Courses other than Philosophy
The School of Philosophy offers a number of courses other than Philosophy. At present, most are only available to students currently enrolled in a Philosophy course. (This is not for any reason of exclusivity, but is simply due to limited resources at this stage. Some of the larger branches worldwide do offer the courses detailed below to the public.)
All courses offered by the School—whether public or not—are organised and run voluntarily by students of the School who have a particular interest in an area of study. A selection of such studies is presented below. Courses available to the public are listed to the right.
Please contact the office for details about when and where each course will be held.
This magnificent course—the original course offered by the School in London—explores the nature of human beings and their interactions as they form communities and produce wealth. Partly inspired by the work of Henry George, the course seeks to understand the elementary principles underlying the economic activity of the individual, the state and the world at large.
Sanskrit is an ancient language from which many modern Indian languages have come. Sanskrit holds a special place in the School, not only because it is a wonderfully rich and interesting language in its own right, but also because of the extraordinary richness and depth of its philosophical literature, the stilling and purifying effect of its sounds, and the unsurpassed intelligence and orderliness of its grammar. The School has developed a Sanskrit course that highlights these features, and new classes are organised year-by-year as the need arises. These Sanskrit classes are only available to currently enrolled students of the School.
The study of Latin is satisfying on many levels, helping to order the mind with its precise and logical grammar, providing a rich insight into the history and culture of the Western world, and providing an understanding of the source and development of words. (Some 60% English words are derived from Latin). Occasional beginner courses are organised upon request, and there is an ongoing class for students with more advanced Latin skills. One special focus of interest is the work of Marsilio Ficino, founder of the Platonic Academy in Renaissance Florence, whose influential Latin letters are being gradually translated by members of the School worldwide, and which have been published to great acclaim.
Plato & Dialectic
Though Plato lived over 23 hundred years ago, yet his works still exercise a profound influence on our world today. Alfred North Whitehead once said of the European philosophical tradition that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. Of particular interest is Plato’s method of Dialectic—the art of reasonable conversation—around which members of the School have developed courses that are being taken up with great enthusiasm by children’s schools in some places. Courses in Dialectic are offered within the School at regular intervals, and each January a week-long summer school is held in Melbourne, to which interstate and overseas guests are invited, including leading academics.
Marsilio Ficino, the founder of the Platonic Academy in Florence, has been dubbed “The Father of the Renaissance”. His letters, which are full of wisdom and good advice, had a profound effect on some of the most powerful and influential figures of the Renaissance, from the popes to the Medici. As noted above, Ficino’s letters continue to be lovingly translated from the original Latin by members of the School worldwide, and groups regularly meet in Melbourne to study the profound words of this most significant philosopher.
Without good Law, there is little chance of a good society; and the degree to which we enjoy peace and harmony today is testament to the working out of good law over many centuries. Law is one of the many courses that have been offered to the public by the School in London for many decades, and although such a course is not run in the same way in Melbourne, a group of enthusiasts still meets regularly to study this most important subject—with the aim of better understanding the nature of Law itself, and of the application of natural law in the world today.
Nothing opens the heart more easily and joyfully than a good sing! For many years, students have met in the School to sing together, both in choirs with instrumental accompaniment and in a cappella groups. Some highlights in the past have included public performances of Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Gloria. A group currently meets in the morning once per week to study the principles of singing and practise harmonies and simple choral pieces.
The Upanishads are ancient Sanskrit philosophical texts that offer profound insights into the nature of human beings and the cosmos. Enthusiastic students meet regularly to study these profound works together—mostly through English translations, but with some reference to the original Sanskrit and its beautiful sounds.
There has for a long time been considerable interest in the principles of good parenting among students in the School. Various courses have been developed to support parents to this end, which are offered both through the School of Philosophy and Erasmus School, a dedicated primary school founded on the ideals of good parenting and education. The courses offer parents a clear insight into the crucial formative years of the child, along with practical guidelines for laying the foundations of a good character and a happy, well adjusted child.
At its best, the beautiful art of Needlework not only inspires others through its productions, but also uplifts the creator, bring rest to the heart and mind through the application of fine attention. A Needlework group meets weekly for anyone interested, and many beautiful adornments to the School’s buildings are testament to the fine work of this group!
Marriage & Relationships
This course originated from the School in Ireland, where it has been presented to many hundreds of people around that country. The objectives of the course are to strengthen and enhance marriages and relationships.
The course explores marriage, the nature of love, relationships and communication, and takes the form of presentation, discussion and observations.
The course will be held once or twice per year depending on numbers. It is recommended that couples attend, although this is not exclusive. Anyone intending to attend should be in a committed relationship.
Anyone interested should register their interest and the tutors for the course will be in touch as the course number reaches a viable number (this is for reasonable discussion purposes only).
The cost of the course is $100 per couple or $70 for a single person. For further information about upcoming courses, please visit the Marriage and Relationships website.