Pathways to Philosophy – Studying Online

Here is a plug for the Pathways to Philosophy distance learning network. This represents an important resource for anyone pursuing a philosophy education outside of the mainstream, and I am very grateful to it for the help I have received along my philosophical way.

A range of courses or ‘study tracks’ caters for a range of abilities from beginners to graduate level and may lead to a university diploma or BA degree, or to an award from the International Society of Philosophers.

The set-up is run by Dr. Geoffrey Klempner, who also acts as tutor for certain of the course and as dissertation tutor for the ISfP awards. I can vouch for the insightfulness and helpfulness of his feedback to students. Having decided, being self-taught, to test my philosophical knowledge by writing a formal academic dissertation, I could not have been more happy with my lucky choice of the ISfP programme with GK as my tutor. Here is a potted history with most of the links.

“Pathways was founded in 1995 by 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, followed two years later by Philosophy for Business.
Since 2002, the Pathways to Philosophy 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, as well as evaluating submissions to the two e-journals.
At the beginning of 2006, Pathways moved to commercial web hosting at philosophypathways.com. 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.”

The journal is monthly and free, so just leave an email address if you want to receive it. Both the Philosophy Pathways journal and Philosophy for Business consider unsolicited article submissions. Ask a Philosopher is fun. You can ask any question and the panel will have a crack at it, and anyone can submit answers to questions subject to moderation. The Pathways site has a large archive of student essays and dissertations, many with tutor feedback attached.

Recently the Philophos search engine has been launched. The address is:

http://philosophos.org/search.html
Powered by Freefind http://freefind.com the search engine covers over 4000 pages/ 4 million+ words of original content from the Pathways web sites. The Knowledge Base includes the ‘Philosophical Connections’ hyperlinked history of philosophy by Dr Anthony Harrison-Barbet. There are settings for Advanced Search. Also included is a link to the HTML code for webmasters who would like to put PhiloSophos on their own web site: (http://philosophos.org/code.html)

Specific rather than general searches are recommended. For example, if you are interested in David Hume’s views about causation then search for ‘Hume on causation’, rather than simply ‘Hume’. Although the PhiloSophos index is relatively limited compared to the hundreds of millions of pages indexed by Google, you might be pleasantly surprised (say its creators) if you compare the results of the two search engines. In terms of the Biblical metaphor of separating the wheat from the chaff, PhiloSophos gives a remarkably high concentration of wheat.

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