Introductory Practical Philosophy

Introductory Practical Philosophy

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Term Dates: 18 January - 4 April 2021 (half term 15 - 21 February)

A ten-week starter course considering the philosophical ideas and questions affecting our everyday lives. Offered via Zoom in the spring term.

Do any of us really know who we are? Or why? For thousands of years, philosophy has been searching for answers and seeking the truth in everything. Through Practical Philosophy we seek understanding not through theory, but from our own direct experience. Living life to the full. 

Classes will be held online via Zoom and each one lasts 75mins.

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The wisdom within

These opening sessions consider how philosophy can help us enjoy richer, less stressful lives.

What is practical philosophy?

‘What would a wise person do here?’

Philosophy means the love of wisdom. Our course is intended to show how philosophy can help us enjoy richer, less stressful and more useful lives. This opening two sessions consider these aims, and introduces simple exercises in mindfulness and the application of wisdom you can practise in daily life.

You can download or listen to the Awareness Exercise, introduced in week one here. To download, right-click, choose 'Save link as...' and save the MP3 wherever you want.

You can also download a PDF of the Awareness Exercise

 

Know thyself

Who or what am I?

What is my potential?

Who am I, really? My body? My emotions? My strongly held beliefs? My soul? Possibly all of these? Possibly none?

Such questions have preoccupied philosophers down the ages. We look at practical ways to explore who we really are and how to tap our true potential.

 

Being awake

What is our state of awareness?

Why does it fluctuate during the day?

Often the most notable quality of wise people is their alertness to the subtleties of a situation. They are awake, perceptive and curious.

We look at deeper levels of awareness, and consider how we may become more awake to ourselves, our surroundings, and the events we meet.

 

The present moment

Living in the now, mindfulness.

What is the potential of the present moment?

We review our own experience of attention through a model featuring attention centred, captured, open and scattered, and how these each relate to the past, present and future.

We examine the extraordinary brightness and freedom naturally available in the present moment. A straightforward practice is introduced

Living justly

Plato’s views on justice.

What does it mean to live justly?

According to Plato, justice and injustice do not start ‘out there’. They begin within us. For justice to prevail, Plato suggests that we must learn to avoid being ‘tyrannised’ by our passions and fears to the extent they overrule our reason.

We discuss the practicality of Plato’s ideas on justice in our daily lives.