Courses

We aim to provide a wide range of philosophy courses for people interested in the subject. No previous study of the subject is required to enrol. The fees for standard ten week courses are £135 or £95 concessions unless otherwise stated.  For more information see enrolment.

Outline 2018-2019 timetable (pdf)

Autumn Term (October – December 2018)

Spring Term (January – March 2019)

Summer Term (April – July 2019)

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Santayana on Reason in Science and Religion

Autumn Term 2018, Mondays, 09:00 – 11:00, ten weeks starting 15th October

Course Tutor: Tom Ruben

This new course will focus on George Santayana (1863-1952) and his account of the role of rationality in both scientific and religious thinking, which remains centrally important to the philosophy of science and the critique of religious culture. Santayana is in the main line of Western philosophy with firm roots in, for example, ancient thought (Aristotle, Democritus), the 17th century (Hobbes, Spinoza) and the 19th century (Schopenhauer, Spencer). In the 20th century he was considered on a par with Russell and Whitehead.

To enrol, please e-mail Tom (hitchin46[at]talktalk.net).

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Philosophy of Biology

Autumn Term 2018, Mondays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 15th October

Course Tutor: Mark Fielding

Can we be altruistic? Are we just the products of our selfish genes? Is Human evolution at an end? The impact of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has changed the world. Philosophers have begun to grapple with the new questions this poses. This course covers the key areas of contemporary Philosophy of Biology.

To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Philosophy of Love

Autumn Term 2018, Mondays, 13:00 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 15th October

Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady.

This course will investigate the nature of love in general, concentrating on erotic love, and its philosophical history from Plato to the present; also touching on what anthropology, literature and neuroscience say about it. Questions to be considered: how far is love biological and universal, and how far it is just a local cultural concoction? Do we love a real person, or simply our own feelings, or an illusion engendered by social expectations or evolutionary imperatives? See course outline (Word doc) for more information.

To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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German Idealism Reading Group

Autumn Term 2018, Mondays, 15:00 – 17:00, nine weeks starting 15th October

Course Tutor: Meade McCloughan.

This year, the group will be reading Hölderlin’s novel, Hyperion (1797/1799), then Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism, and Fichte’s The Vocation of Man (both from 1800).

To enrol, please e-mail Meade (meade[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Introduction to Philosophy

Autumn Term 2018, Mondays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 1st October

Course Tutors: Mark Fielding and Jane O’Grady.

This is a general Introduction to Philosophy based on the individual course of the same name which is part of the University of London International Programme in Philosophy. The programme of study is tailored to the subject-centred approach based around this this text.

The programme is split into two stand alone courses, running this term and next. The first deals with Mind, Knowledge and World; the second deals with Meaning, Morality, and Art.

Should students wish to prepare for the University of London examination, each tutor is able to offer additional support covering the processes of writing essays. This is available at additional cost. Please contact Jane or Mark for more information.

To enrol, please either e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org) or e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org.

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Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit [course now full]

Autumn Term 2018, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 1st October

Course Tutor: Meade McCloughan.

This course will provide an introduction to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, with a specific focus on the idea of spirit. We will see how Hegel takes spirit to have come to be realized in ‘absolute knowledge’. See the course outline for more information.

To enrol, please e-mail Meade (meade[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Classics of Moral Philosophy: Mill’s Utilitarianism

Autumn Term 2018, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 1st October

Course Tutor: Sam Fremantle.

Utilitarianism, in the words of one of its greatest proponents, John Stuart Mill, ‘holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.’ And that’s all there is to morality – simples! Or is it? This course will undertake a reading of John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism in its entirety, before going on to consider some of the virulent attacks made on the doctrine by its many critics.

To enrol, please e-mail Sam (sam[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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An Introduction to Indian Philosophy

Autumn Term 2018, Tuesdays, 09:00 – 11:00, ten weeks starting 16th October

Course Tutor: Antonia Ruppel. Dr Antonia Ruppel has been teaching Sanskrit language and literature, and the philosophical approaches presented by them, in the US and the UK for the past 13 years. She is the author of The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit.

Starting from the Vedic age and its writings, we will follow the history of South Asian thought to the multitude of philosophical traditions of which many characterize India to this day, or even have gone far beyond the subcontinent. Source texts in translation will be provided.

To enrol, please e-mail Antonia (rhododaktylos[at]gmail.com).

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History of Theatre and Philosophy 1

Autumn Term 2018, Tuesdays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 16th October

Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer.

To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org).

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Kant Reading Group

Autumn Term 2018, Tuesdays, 13:30 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 16th October

Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer.

An interactive reading group. This year we will study Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The term-fee is only £20, reflecting the shortness of the meetings.

To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org).

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Philosophy and Rhetoric

Autumn Term 2018, Tuesdays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 16th October

Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer.

To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org).

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Feminism and Psychoanalysis: Irigaray, Kristeva, Butler

Autumn Term 2018, Tuesdays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 2nd October

Course Tutor: Keith Barrett.

‘Supposing truth is a woman – what then? Are there not grounds for the suspicion that all philosophers……..have been very inexpert about women?’ – wrote Nietzsche in the opening lines of ‘Beyond Good and Evil’. Confounding Nietzsche, some of the most important contemporary philosophers are women, and the course will explore the relationship between psychoanalysis and feminism by examining the ideas of three of them. We will begin by studying The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, then focus in turn on An Ethics of Sexual Difference by Luce Irigaray; Powers of Horror: an Essay on Abjection by Julia Kristeva; and Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity by Judith Butler.

To enrol, please e-mail Keith (keith[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Wittgenstein

Autumn Term 2018, Tuesdays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 2nd October

Course Tutor: Mark Fielding

Ludwig Wittgenstein is one of a very select number of philosophers who transformed the subject in the twentieth century. The course follows the development from his work in the foundations of mathematics which led to the Tractatus and continues through the middle period in which he largely rejected the view of language it contains. The remainder of the course focuses on the final stages of his thought contained in Philosophical Investigations and in On Certainty.

To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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History of Philosophy 1

Autumn Term 2018, Tuesdays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 2nd October

Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady.

‘What’s it all about then, guv?’ a taxi driver asked Bertrand Russell. This course gives a chronological survey of some the great Western philosophers who have formulated, and tried to solve, enduring puzzles – what reality is, who we are, how we should live. It traces the ongoing argument, and invites your contributions to it. Part 1 runs from the ancient Greeks to John Locke; Part 2 (in the Spring term) runs from Berkeley to Mill; Part 3 (in the Summer term) runs from Nietzsche to now. You can join any or all of these courses. See course-outline1 (Word doc) for more information.

To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Philosophies of Modern Life

Spring Term 2019, Mondays, 09:30 – 11:00, ten weeks starting 14th January

Course Tutor: John Holroyd

What ideas about human nature and how best to live, lie under the surface of modern western culture and its multi-cultures? We shall explore a range of ideologies that to a lesser or greater extent make up the ebb and flow of our conversation about these questions including aspects of Enlightenment philosophy, Marxism, evolutionary psychology, existentialism and some of Charles Taylor’s writings. Finally we shall examine some contrasting philosophies of multiculturalism including the views of Will Kymlicka and Martha Nussbaum.

To enrol, please e-mail John (johnholroyd100[at]gmail.com).

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Kierkegaard and Nietzsche

Spring Term 2019, Mondays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 14th January

Course Tutor: Mark Fielding

To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Emotions and the Self

Spring Term 2019, Mondays, 13:00 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 14th January

Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady.

When you are angry or sad are you just having physical sensations? Or are anger or sadness, instead, ways of perceiving the situation you are in? Are emotions a distortion of our true (rational) nature, or essentially part of us? The way in which different philosophers have differently reconciled the cognitive and sensation aspects of emotion has always been closely bound up with different notions of what it means to be human. We examine theories about the self and its emotions from Homer to Sartre. See course outline (Word doc) for more information.

To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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German Idealism Reading Group

Spring Term 2019, Mondays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 14th January

Course Tutor: Meade McCloughan.

This year, the group will be reading Hölderlin’s novel, Hyperion (1797/1799), then Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism, and Fichte’s The Vocation of Man (both from 1800).

To enrol, please e-mail Meade (meade[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Introduction to Philosophy

Spring Term 2019, Mondays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 14th January

Course Tutors: Mark Fielding and Jane O’Grady.

This is a general Introduction to Philosophy based on the individual course of the same name which is part of the University of London International Programme in Philosophy. The programme of study is tailored to the subject-centred approach based around this this text.

The programme is split into two stand alone courses, this term covering Meaning, Morality, and Art.

Should students wish to prepare for the University of London examination, each tutor is able to offer additional support covering the processes of writing essays. This is available at additional cost. Please contact Jane or Mark for more information.

To enrol, please either e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org) or e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org.

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Philosophy of Art from Kant to Derrida

Spring Term 2019, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 14th January

Course Tutor: Meade McCloughan.

This course will consider the philosophical aesthetics of Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, before going on to examine twentieth-century movements – phenomenology, hermeneutics, critical theory and post-structuralism – which developed from and reacted against them. Attention will be paid to the theories’ chosen exemplars from the visual arts, music and literature.

To enrol, please e-mail Meade (meade[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Existentialism in Literature and Film

Spring Term 2019, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 14th January

Course Tutor: Keith Barrett.

In the popular mind, existentialism is synonymous with the name of Jean-Paul Sartre, but Sartre, although brilliant, was a latecomer to existential thought, which was created by the great 19th century geniuses Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, and the pre-eminent philosopher of the early 20th century, Martin Heidegger. The course will examine the central ideas and themes of existential philosophy, illustrating them throughout by means of extracts from films, plays and novels – including Dostoevsky’s final novel, The Brothers Karamazov; Ingmar Bergman’s films The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries; Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot; and the novels, Nausea and The Outsider by Sartre and Camus respectively.

To enrol, please e-mail Keith (keith[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Key Questions in Philosophy

Spring Term 2019, Tuesdays, 09:00 – 11:00, ten weeks starting 15th January

Course Tutor: Rachel Paine.

This course is a taster course to give students the chance to explore key questions in philosophy: whether we have a free will, what it means to be the same person over time, and what contributes most to a flourishing or well-lived life. Aristotle, John Locke, David Hume, and John Stuart Mill will be among the philosophers whose work we will discuss.

To enrol, please e-mail Rachel (rachel.paine[at]gmx.com).

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History of Theatre and Philosophy 2

Spring Term 2019, Tuesdays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 15th January

Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer.

To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org).

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Kant Reading Group

Spring Term 2019, Tuesdays, 13:30 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 15th January

Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer.

An interactive reading group. This year we will study Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The term-fee is only £20, reflecting the shortness of the meetings.

To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org).

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Philosophy and Prejudice

Spring Term 2019, Tuesdays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 15th January

Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer.

To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org).

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History of Philosophy 2

Spring Term 2019, Tuesdays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 15th January

Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady.

From the Enlightenment to 1900. ‘Daring to know’ and the rule of reason, liberation from priests and kings – to the overruling of reason, rise of naturalism, and death of God. Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Romanticism, and Schopenhauer. See course-outline2 (Word doc) for more information.

To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Classics of Moral Philosophy: Aristotle’s Ethics

Spring Term 2019, Tuesdays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 15th January

Course Tutor: Sam Fremantle

To enrol, please e-mail Sam (sam[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Heidegger

Spring Term 2019, Tuesdays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 15th January

Course Tutor: Mark Fielding

Martin Heidegger is amongst the most influential and important thinkers of the 20th Century. The first part of the course covers his magnum opus, Being and Time (1927). We then move on to consider his later writings on technology, art, and language.

To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Late Twentieth Century Continental Philosophy

Summer Term 2019, Mondays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 29th April

Course Tutor: Mark Fielding

To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Philosophy of the Enlightenment

Summer Term 2019, Mondays, 13:00 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 29th April

Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady.

To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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German Idealism Reading Group

Summer Term 2019, Mondays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 29th April

Course Tutor: Meade McCloughan.

This year, the group will be reading Hölderlin’s novel, Hyperion (1797/1799), then Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism, and Fichte’s The Vocation of Man (both from 1800).

To enrol, please e-mail Meade (meade[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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The Self in Decline: Philosophy and Loss

Summer Term 2019, Mondays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 29th April

Course Tutor: Mark Fielding

This far-reaching course is an attempt to engage philosophically with issues surrounding loss. In particular, the idea of loss of self, typically encountered in cases of Alzheimer’s in particular, and dementia in general will be our starting point. There has been a relative lack of philosophical discussion of this topic, and the course aims to begin to remedy this lack of attention.

To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Classics of Moral Philosophy: Nietzsche’s Genealogy

Spring Term 2019, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 29th April

Course Tutor: Sam Fremantle

This course will undertake a guided reading of Nietzsche’s The Genealogy of Morals, covering either the entirety of the book, or at least the essential parts, depending on the pace the class finds comfortable. Time permitting, we shall go on to look at contemporary perspectives on Nietzsche’s ethics from philosophers such as Alasdair MacIntyre and Bernard Williams (depending on the preferences of the class). This course assumes no prior knowledge of Nietzsche’s Genealogy, or his other work, and is perfect for beginners, though those with prior knowledge should find it useful too.

To enrol, please e-mail Sam (sam[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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Love and Eros in Plato, Freud and Kristeva

Summer Term 2019, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 29th April

Course Tutor: Keith Barrett.

To enrol, please e-mail Keith (keith[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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The Language of Philosophy

Summer Term 2019, Tuesdays, 09:30 – 11:00, ten weeks starting 30th April

Course Tutor: John Heyderman.

This course is aimed at speakers of other languages, people with an interest in philosophy but without the language ability and confidence to participate fully in a typical class. It will be based around weekly readings of classic and contemporary texts, but also include teaching around the vocabulary and grammar of philosophy, including types of argument, fallacies, terms of art and different approaches to philosophy. Points of English grammar will be explained as we go along, as well as style and register, as demanded by participants.

To enrol, please e-mail John (jheyderman[at]gmail.com).

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History of Theatre and Philosophy 3

Summer Term 2019, Tuesdays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 30th April

Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer.

To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org).

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Kant Reading Group

Summer Term 2019, Tuesdays, 13:30 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 30th April

Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer.

An interactive reading group. This year we will study Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. The term-fee is only £20, reflecting the shortness of the meetings.

To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org).

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Philosophical Dinosaurs

Summer Term 2019, Tuesdays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 30th April

Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer.

To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org).

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Female Philosophers On Freedom

Summer Term 2019, Tuesdays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 30th April

Course Tutor: Rachel Paine.

This course will look at the theme of freedom as explored by often neglected female philosophers, including: Princess Elisabeth, whose correspondence with Descartes led to his producing his final treatise, The Passions of the Soul; Gabrielle Suchon, who anticipates existentialism; Emilie Du Chatelet, noted for her logical and scientific analyses of social mores; Mary Wollstonecraft, who provides a colourful account of social norms and the limitations they place on our ability to exercise our freedom. Hannah Arendt’s account of our nature as fundamentally free and of the necessity to think for ourselves if we are to reach our potential as free beings will also be considered.

To enrol, please e-mail Rachel (rachel.paine[at]gmx.com).

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Moral Philosophy and Applied Ethics

Summer Term 2019, Tuesdays, 18:00 – 20:00, ten weeks starting 30th April

Course Tutor: Shahrar Ali.

Are we genuinely capable of non-egoistic, altruistic action? What are our responsibilities to future generations? What claim do starving populations have on us? When, if at all, is torture justified? Is free speech an unconditional right? Is whistleblowing an act of greater corporate loyalty? Is lying worse than other forms of intentional deception? Should euthanasia be legalised in the UK? When is it legitimate, or required, to challenge authority? We will address these and other questions within a moral philosophical framework and test our intuitions about equality, obligation and rights.

To enrol, please e-mail Shahrar (shahrar[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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History of Philosophy 3: From Nietzsche — to Now

Summer Term 2019, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 30th April

Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady.

If God is dead, as Nietzsche claimed, what happens to truth and morality? We shall consider the re-making of values, humanity and truth — in Nietzsche’s ‘aristocratic radicalism’, John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism and feminism, William James’s pragmatism and Freud’s unconscious; in Heidegger, Sartre, Wittgenstein, Ayer, and in the current tortured debate on the mind-body problem. See course outline (Word doc) for more information.

To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org).

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