sold for making a profit in the measure of
Colonisation is the period of metamorphosis of feudalism, in which the beast of
power went out to become reborn in a totally new shape without losing its
fundamental nature, born again to be called capitalism. It needed the money,
the power to begin the industrial revolution in order to restructure the
systems and apparatus to establish even wider, deeper, broader and
sophisticated dominance, control and ruthless dehumanisation of humanity.
This period must be understood in this light. Look at the European countries
and one would be able to see clearly how France, Germany, Italy, Britain and
other countries got their infrastructures built and paid for by the wealth and
money generated by legal, illegal and paralegal ways and means. Look at British
cities, the roads, the highways, the waterways, the industries, the buildings
and whole economic, political and social structures were built so enormously
with such grandeur! Where did that money come from! Why do we not build
buildings like that any more! Why do we see the millennium dome being built in
tarpaulin and not like the Greenwich Maritime Museum or Tower of London? Why do
we not build anything like the city of London anymore? Why do we have idiotic,
doll-house like cheap buildings that look naked and bare, like London's Canary
Wharf and other ugly looking glass buildings! Because we have no majestic
colonial income coming in! At the same time we no longer have the feudal
aesthetic sense towards arts. We cannot do things without money being the
driving force. We have to now build depending on how much tax we are prepared
to pay after paying all the bills! That is why we do not and cannot build those
wonderful big buildings, like the House of Commons! That applies to all the
major capitalist countries!
Without colonial expansion from the feudal time we would have no industrial
revolution and without the revolution we would have no capitalism. Although we
are using the term revolution this must be made clear that it was in no way a
revolution as we do not think that it had changed the nature of society
fundamentally. How is so? Because it was not about eliminating power and
establishing a state of liberty or anything near to that, rather it was about
enhancing the power structures and upgrading it. Thus in real sense of the word
it was not and could not have been a revolution. We are using the term as this
has been widely used and understood en masse. Thus we must conclude that the
industrial revolution prepared the feudal world to wake up for capitalism and
prepared the values, systems, apparatus and infrastructures for capitalism to
begin pounding on humanity and begin a continuous, sustained and monstrous
process of dehumanisation of humanity.
Capitalism was about to lift off! It was about to declare the authority and
reach of power not just over humans and lands but to extend it even to space.
The whole universe was to be of something that can be controlled and made a
commodity, out of which more money and thus power can and will be generated.
Now we must look at what this means for people and the society as a whole!
Capitalism's driving force was to make money and that means there were no
boundaries of values. Make money and make a profit because only these two
things will get you power and ability to manipulate. Capitalism thus fostered
and nurtured a monsterfly in all aspiring bourgeoisie who were out to get more
money! Huge projects began to take place, huge industries were making the sky
black and towers and more towers began to cover the horizon. People had been
physically uprooted from their communities, societies, environment, families,
friends, villages, identities and even memories because they could not eat
unless they go out to the huge cities and sell themselves and begin to work.
That process, for the first time with complete precision and certainty
effectively eliminated, uprooted, and disconnected humans from whatever was
remaining in them to be humans! They rushed to the brick built cities with
smoke and fumes and tars and alcohol! Society in real terms began to die,
communities began to dry up, localities and human relationships begin to die
away! Friendships, family values, sense of brotherhood and community began to
In the cities, people were nothing but exploited workers, slaves for a wage!
They are not related! They did not know each other! They lived in brick
beehives, next to each other without knowing each other! They were put in
accommodation that was suitable for rats or cockroaches! It was as if on this
earth there was no space! That was why they built thousands of tiny flats and
made millions of souls live together whilst they could not be farther apart!
They just slept there! They had no feelings or connection to the people
sleeping in other brick boxes! Capitalism had to do that because it wanted to
declassify humans, dehumanise humans so that no two humans are the same!
Individualism ensured that everyone hates each other and everyone has a reason
not to feel connected or associated to anybody else! They go to work and work
they did together, but that was what they had to do! They got paid and they had
to go and get drunk! How could they not do that! They had no home! They had no
families! They had no nature or environment! They had no society! They had no
communities! They did not know the place they live in and there were no
incentives for them to feel inclined to try and get to know this place!
Capitalism had to do that! It needed people and a lot of them together to make
things, manufacture things so that they are commodities and then only then
these could be sold! Most importantly that was cheaper! That was value for
money! Put millions of people in a tiny place like London and you save billions
of pounds! You can build few hospitals and still have all these people queuing
at these hospitals! You can do things much cheaper! Moreover, it would cost you
less in transporting them quickly and effectively and you can get everybody to
work right in time!
That created the huge capitalist cities that are nothing but soulless brick
jungles with dehumanised humans occupying the beehives and living a hell of a
life! They are nothing but slaves! They are scared and terrified! They are
tired and exhausted! They are ill and depressed and mentally ill! And yet they
are utterly selfish in their thinking, as they can not be otherwise! In this
system you must try your best to look after yourselves, as if you do not you
This is ruthless capitalism. It created dehumanised humans! It created isolated
and absolutely rootless humans! They had no connection with anything or anybody!
They had families with them, who were uprooted and every single member of it was
bleeding! Every singe human being was bleeding inside, they were utterly lost
and vulnerable! They were no longer human! They could not share that with
anybody! That was why they were very secretive. That was why they hang onto
individualism too much even though it was killing them! Capitalism yet created
for these humans privacy and confidentiality! Keep things to yourselves!
Moreover, no one would like to show anyone if they were bleeding inside!
But they feel hatred, resentment, sense of powerlessness and a sense of
purposelessness! They live in nostalgia for their lost village and their lost
communities and their relationships with their neighbours and environment!
People and animals! Nothing is anything anymore!
However, there was a pseudo unity between all these people who were working
together in factories and industries. But they were not the same! Just because
they were working at the same place with the same job did not mean that they
understood that they were in the same class!
Coming back to structures, the systems and apparatus which capitalism had to
create in order to establish power and order must be understood in their
awesome magnitude and scopes. Everything was made almost like a huge living
organism. The state was now the unquestionable legislator, even though the
monarchs retained their place in some countries. The politicians came from the
Powerfuls! The Government was there to ensure that laws are passed and then
enforced. The police came in, much more organised and sophisticated. The army,
the navy, the air force and the rest followed suit. The legal system, the
courts and lawyers and the churches, temples and mosques all were there. The
administration was up both in civil and military. Schools, colleges and
universities too! Most importantly, the alcohol and the drugs!
The banks, the insurers, the stock exchange and the lot were in place. Nothing
could be left to chance! The stakes were so high, all reasonable steps must be
taken to ensure that order is not violated, the power base was not disturbed!
Everything was planned and then it went out to the market and human slaves were
then forced to swallow all this so that no one was able to question anything!
Why did anybody ever need a passport? Why did anybody need money? Why were
people still dying in hunger? Why were people still illiterate? Why did people
sleep rough and why did they not have a place to live? Why were people dying
without medical care? No one was able to ask these questions. Slaves do not and
cannot ask questions!
In this pathway of dehumanisation people became lost. Money became the God and
profit was the end game!
That was the heyday of capitalism. It had got all it needed to take off! It had
absolutely everything in place to begin the reign of sophisticated terror,
systematic and ruthless slaughter and continuous and monstrous centralisation
of power and wealth and absolute dehumanisation of humanity.
Anything human would be challenged. It will not allow or tolerate any seed of
disapproval. The universities tried to retain their academic character, which
it did not at all like! It carried on trying and who has got the better hand
than capitalism itself! It has got money! Education became eventually nothing
but training. Train people to be able to do the tasks that the market needs. Do
not train what the market does not needs. Do not train more doctors, as they do
not produce money rather waste! Do not produce philosophers or teachers! Who
needs them! Do produce Einstein if he can make us money!
(c) Munayem Mayenin, London 2003
[This article is a continuation of Munayem Mayenin's 'Dehumanisation of
Humanity: Zero Ground', Philosophy Pathways Issue 35; 'Dehumanisation of
Humanity: Slavery', Issue 45; 'Dehumanisation of Humanity: Feudal Period',
II. 'MORE IN THE ON-GOING DISCUSSION OF SOCIAL CONTRACTS: REPLY TO TONY FLOOD'
BY STUART BURNS
As with the previous articles by Mr. Flood, I find that I am in full agreement
with the essential principles that he presents. Although I enjoy picking
through the details of his argument, I completely agree with his underlying
foundation. I especially liked his lines -- "Morality is a means to the end of
enabling us all to pursue good lives. A society in which some people trample
with impunity on the good life-seeking efforts of others is one that diminishes
the prospects of good life-achieving for all."
What disagreements we do have, it would seem to me, arise from differences in
the basic premises with which we approach the topics under discussion.
For example, consider Prof. Wolff's article and the subject of
"Redistribution". Mr. Flood approaches his comments with the presupposition
that when Prof. Wolff or I employ the word "redistribution", we are
contemplating all of the political baggage that Mr. Flood invests in the word
(the necessarily coercive source of the funds being disbursed). Since
"redistribution" is not in my dictionary, I can only assume that the larger
scope of the concept employed by Mr. Flood must have arisen as a result of his
greater familiarity with the "Redistributionist" political movement. In
contrast, I approached my comments from my understanding of what Prof. Wolff
wrote in his article. Prof. Wolff's article is concerned with a discussion of
the social impacts of the "distribution"(sic) of funds obtained by unspecified
means. I considered the problem to be the same as one faced by the managers of
"The United Way" (a fully charitable source of funds). Hence our disagreement
on this topic is more apparent than real.
I think something similar is taking place in the discussion that has evolved
over "Social Contracts", the role of the State, and its similarity to a Condo
Board. Mr. Flood approaches his comments with the presupposition that there is
and can be no such thing as a "social contract". Given that premise, his
arguments are well formulated and I see no flaw in them. If we start with this
premise, to use the term "social contract" for what is not possible by
presupposition (an implied social contract) is an obvious equivocation on the
concept "contract". And given this premise, it is obvious that our elected
legislators and their agents cannot, by presupposition, have any similarity in
social function to a Condo Board.
I am not challenging Mr. Flood's analysis of the role of ownership, property,
coercion, or the immoral position of The State when viewed from this premise.
Given this key premise, I am not even disputing his criticisms of my analogies
with a Condo Board. Nor am I flatly maintaining that there must be a "social
contract". I am merely challenging Mr. Flood on his presumption that there is
no (or cannot possibly be) a "social contract" in place. The argument that I
find "unpersuasive" is not the conclusion drawn from the premise that there is
no social contract. It is the argument that our social relations are not based
on the existence of an actual contract, albeit one for which agreement is
implicit (as demonstrated by one's voluntarily chosen place of domicile) rather
Most current residents of Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand
(and others) are descendents of ancestors who explicitly chose to join a new
society, chose to elect representatives from amongst themselves to make
decisions for the mutual benefit of the whole group -- "to improve things".
"Social Contract" is therefore not an equivocation on the meaning of "contract"
if one entertains the possibility that our social relations are indeed based on
a voluntarily agreed to mutual exchange of values for mutual benefit -- a
contract by Mr. Flood's definition.
As I have mentioned previously, I am of two minds on the subject. On the one
hand, it truly pains me to see the extent to which our respective governments
have intruded into our lives, welfares, and futures. Philosophically, I find
Libertarian principles a far sounder basis for social relations than any
offered by other residents of the political spectrum. Since I have no more love
of "The State" and its myriad intrusions into my life and welfare than does Mr.
Flood, it is a counter to the Social Contract arguments that I am seeking. A
reiteration of the consequences of assuming away the conclusion is not
On the other hand, without the justification provided by a social contract all
of our government structures would be morally foundationless, and there would
appear to remain only immoral coercion to prevent a total collapse of our
society. I don't think we could easily (if at all?) transition from where we
are now to where Mr. Flood's principles would have us be. And our current
democratic institutions must surely have some basis of legitimacy, else why
would they be demonstrating such persistent longevity and infectious spread?
(c) Stuart Burns 2003
III. 'ABOLITION VERSUS REDISTRIBUTION: A SUMMARY REPLY TO STUART BURNS' BY TONY
Stuart Burns expresses "full agreement with the essential principles" that
inform my articles on the ethical dimensions of redistributionism. He says he
"completely" agrees with my "underlying foundation," yet there are "differences
in the basic premises with which we approach the topics under discussion."
Unfortunately for his agreement, my principles are my basic premises.
Modern politics is essentially about the involuntary transfer of resources (or
their control) from owners to nonowners. Euphemistically dubbed
"redistribution," this transfer is an intrinsically unethical affair. "Property
radiates... lines of demarcation that morally limit what nonowners may do. With
one's own property one may do as one wishes, logically excepting interfering
with another's use of his property." To discuss the ethics of the transfer
mechanism apart from the ethics of the transfer itself is unreal. It is as
weird as deliberating about whether to give chattel slaves the right to vote
for their overseer, all the while prescinding from the issue of slavery. This
was the gist of my comment on Jonathan Wolff's paper.
Mr. Burns challenges my alleged "presupposition" that "there is and can be no
such thing as a 'social contract,'" even though I have repeatedly granted that
one can stipulate the meaning of any term. My concern, which he mentions but
does not engage, is that if contracts are enforceable, then so are "social
contracts." Historically, the "social contract" gets enforced in ways
inconsistent with that to which it makes analogy. The enforcement apparatus
depends utterly on noncontractual taxation to fund interferences with bona fide
contracts. "Redistribution schemes blur the distinction between title and
possession and are therefore incoherent, for they both affirm and deny that
forcible expropriation is a morally justifiable means of acquiring
property." The "social contract" necessarily generates such schemes.
Now contract is not socially basic. What is socially basic, or close to basic,
is the willingness to refrain from initiating force or violence against
another's person or property. "Refraint," Henry Hazlitt's convenient locution,
is prior to and presupposed by every contract. There is no call, however, for
regarding pre-contractual refraint as itself a "contract":
"People do have moral obligations before they enter into
contracts. Each party expects that the other will abide by
the contract's terms and... not just because of their fear
of penalties. You and I cannot enter into an arrangement to
exchange titles unless each of us understands that neither
may take by force or stealth what the other one has, even
if he can. Generally, members of society share an
understanding of their moral relationship to each other as
requisite to their respective hopes of achieving a good
life. That understanding may be unarticulated or implied.
But mere understanding does not a contract make." 
If a contract presupposes a pre-contractual understanding that is itself a
contract, does not the latter depend on yet another contract? If not, why not?
And what about that contract? We can avoid an infinite regress of conditioned
conditions that are never fulfilled if we allow that our mutual risking and
exchanging of values does not require that we first do anything else like
that. If one is not doing anything like that (risking and exchanging values),
one is not entering into or performing a contract. And refraint is not anything
In short, we should not use the same word to refer to what is conditioned and
its condition. The immigrants of Mr. Burns' example entered into contracts --
period. When they presumed to bind their descendants in perpetuity, however,
via the mystique of a divinely ordained State, they behaved noncontractually
toward future persons who, of course, could not enter into contracts with them.
These descendants, we among them, are free to repudiate that alleged bond. How
we go about that may be a matter of prudence, but our right to do so is, I
hope, not in question.
Mr. Burns fears that if I am right, and "all of our government structures" are
revealed to be "morally foundationless" just because there is no social
contract, "there would appear to remain only immoral coercion to prevent a
total collapse of society." On the contrary: if I am right, then all of those
structures have historically been predicated on immoral coercion, for which
"social contract" is but modernity's distinctive cloak.
If the modern State "pains" Mr. Burns, he should welcome attempts to demystify
and delegitimize it, just as (some of) our ancestors did chattel slavery. The
latter was a much longer affair than is modern democracy, whose "persistent
longevity and infectious spread" apparently impress him. The longevity and
spread of Christianity and Islam, for example, may provide talking points for
Christian and Muslim apologists, but have little evidentiary force beyond their
respective choirs and those inclined to join them. I suggest the same holds for
What will remain after violations of liberty are cured? Nothing less than
liberty itself. This includes the liberty to provide for security against those
who have designs on the property of others. People will not undertake to abolish
the State, however, if they have not first demystified it. They must be
convinced that abolition is morally necessary, not just intelligible and
morally permissible. They must also be morally willing to act on their
conviction. Intellectual conversion and moral conversion must go hand-in-hand.
If this exchange of views has prepared the intellectual conversion of even one
reader, I will regard it as wholly justified. I reiterate my thanks to Stuart
Burns for his critical efforts and to Geoffrey Klempner for publishing them and
1. Anthony Flood, "'Redistribution' as Euphemism or, Who Owns What?,"
Philosophy Pathways, Number 65, 24 August 2003.
2. Anthony Flood, "A Comment on Professor Wolf's 'Four Forms of
Redistribution,'" Philosophy Pathways, Number 53, 9 March 2003.
3. Anthony Flood, "Redistributionism, Continued," Philosophy Pathways, Number
56, 20 April 2003. http://www.philosophypathways.com/newsletter/issue56.html
4. Anthony Flood, "Contracts, Coercion, and Condo Boards: A Reply to Stuart
Burns," Philosophy Pathways, Number 61, 29 June 2003.
(c) Anthony Flood 2003
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