Pathways to Author Page for Geoffrey V. Klempner
Kew fern
P A T H W A Y S   T O

Glass House Philosopher  Monday, 1st August 2005

"Tree ferns are the great ancestors of the modern plant kingdom, dating back between three and four hundred million years. A stegosaurus might have breakfasted on a fern just like this impressive specimen spreading out its long daintily carved fronds just a few feet from where I am sitting...

"The Winter Gardens Sheffield is one of the more pleasant places to be on a muggy grey Monday. Ten years ago — long before this vaulted glass ceiling was so much as a scribbled sketch in an architect's note book — I was penning my first drafts of Pathways, a couple of miles up the road in the Botanical Gardens...

"I had just finished my two term Metaphysics course for final year philosophy students at Sheffield University. The lectures eventually became the basis for the Pathways Metaphysics program.

"My carefully typed lecture notes were originally intended as the first draft of a second book I hoped to write, as a follow up to Naive Metaphysics. Meanwhile, I was determined that they should be put to good use.

"As the sun beat down, I wrote longhand. I drew up lists, made diagrams, drafted sentences and paragraphs that eventually became Pathways: the six programs, Following your pathway and Writing a philosophy essay...

"Long ago evolution discovered the recipe for making a simple leaf. With perfect logical consistency, nature realized that you could make bigger and bigger structures just by adding more of the same. And so the great tree fern eventually appeared, towering above the other plants in the Prehistoric forest. The Pathways programs evolved in much the same way..."

Pathways to Philosophy Pathways to Philosophy

"Pathways was designed from the start as a distance learning program. The six fifteen-unit Pathways to Philosophy were developed over a period of three years 1995–8 through dialogue with our first correspondence students. Since then, many hundreds of students have contributed to on-going development of the Pathways project."
Letters to my philosophy students Letters to my philosophy students

"Since 1995...I have written over two thousand letters in response to essays and course work which my students have sent me. I am presenting a sample from the first three years, which I hope will be of instructional value as well as casting light on the history of Pathways."
Philosophy how-to-do-it guide Philosophy how-to-do-it guide

"If you want to philosophize well, you need a good tool kit. Not just a hammer, but screwdriver and pliers, drill and saw. Every student who starts out on the road to philosophy learns how to value and assess the tools available. Try everything. Pick up anything you can use, from as wide a variety of sources as possible."
Philosophy essay archive Philosophy essay archive

"Pathways students... from around the world have produced many fine examples of philosophical writing. Reproduced here are essay portfolios which have received the Associate Award, as well as dissertations successfully submitted for the Fellowship Award of the International Society for Philosophers."
Ask a philosopher! Ask a philosopher!

"This service is offered courtesy of Pathways to Philosophy, the independent distance learning project run by the International Society for Philosophers. Answers are posted regularly... Your question is more likely to be answered if you show that you have thought about the problem and are not just asking us to do your homework for you."
Electronic philosopher Electronic philosopher

"Some of the most precious documents we possess about the Modern philosophers such as Descartes and Leibniz are the letters they wrote. To all and sundry. People who were asking them about their philosophy. Students they took on... And... I had this idea that if at some future date someone was going to collect my works, I wouldn't be embarrassed to see the letter, amongst those works."
Electronic philosopher Pathways: selected essays

"This site is dedicated to students taking the six Pathways to Philosophy. The quality of a philosophy essay is a function of the difficulty of the task you have set yourself. In these selections, I have veered towards work which is more instructive, avoiding discussions that are too difficult or obscure — or maybe aimed too high and didnÕt quite hit the target. Essays will be added on a regular basis."

"Open learning resources, advice and inspiration for students at university, on distance learning programs and college correspondence courses in philosophy." Includes the innovative Philosophical Connections by Dr Anthony Harrison-Barbet.
The 10 big questions The 10 big questions

"Without science we would know very little about how the world works or about our own nature. However, the greatest value of science is that it gives us so much to think about. This web site is about discovering the power of human thought... Here are ten of the most frequently asked questions about the nature of the universe and our place in it."
Pathways to Philosophy Letters to my students
How-to-do-it guide
Essay archive
Ask a philosopher
Pathways teaching materials © G. Klempner 1995–2020
'Kew Gardens Fern' photograph © G. Klempner 2001