Pathways School of Philosophy
Pathways to Philosophy
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On this page Pointing hand  Why are we here? | About Pathways to Philosophy | How to apply | Our guarantee | Contacting Pathways | Where to go now?


Why are we here?

In 2001, Pathways to Philosophy at was launched with the motto: Philosophy is for everyone and not just philosophers. Philosophers should know lots of things besides philosophy. We held 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 an age of scholasticism from which it will take a tremendous effort to free itself. We can only watch from the sidelines while we try to keep the true spirit of philosophy alive.

At the time when the great British philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) was writing, 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 the university tower blocks, professors of Physics or Psychology, History or English are baffled by what their philosopher colleagues are doing. They might as well be speaking a different language. Academic philosophy has gone so far out on a limb that it has lost any sense of direction. No wonder entire university departments are being closed.

Meanwhile, academic philosophers write pot boilers with names such as 'Beer and Philosophy', or 'The Philosophy of Star Trek' in the vain hope of gaining a wider audience for their subject — as well as some extra income on the side. Don't they realize that all they succeed in doing is bring ridicule on themselves and their subject? Philosophy is not easy. It is not entertainment. It is not easy to make yourself into a cultured human being. Of course, that isn't going to worry those whose only notion of 'culture' is pop culture!

In these pages, you will find the case for philosophy made in numerous ways. We would like you to take one of the Pathways to Philosophy programs because we have to make our living too. But don't expect us to save you from the struggle, and sometimes the anguish, of getting to grips with the most sublime problems and 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.


About Pathways to Philosophy

The Pathways school of philosophy was founded in 1995 by Dr Geoffrey Klempner. In 1997, the six Pathways to Philosophy programs were launched on the world wide web as an independent project hosted on the University of Sheffield web site. The first version of the Pathways web site was completed in 1998.

In 1999, the Pathways Ask a Philosopher service was introduced. The Pathways web site was expanded with a Study Guide, Pathways Essays and Letters to my Philosophy Students. In 2001, the first issue of the Philosophy Pathways e-journal was published.

Since 2002, Pathways has been run under the supervision of the International Society for Philosophers. The Board of the ISFP are responsible for reporting on the essay portfolios and dissertations submitted for the Associate and Fellowship awards.

In 2003, Pathways introduced tutorial support for the Diploma and BA (Hons) in Philosophy via the University of London External Programme. In 2011, three University of London students tutored by Pathways — Craig Skinner, Julian Plumley and Plinio Coll — graduated with First Class Honours.

Craig and Julian are now regular contributors to the new Pathways Ask a Philosopher pages.

At the beginning of 2006, Pathways moved to commercial web hosting at Today, Pathways is the leading independent internet distance learning site for philosophy courses online. Since 1995, students from over 70 countries have studied with Pathways.


How to apply

This section is included for historical interest only. For up-to-date information, please go to the Pathways home page. (October 2015)

There is no fixed start date for the Pathways Programs or the ISFP Associate and Fellowship Awards.

You can apply at any time for Pathways support for the University of London Diploma or BA, provided that you have already registered as an External student with the University of London.

All Pathways students receive free membership of the International Society for Philosophers and a copy of the Pathways CD-ROM together with the 350,000 word e-text Philosophical Connections by Dr Anthony Harrison-Barbet.


Our guarantee

1. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of your course, we undertake to respond sympathetically and constructively to your concerns.

2. We offer a 28 day money back guarantee. You will receive the full tuition fee that you have paid to Pathways, promptly and without question.*

3. If for any reason you are not happy with the mentor who has been assigned to you, then we will do our best to find a suitable replacement.

4. You can switch courses at any time, subject to payment of fee calculated on the basis of the amount of course work that you have completed.

5. If you are applying for a university place or making a job application, you can ask the Director of Studies for a confidential reference or testimonial.

6. Studying philosophy can change your life. While we hope that this will be a change for the better, we cannot promise that you will be happier or more fulfilled as a result of taking one of our programs. That is up to you.

* ISFP membership fee is not refundable


Contacting Pathways

If you have any questions about the Pathways study tracks or about the materials reproduced here, or experience problems viewing Pathways pages email

For all inquiries you can also use the Pathways Feedback form.

Or write to:

Dr Geoffrey Klempner
Director of Studies
International Society for Philosophers
907 Chesterfield Road
Sheffield S8 0SS
United Kingdom

If you would like to meet Dr Geoffrey Klempner face to face, then please call or email to arrange a time. There's a pub opposite serving excellent beer where we can discuss philosophy over a couple of pints :-)


Mobile: +44 (0)7582121423


Where to go now?

For our three study tracks go to the six Pathways programs, the ISFP Associate and Fellowship Awards and University of London Diploma and BA via Pathways. You can also browse through our student testimonials.

After that, you might try the links at the bottom of this page. Some of these are to directories on this site, such as the Philosophy Study Guide or Pathways Essays, while other links are to different domains such as The 10 Big Questions or Electronic Philosopher. 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.

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.

If you want to know more about me, have a look at my Brief CV. There isn't a long CV. That, and the various Pathways web sites, is all there is. There's a nice interview by Jules Evans Geoffrey Klempner on philosophy beyond academia. There are over 3500 Pathways pages on the web. Running Pathways has taken up most of my energy and passion over the last 17 years. I have chosen to be a philosopher in the world, rather than apart from it.

Geoffrey Klempner

19th June 2012


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