We hold that philosophy is for everyone, not just a select few. Human beings have been gifted with the capacity to think, to project our minds beyond the immediate necessities of here and now, beyond the limits of everyday concerns, so that our place in the world becomes a topic for thinking. Everyone has this ability, and not just those with exceptional mental powers.
Because philosophical thought is without limits, philosophy is the ultimate expression of human freedom. The first persons to have their activities curtailed in repressive political regimes are philosophers. We believe in freedom of thought and expression but also in the responsibility that goes with that freedom, to cherish difference rather than to oppose it. As philosophers, we value and respect those whose views differ from our own.
We believe that the value of philosophy lies ultimately in dialogue rather than the activities of the solitary thinker. In soliloquy one vital ingredient of the philosophical enterprise is missing. One always seems to see more than one can say. In the search for a meeting point, something new is created that neither of us could have created by our own unaided efforts the dialogue itself as it takes on an independent life of its own.
We believe in the practical benefits of studying philosophy. It is well known that philosophy teaches one to argue a case more forcefully, to express our thoughts better, and also to be more flexible and creative in our approach to the problems that face us in our work and our daily lives. However, the full practical reward comes in the quality of life and mental attitude of those who love philosophy for its own sake rather than merely for its perceived benefits.
In order to make philosophy available to all, we strongly encourage the teaching of philosophy outside universities and institutions of learning: in evening classes, through distance learning and through the formation of local and national philosophy clubs and societies. Universities have their part to play, and we are willing to become their partners in this effort.
We believe that one is never too young or too old to philosophize. Children old enough to write or add up are old enough to grasp the first elements of philosophical thinking, such as the idea of concepts and relations, or logical inference, or the idea of values. Children in their early teens can be accomplished philosophers. We will be promoting philosophy in schools, in primary as well as in secondary education, providing advice and support for teachers, as well as materials for study.
We also recognize that men and women who have reached retirement age still have their best years ahead of them. There is a growing body of empirical evidence that advancing years are no barrier to mental development. There is also ample historical evidence that philosophical thinkers have been able to maintain their mental stamina and creativity throughout their lives. The conclusion is that it is never too late to enjoy, and benefit from the study of philosophy.
Our mission is to teach the world to philosophize.
© Geoffrey Klempner 2002–2017