Founded in 1995, Pathways to Philosophy was launched on the world wide web in 1997.
For over two decades, students have successfully used our distance learning programs as an access route to undergraduate and graduate philosophy programs — as well as for self-development and intellectual pleasure.
Our exciting range of philosophy study support materials includes:
In 2001, Pathways to Philosophy at PhiloSophos was launched with the motto: "Philosophy is for everyone and not just philosophers. Philosophers should know lots of things besides philosophy."
We believed then, as now, that universities have for too long held the monopoly on the teaching of philosophy in the Western tradition. Academic philosophy is mired in a new age of scholasticism.
In the university tower blocks, professors of Physics or Psychology, History or English are baffled by what it is their philosopher colleagues do. They might as well be speaking a different language.
This is a problem that academic philosophers themselves have begun to recognize. A few, like A.C. Grayling and Roger Scruton, have striven to communicate the importance of philosophical thinking to a largely sceptical public.
At the time of the great British philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), it was considered a necessary mark of culture to be knowledgeable about philosophy. Not just knowing names and dates, but to know why Berkeley attacked the theories of Locke, or what Locke debated with Leibniz. It seems incredible to us today.
In these pages, you will find the case for philosophy made in numerous ways. We hope you will try one of our philosophy programs. But don't expect us to save you from the struggle, and sometimes the anguish, of getting to grips with the most sublime questions that human beings have every conceived.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, born Austrian but adopted as a British philosopher, once remarked that philosophers should greet one another with the words, 'Take your time.' That is sound advice. If you want to become a student of philosophy then don't look for quick, easy success. You won't find it here. But you will succeed if you are prepared to take your time.
"You can philosophize for sheer enjoyment. Or because you want to change the world. Or to develop and hone your mental powers. Or out of insatiable, childlike curiosity. Or because your very life depends upon it." — Those words written by philosopher Geoffrey Klempner in 2002 express the sheer diversity of motives for choosing philosophy.
One needs a motive. Sometimes we do things not fully knowing why, because we feel it is the right thing to do, or the right thing to do now, at this point in our lives. That's good enough!
We are all enthusiasts here. The word comes from the Greek enthousiasmos — being possessed by the gods. Discovering philosophy is like falling in love. Which explains the Greek word philo-sophia. We are in love with what we do.
Can you explain love? You can try. You can list qualities or attributes that you find worthy of love, but no-one was ever persuaded to fall in love by a list. You have to allow the questions of philosophy to grip you. For those who are gripped by the questions of philosophy, no further justification is required.
Take your time to look around these pages. There's a lot to read, although you don't have to read everything :) Give yourself time to decide. Let philosophy grow on you. You won't be sorry!
Pictured above is Pathways student Sachiko ('Pearl') from Singapore, who received a Prize of £100 in 2010 from the University of London for outstanding performance in her BA Philosophy degree examinations.
We continue to work with students of the International Programme, and believe that it is the best — and best value for money — BA degree in Philosophy through distance learning available through the internet.
However, not everyone is ready and willing to commit to a degree. Many of the students at Pathways already have degrees, in a wide range of subjects. Pathways in conjunction with the International Society for Philosophers offers a flexible alternative to a Philosophy degree — or a stepping stone to a degree program — depending on your needs and interests.
We estimate that the Six Pathways Programs together with the Associate and Fellowship of the International Society for Philosophers should take approximately 4 or 5 years to complete — the same time, in fact that it normally takes to complete the University of London BA degree by distance learning.
There are many benefits from gaining a degree. It is not just a certificate to hang proudly on your wall. However, leaving aside the extra cost, a degree is not for everyone. With Pathways, you can dip your toe in the water and take your time to decide how and when you are ready to go to the next stage.
We are here to work. As a philosopher (or student philosopher, we don't see any difference) you know that you are only as good as the essay you are working on now.
As students of philosophy we gain great pleasure and satisfaction from studying the works of the great philosophers of the past, as well as significant contributors to contemporary thought. But study and reading alone are not enough:
"Writing — whether in the form of books, articles, essays, or dialogues — is, quite simply, the way one works at philosophy. Reading, thinking, talking philosophy are all parts of the process. But none of these is a satisfactory substitute for the discipline of expressing your thoughts on paper." [Writing a philosophy essay]
In our view, essays in response to precise and focused questions are more valuable than essays on a general topic. It's relatively easy to waffle on about what you know or have learned about a topic — like free will, or scepticism or the mind-body problem — but harder to construct a logically argument which makes a case.
This is what philosophers do. Theories and ideas have no value in themselves, but only in relation to, or to the degree that, we have reason to think that they may be true. Philosophy is the art of reason. The aim of reason is the pursuit of truth.
"We had our third meeting and the group to my delight is a constellation. I have a base of 14 people to pull from and from that base enough people are showing up continuously for the group to form a personality.
"One of the phenomena is happiness. In the third unit the group was able to discuss issues revolving around awareness, will and the soul without having to agree, and without fighting. Those who are materialist and hold that human consciousness is equal the the brain and those who hold that it can exist without a body did not go at each others throats at all. Quite the contrary. Each individual was able to explore their own and the other's opinion and knowledge without orthodoxy. The result was happiness.
"Everyone I spoke with today after the meeting to get feedback told me they were experiencing the afterglow of fulfillment which is the natural occurrence when a complete communication cycle occurs in which intelligence, and not just information, was exchanged. I am emboldened by the group. This is exceeding my original hopes." — John Moody [How to form a study group]
Now in its twenty-third year and with students in over 90 countries, our program has a proven record in inspiring interest in the questions of philosophy as well as giving students the critical tools needed to pursue their interest to degree level and beyond.
See The Pathways Story (zip). The file comprises of four key offprints of articles by Geoffrey Klempner which tell the story of the Pathways School of Philosophy over the first 12 years 1995–2007.
Submitted to the University of Oxford in 1982, Geoffrey Klempner's D.Phil thesis is still arguably ahead of its time — in its radical critique of theories of meaning and the proposal of an alternate 'dialectics' of language, its interpretation of the philosophies of Kant and Wittgenstein, and the treatment of realism about truth and meaning as a 'metaphysical illusion'.
"If anyone has doubts about the continuing validity of metaphysics as a philosophical concern this book ought to remove those doubts... It is perhaps some time since such an impressive exercise in metaphysics has appeared on the scene, and anyone concerned with philosophy in its most abstract and profound aspects should welcome this book and find interest and stimulation in it." (Professor D.W. Hamlyn)
'Ethical Dilemmas' is for anyone interested in philosophy, but especially aimed at those who are in a position to make strategic decisions which involve a company's long term goals and values. "I loved the text because, without renouncing the philosophical discussion that accompanies any ethical decision, in a very practical way Klempner goes into the core that underlies all ethical dilemmas" (Pablo Ayala Enríquez).
Philosophy Q and A is a compilation of answers to philosophical questions on a wide range of topics covering most areas of philosophy. Re-arranged in alphabetical order, the answers were originally posted on the Ask a Philosopher web site between 2009–2011 and are all written by the author.
"If Salinger, Woody Allen, the later Wittgenstein, Julio Cortazar, Mallarme, Patti Smith, and Baudrillard attempted to write a book together, it would be like this — Including the sound of r'n'r of the 1960s and 1970s." (Sanja Ivic) "A celebration of philosophy on philosophy's own terms — a search for hard-nosed metaphysical objectivity by means of a vulnerable and very personal investigation." (Matthew Sims)
First published as an Amazon Kindle eBook in June 2016, this expanded 'Black Edition' contains entries from Geoffrey Klempner's Glass House Philosopher Notebook III, 7th September 2016 to 28th February 2017, where the author develops some of the themes from Philosophizer.
"Imagine you are Alice, in Alice in Wonderland, or Through the Looking Glass, or Dorothy in Wizard of Oz — or Neo in 'The Matrix' (the movie script cleverly references Alice and Dorothy in the same scene). You are about to embark on a mini-adventure, which is also designed as a course of instruction (kind of, if you are willing to be instructed). Try not to anticipate. Let go, if you can. Let the ride carry you along."
The structure of the Pathways presence on the web is more organic than hierarchical, which reflects the fact that the web sites have grown and developed over a number of years. In total, there are over 4000 pages.
If you are a returning visitor and are wondering what happened to the old Pathways home page, you can find it here. Some of the links have been changed as they pointed to pages that no longer exist. Or you can choose your entry page from previous versions dating back to 1999. Two more jumping off points are Pathways sites and the Pathways Portal.
One of our most popular pages is Your favourite philosophy web sites (a.k.a. the 'Pathways Top 10') where you can 'nominate your favourite philosophy web site or the philosophy site you enjoyed visiting most this week'. Sites listed are regularly checked for quality and bad links removed.