Practical Philosophy - Introductory Course

Have you ever wanted to lead a happier, more peaceful and more contented life? In our 10 week course you will find useful, practical tools that increase your happiness, reduce feelings of stress and give you new and fresh ways of looking at life that will add meaning and joy to everyday experiences.


Date 17th September 2018 - 2nd December 2018
Duration10 Weeks

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What to expect

Philosophy means ‘ the love of wisdom’ and wisdom is what enables us to master the art of living. In this course we learn how to apply wisdom practically in our everyday lives. It is a 10 week course and each session lasts about 2 hours with a break for refreshments.

More about the course

Our study of Practical Philosophy begins with a 10 week Introductory Course (called 'Part 1') and then continues forward with additional 10 week terms for those who wish to explore further. The 2-hour classes are filled with lively discussions in the spirit of inquiry. There is a 15 minute break for refreshments where students get to know each other and share experiences.

The Introductory Course offers an entirely practical approach to the study and practice of philosophical principles. The course is for everyone regardless of race, education, occupation, age, culture and religion. No prior knowledge is needed - simply a desire to examine life and enjoy it more fully.

In the first session of the Introductory Course a very simple practice is given to enable students to begin to connect with a deeper peace and stillness within themselves and also observe more clearly the state of their own mind and emotions. For those who decide to continue their study beyond the Introductory Course, meditation is offered in the fourth term. Students wishing to take up meditation earlier may do so.

What Students Say

The Introductory Course in Practical Philosophy is held every academic term in locations all over Ireland and has been enjoyed by thousands of students for 50 years in Ireland. At the beginning of each term we ask students why they came along each week and we check back at the end of term to see if their goals have been met. 

This is is what students said about how the Practical Philosophy Course benefited them. These comments are taken from students attending our latest term (ended March 2018).

'I have gained a more open mind to think about how I may react or not react during my day.  How to stop/pause and this has started to make small changes in my life recently.  The mindfulness exercises have been quite helpful in helping reduce stress and taking time out.' - Anon

'Understanding happiness from within.  Discussion on natural values.  Importance of really listening.' - BA

'I have just completed the introductory course and wanted to let you know that I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable. It was a privilege to be tutored by the wise and witty Michael Ryan, who must be philosophy royalty! The various philosophical traditions and concepts were presented in an accessible format with relevant examples. The group discussions were great fun. The handouts are exceptionally well prepared with meaning quotations from the masters, and practical tools to enhance life. I highly recommend the School of Philosophy, the experienced, committed tutors create welcoming and open environment to learn about philosophy. Thank you' - Elaine

'The course has provided me with an opportunity and a forum where like-minded people (seekers I think) have the chance to discus the “bigger” concepts of life that we don’t usually focus on in our day to day life.' - Anon

'Encouraged me to stop and think.  Also to listen to other people’s views.  I found the daily practice relaxing and calming.'  -  Sean

'The course has opened up a door – a new way of looking at things.  I found it very beneficial. Very interesting.' - Rose

'Time to think about self.  Opportunity to hear others opinions / thoughts.  Some new and some reminders of nuggets of knowledge.' - Ian Durnin

'I have gained a useful and practical and simple way of improving my life every day. Thank you.' Anon

'A further understanding of philosophy and its concepts.  Some key ideas about happiness were extremely profound and helpful. I love this course, all that the volunteers and members to in it.  Keep doing what is done!' Anon

'I can’t speak highly enough of the course or the tutors . It has stretched my mind  and self and invited me to consider ideas I had never even thought . Skilled teachers and enjoyed the class'-Conor

'I have gained a more complete understanding of who I am. I have also gained a deeper insight into my own life and how to live it. The course has given me practices to allow me to experience peace within myself'- Dominick 

'A better understanding of Philosophy.  Practical tools to help create more happiness in my life.' Anon

What we will cover

Week 1

The Wisdom Within. The aim of this session is to introduce the subject of philosophy as the love of wisdom

Week 2

Know Thyself. The subject of this session is self-knowledge. The wise seek to know themselves, and to live according to that knowledge

Week 3

Being Awake. The subject of this session is being awake, the levels of awareness. What does it mean to be truly awake?

Week 4

Attending To The Present Moment. 'The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.' - Writer Henry Miller

Week 5

Living Justly. What is justice? Is it important to live justly. Would a wise person live justly? In this session we will consider what Plato said about this.

Week 6

The Three-Fold Energy. In this session we are going to consider energy. Do we find that our energy levels vary? Would we like to have more energy? What is energy?

Week 7

The Light Of Reason. We are devoting a session to reason as it is the prime tool we use in exploring philosophy.

Week 8

The Power Of Beauty. 'Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light within the heart' - Kahlil Gibran

Week 9

Unity In Diversity. The subject for study in this session is finding unity in diversity. As we shall see, reason and beauty, which we have studied in the last two weeks play an important part in this.

Week 10

The desire for truth. We conclude this introductory course by considering the desire for Truth. What is it? Is it common to everyone? How may it be discovered?

Ongoing Learning

Part 02

Practical Philosophy: Happiness

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Part 03

Practical Philosophy: Love

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Part 04

Practical Philosophy: Presence

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