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Kaz Knowlden

Pathways Mentors: Kaz Knowlden

I first became interested in philosophy after my mother gave me a Pears Encyclopedia when I was 11 years old. There was an amazing section on 'Ideas and Beliefs' which explored the idea that religious type experiences can be induced by fasting and drugs. I was brought up as a strict Catholic and not encouraged to question faith and authority generally, but my reading at such a young age blew away my certainty about God's existence forever, along with other deeply held assumptions about the nature of reality, what truth and knowledge might be.

Since then I have never stopped questioning, thinking, discussing and reading about every aspect of life and its big questions. I went on to study philosophy at college and university where I did my MSc degree in 'Media, Culture and Conflict' at Bath University, exploring the theories of Baudrillard, Habermas, Lyotard, etc. and on the impact of technological changes on thought and society. In my final assignment I focused on postmodern feminist philosophy, with a case study on the Greenham Common protest movement.

I got ever more deeply involved, joining the local philosophy club, and eventually working as a philosophy teacher within local colleges. I set up a philosophy class in the middle of an inner city council estate a few years ago and was knocked out by the interest and enthusiasm shown in philosophy.

I'm a huge fan of Philosophy Now magazine and contributed a short story, 'Immanuel', at the end of 2007 — my proudest moment!

I live in Bristol, where I teach A-Level Philosophy and work as an examiner for the AQA. I also work as an ESOL (English as a second or other language) teacher, so have lots of experience in helping anxious learners from different cultures and backgrounds.

I like to read anything to do with the theory of knowledge and am particularly fascinated by Hume's arguments on causation and identity, which have niggled at me for years. In my free time I play football when I can at a local sports centre!