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August 19, 2013

An Insight into the World of Philosophy - Begins September

“An unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates

An introductory course in Philosophy starting soon in Scoil Mhuire Clane promises to be a treat for philosophy buffs everywhere.

The course runs for 10 weeks on Thursday evenings starting on 26th Sept 2013. Situated in a bright modern building, the school has good canteen facilities where participants can go for a coffee and a chat during breaktime. The classes have a relaxed informal atmosphere and there is lots of lively discussion about topics of everyday interest. Course fees are very good value reflecting the difficult climate we are in.

The course will appeal to those who are intrigued by philosophy and want to find out more about it. No previous knowledge of philosophy is required. The tutor on the course gives recommended reading and many of the books are available in the library. The kinds of topics covered on the course include:-

  • What is philosophy?
  • Can you prove Gods existence?
  • Are there moral principles that all human beings should follow?
  • Can we ever know anything for certain?
  • Am I free or is freedom an illusion?
  • Is there not a better way to organise society?

Other reasons for doing the course would be:-

  • Would you like to think clearly about a wide range of issues?
  • Would you like to make more rationally informed choices in life?
  • Learn about some of the famous Philosophers from the Ancients Greeks to the present day.

The course remains a popular one. In a previous term there were 10 participants on the course and on the first course there were 13. Participants have enjoyed it very much.
Unlike an academic programme it’s an adult education course which should be enjoyable as well as educational and it’s designed with this in mind. The tutor is a great believer in helping the participants to understand and explore philosophical issues for themselves. Participants are encouraged to discuss the topics and to ask questions.

Participants with a background in subjects related to philosophy such as psychology, literature, ethics, sociology, theology and politics might find the course interesting. But others who have not studied any related areas could still find the course of value if they are interested in reflecting and thinking more deeply on important and fundamental issues concerning humanity and society and to ask the kind of questions that are not dealt with by science or other disciplines apart from philosophy.

For the Ancient Greeks Philosophy was the "Queen of the sciences” because it asked the ultimate questions about life and examined the fundamental issues about humanity and the world. “The philosopher is a lover of wisdom” according to Aristotle. Nowadays in our more consumer driven, capitalist society our outlook is different. In a world so pervaded by science and technology, philosophy is seen by some as of less importance and philosophers viewed as academics in ivory towers immersed in highly abstract ideas of little relevance to us ordinary mortals. - Nothing could be further from the truth. The media frequently deals with what we could call philosophical issues- abortion, euthanasia; human rights, social justice, freedom, and democracy. What is the best way to organise society? The search for happiness, wisdom and truth. To examine the assumptions and presuppositions on which your life is based and exercising your power of thought seems like a worthwhile reason for studying philosophy. The philosopher Socrates in 399BC who was condemned to death for challenging conventional beliefs and ideas, for him the task of the philosopher was not peripheral to life but central. To stop questioning and challenging accepted concepts was unthinkable.

For further information contact Scoil Mhuire Clane Tel 045 -868255 or contact Ross on 085 1395 320. Website Email

The tutor Ross Campbell has a BA (honours) in Philosophy from UCD and has been teaching Philosophy to adult classes for 8 years in Scoil Mhuire and other community schools. He is also a lecturer in Philosophy with the Free University of Ireland in Dublin