Why are we here?

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.

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