Practical Philosophy Course (in-person)

Thu Jan 20, 19:00 - Sat Jan 22, 13:00
School of Practical Philosophy

Back by popular demand, this course will be held in-person from our school in Claremont, Cape Town.

This is an engaging 10-session course considering philosophical ideas and questions affecting our everyday lives.

Do any of us really know who we are? Or why?

  • For thousands of years, philosophy has been searching for answers and seeking the truth in everything.

  • Through Practical Philosophy, we seek understanding not through theory, but from our own direct experience. Living life to the full. 

Over 6000 Capetonians have completed these courses in Practical Philosophy.


  • Was R820 for 10 weeks - now R560 for the full 10-week in-person course, including refreshments.


  • 20 Jan 2022 at 7pm (and for the following 9 weeks on Thursday evenings)
  • or
  • 22 Jan 2022 at 1pm (and for the following 9 weeks on Saturday afternoons)

Course format:

  • Sessions are once a week (either mornings or evenings), and last for approximately 1.5 - 2 hours.
  • Students follow a set curriculum but there is ample time for questions and lively discussion


Who is this course for?

  • People seeking practical tools for empowerment and self-mastery & self discovery.
  • Are you needing simple and proven ways to reduce the stresses in your life?
  • Have you ever asked the question, "who am I?" or "why am I here?"
  • For those who wish to increase their levels of awareness.
  • An opportunity to meet like-minded people.

Who facilitates these courses?

  • The School of Practical Philosophy was started in Cape Town in 1972.
  • The school is a non-profit public-benefit organisation.
  • The tutors are fellow practical philosophers don't receive any remuneration for teaching.
  • Students' fees pay for premises, administration, advertising, etc.  

What about our COVID concerns?

  • We are very mindful about the risks associated with holding in-person events.
  • We follow regulations and all the good common-sense practices (sanitising, social distancing, etc)
  • Group sizes are limited to minimise risk.
  • Only 1 or 2 groups will be at our school premises at a time.
  • We are aware that many people are high-risk and would urge them to rather attend one of our Zoom-based online courses.
  • For those people who are now open for in-person events, with the opportunity for interaction and meeting people, this course is for you.

The Course Outline:

(see curriculum tab above for more)

Week 1 - The wisdom within

Week 2 - Know thyself

Week 3 - Being awake

Week 4 - The present moment

Week 5 - Living justly

Week 6 - The Threefold Energy

Week 7 - The light of reason

Week 8 - The power of beauty

Week 9 - Unity in diversity

Week 10 - The desire for truth

Listen to what a student recently discovered, while taking this course:

Some FAQs

How is the course run?

  • A tutor presents material, and leads a discussion based on what arises.
  • Being practical rather than academic, the emphasis is on personal knowledge.
  • Students are encouraged neither to accept nor reject the ideas put forward, but to test them in practice for themselves, in the light of their own experience.
  • In this way, for those who wish, the whole week between sessions can become a learning opportunity.
  • As the course continues, the most vivid and valuable part of the evening meetings is often sharing what has been seen in daily life between individual sessions.

Do I need any previous qualifications?

  • No. The course is intended for everyone, regardless of education, occupation, race, political or religious belief.

What does ‘Practical Philosophy’ mean?

  • The course is practical in the sense that it is designed to be of direct use in our everyday lives.
  • The intention is to stimulate enquiry and through this expand the way we look at the world and ourselves.

Where can I find our more about the School of Practical Philosophy?

Where are you based?

  • We have branches in Gauteng, KZN and in 15 other countries worldwide (details on our website)

Week 1 - The wisdom within

  • What is practical philosophy? Philosophy means the love of wisdom.
  • Our course is intended to show how philosophy can help us enjoy richer, less stressful and more useful lives.
  • This opening session considers these aims, and introduces simple exercises in mindfulness and the application of wisdom you can practise in daily life.




Week 2 - Know thyself

  • Who or what am I? What is my potential?
  • Who am I, really? My body? My emotions? My strongly held beliefs? My soul? Possibly all of these? Possibly none?
  • Such questions have preoccupied philosophers down the ages. We look at practical ways to explore who we really are and how to tap our true potential.




Week 3 - Being awake

  • What is our state of awareness? Why does it fluctuate during the day?
  • Often the most notable quality of wise people is their alertness to the subtleties of a situation. They are awake, perceptive and curious.
  • We look at deeper levels of awareness, and consider how we may become more awake to ourselves, our surroundings, and the events we meet.




Week 4 - The present moment

  • Living in the now, mindfulness. What is the potential of the present moment?
  • We review our own experience of attention through a model featuring attention centred, captured, open and scattered, and how these each relate to the past, present and future.
  • We examine the extraordinary brightness and freedom naturally available in the present moment.




Week 5 - Living justly

  • Plato’s views on justice.
  • What does it mean to live justly? According to Plato, justice and injustice do not start ‘out there’. They begin within us.
  • For justice to prevail, Plato suggests that we must learn to avoid being ‘tyrannised’ by our passions and fears to the extent they overrule our reason.




Week 6 - The Threefold Energy

  • The Vedic model of three fundamental energies.
  • Sometimes we seem not to have enough energy, or the wrong kind. A wise person can act consistently despite these varying conditions.
  • We consider how to recognise differing energies, how to gain and conserve them and how to use them wisely.




Week 7 - The light of reason

  • What is reason? How can it enrich our lives?
  • We look at guidelines for Socratic dialogue and how to use them.
  • Developing reason in decision-making and action are also discussed, with practical applications.
  • Everyone has the faculty of reason and we can all use it and develop it. 




Week 8 - The power of beauty

  • What is beauty? Is there such a thing as absolute beauty?
  • Beauty has the capacity to open the heart and bring delight.
  • In this session we discuss our direct experience of beauty in its different form: of the sensory world, of thought, of feelings, of the inner nature, and of conduct.




Week 9 - Unity in diversity

  • Looking for the common thread in life. What is the effect of finding unity?
  • When we look around, we see enormous diversity in nature.
  • The wise person looks for the unifying factor: that which allows all this apparent diversity to be seen as part of a single whole.




Week 10 - The desire for truth

  • What is truth? How does the desire for truth show itself?
  • Practical philosophy is about discovering the truth of things – not theoretically, but in our own experience.
  • In this final session we look back and ask ourselves how our search for truth has fared as the term has progressed.


Additional information

Age restriction Family friendly
Refund policy Refunds allowed (view policy)


Practical Philosophy Course (in-person)
School of Practical Philosophy
20 Talana Rd, Claremont, Cape Town, 7708
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