Frequently Asked Questions

      The courses : scope and content

    • WHAT IS THE PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY COURSE ?

      The aim of the course is to discover and experience our own true nature. So the first thing is to free ourselves from those things that hide it; and then we can begin to appreciate how it works in our daily lives. The theoretical part of the course supports this but is not an end in itself.

    • What is the course content ? What themes are addressed ?

      See the section "Practical Philosophy" on our website.

    • Is any prior knowledge needed ?

      No specific previous knowledge is needed, simply a good understanding of the language, in this case English, in which the course is given.

    • How does the course unfold?

      Each session of the course covers one or more topics. The course content is generated and produced by the School. It embraces the philosophical and spiritual heritage of humanity, drawing equally from Eastern and Western traditions. Concepts, quotations and texts which illustrate these are used as a basis for open discussion within groups.

      Each week specific practical exercises are suggested and students are encouraged to bring their own experience to discuss at group meetings.

      The weekly sessions themselves provide the opportunity to ask questions, form opinions and share experience, all within a framework based on the following principles:

        • Concerning the course content, neither accept nor reject what you hear but observe what happens in practice;
        • Contributions to discussion are made in the spirit of respect for each and everyone present;
        • The classes certainly encourage discussion but are not to be considered as debating chambers;
        • The personal confidentiality of any contributions made by students during the course sessions is maintained within the group.
    • Is there homework?

      There is no formal homework in the regular sense. However as part of the course's practical approach, students are invited to share the knowledge they acquire in daily life and to reflect on it. Such experience, brought to and discussed in the group, is invaluable to the progress of each student and to the group as a whole.

      For example, a very straightforward exercise in attention is proposed from the first time of attendance, which may be practiced each day. This exercise quietens the mind and provides complete rest two or three times a day.

    • What benefit can I expect from this course in philosophy?

      Life is often unpredictable and turbulent. We have a tendency to be at the mercy of external events and our state of mind, whether good or bad, can be too much dependent on them.

      Knowledge of the true Self, meditation and practical philosophy allow for a way of life free of such constraints.

      The course offers a deeper understanding of the nature of creation, practical steps to raise the level of consciousness, and the possibility of experiencing the peace and joy natural to our being.

      Such a rediscovery will have a positive effect on our efficiency and on our ability to take up our responsibilities in the world.

    • Are there exams?

      There are no exams - this is a practical course, and students are just encouraged to put what they hear into practice in daily life.

    • Are certificates or diplomas awarded ?

      No diplomas are awarded. On request a certificate of attendance can be made available.

    • Is there a further course, following the introduction to practical philosophy ?

      Yes. Subsequent courses develop subjects touched on in the Introductory Course; for example – wisdom, consciousness, reason, beauty, law and justice, and other universal principles. Selected topics are treated in more depth – for example, happiness, love, presence of mind, the development of wisdom in business life through care and intelligence, how to live in the world with philosophy.

      Three to four terms into the extended course there is the opportunity to begin meditation. This is an integral part of the philosophy practiced in the School.

    • Are there other classes besides philosophy ?

      The School worldwide offers not only classes in practical philosophy but also classes covering art, architecture, calligraphy, music, mathematics, dance, language, education, law and economics. In Belgium the School offers courses in Sanskrit, economics, the study of Plato and also of Christianity in the light of Advaita Philosophy ( the philosophy of unity).

    • What kind of meditation is meant ?

      This method of meditation is very simple and natural. It is based on the use of a "mantra" and comes to us from a long-standing Indian tradition. The practice of meditation begins following an initiation ceremony, accompanied with a moderate gift from the initiation candidate.

      Practical information : when, where, costs

    • When does a new course start ?

      Please see the «Enrolment page».

    • Where do the courses take place ?
      • School of Philosophy, rue Gachard 43, 1050 Bruxelles, Tél: 02 /640 07 27
      • School voor Filosofie, Van Schoonbekestraat 148, 2018 Antwerpen,
    • Time of classes ?
      • 19h30 start
      • 20h40 break
      • 21h00 second half
      • 22h00 end
    • What is the cost of attending a term's course ?

      Introductory course fees are €90 per person per term. Fees are fully refundable during the first three weeks of a term, for anyone not wishing or able to continue for any reason. There is a special rate - €40 - for people under 25.

      Fees include refreshments during the break and weekly summary notes.

      Fees for subsequent courses after the introductory term are 135 euros.

    • How do I pay ?

      Payment can be made immediately online, later by bank transfer, or by cash on the first evening from 19:00. Full details are on the «Enrolment page»

    • Can I pay with: "Training" vouchers ?

      No, we regret this is not possible.

    • What can I do if I do not want to continue further with the course ?
      The course fee is refunded unconditionally during the first three weeks of a term. The School cannot offer reimbursement after this period.
    • Are courses given in other languages ?

      In addition to courses given in English

      • Classes are also given in French at «Ecole de Philosophie », rue Gachard 43 1050 Bruxelles, Tél: 02 / 640 71 53 (delete repeated 02 / 640 71 53)
      • Classes are given in Dutch at locations in Antwerp and Brussels. Tel: 02 / 640 90 29

      For specific dates of the new term, please see the enrolment page.

      About the School of Philosophy

    • What is the School of Philosophy and how does it operate ?

      The School is a Belgian-registered charity and is non profit-making. It was founded in 1970 and is an affiliated organization of the School of Economic Science established in London in 1937.

      The School of Philosophy here in Belgium exists to help anyone searching for wisdom, for self-knowledge and for a deeper understanding of life and the world. It offers an environment where this can be studied, shared and experienced as well a meeting place for those seeking these essential aspects of life.

      The School does not only assist the development of the individual but seeks to promote well-being and justice within society. With this in mind, the School, also recognizing the importance of the individual's inner life, teaches and provides guidance in a method of meditation.

    • Who are the tutors ?

      The course material is given by those trained in the School of Philosophy. They bring both an intellectual understanding of the subjects dealt with and practical experience of their application in daily life. The tutors have followed the teaching of the School for some years and also practise meditation.

      Their professional experiences and qualifications are various and wide-ranging.

    • What was the parliamentary commission ?

      In summary, a Parliamentary Commission was set up in 1997 to examine the activities of a number of groups in Belgium. A limited and highly subjective input about the School of Philosophy, amongst 188 other organizations, was included, without the School being called to correct or respond to these opinions. The School remained on the subsequent “list” which was never approved by the Parliament and carries no official weight. However the School is still referred to on certain web sites, giving an unjustly negative bias.

      During the 40 years of its existence the School has never been subject to a single complaint and remains dedicated to the service of each individual and society at large; always respecting the rights and freedom of all.

    • How are the fees spent by the school ?

      The main items of expenditure for the School, an asbl, in order of importance are :

      • Publicity
      • Building expenses (energy, cleaning, maintenance...and rent of certain locations)
      • Maintenance of buildings (repairs, renovation...)
      • Administration (IT, website, office facilities,...)
      • Extras (flowers, refreshments,...)

      It should be noted that the School is able to run through the voluntary efforts of its course tutors and administrative staff.

    • How does the school of philosophy operate ?

      As required by law, the AGM (Annual General Meeting) of this non-profit School chooses an Administrative Council, which establishes the internal rules.

      The course content is outlined by the Head of the School in consultation with the course tutors and is approved by the Council.

      The course tutors and those involved in the running of the School are unpaid. Their motivation is based on the principle that the knowledge and wisdom which they have received should be passed on freely to others.

10-week course Summary week by week

1

PHILOSOPHY: THE WISDOM WITHIN

The nature of wisdom. A practical method to find inner peace and stillness. Awakening to the present, a simple exercise.

2

SELF- KNOWLEDGE

The key to wisdom. What it means to be true to ourselves. Mindfulness in all situations.

3

INCREASED CONSCIOUSNESS

Five levels of awareness. Accessing higher consciousness

4

LIVING IN THE PRESENT

The spirit of enquiry. Accessing the stillness within. The four states of attention.

5

LIVING JUSTLY

The six tyrants within us. Overcoming anger and fear.

6

THE THREE ENERGIES OF THE UNIVERSE

The nature of pleasure and pain. Discovering true freedom.

7

DEVELOPING REASON IN OURSELVES

Five levels of reason. Dropping limits and realising our potential. Experiencing deeper levels of being.

8

THE POWER OF BEAUTY

Beauty at physical and mental levels, and absolute beauty.

9

UNITY IN DIVERSITY

Experiencing greater unity in life. Causes of separation.

10

BEING TRUE TO OURSELVES

Revisiting “who am I?” The desire for truth. The way ahead. Living mindfully.

INTERESTED IN MORE?

Anyone wishing to continue their studies and practices are welcome to explore topics such as presence of mind, happiness and freedom in further terms at the School, and to be introduced to meditation.

Like to enrol?

Click here to reserve a place on the next introductory course starting Monday, 13th JANUARY 2020, in Brussels. The weekly sessions are held from 19:30 to 22:00 pm, including a refreshment break.

More info

OTHER LANGUAGES?

The Practical Philosophy course is given in English on Monday evenings. It is also give in French on Mondays, and in Dutch on Mondays (Antwerp) and Wednesdays (Brussels). Visit our French or Dutch language version websites for more information on dates, times and venues.

A TASTE OF PHILOSOPHY

For the next 10-week Introduction to Practical Philosophy course, fees are reduced to €90 (from the usual termly rate of €135). A reduced fee of €40 applies to under 25s and full-time students. This fee is fully refundable any time during the first three weeks for anyone who does not wish or is unable to continue for any reason.