Introduction

      This introductory online course in philosophy engages the student in the actual practice of philosophy through philosophy's quintessential method: dialectical interchange.

      While studying the material of the course, the reader engages in dialectical interchange with the author of the text. The reader and the author practice philosophy in the sense of actively working in, engaging in, participating in a particular activity or profession.

      Philosophia, filosofia the original Platonic tradition, is translated into English as "philosophy." Contemporary academic philosophy is only the fossilized remains of the genuine tradition called philosophia, now often perverted into mere linguistic study of words.

      Philosophy (the love of and search for wisdom) can only be practiced as an active learning enterprise--as in this course. Philosophy is not something that you can learn through merely attending classes in the academic pretense now called "philosophy."

      It's necessary to overcome the conditioned assumption that philosophia would necessarily always have been in visible operation in the West. Even now, the capitalist cabal that seized political, economic, and social control of America in the early decades of the twentieth century, makes it impossible for a genuine tradition to operate completely openly in the West. The cabal's various religious, political, and economic fellow-travelers have been busy for decades eradicating whatever heretics appear, excluding anything that doesn't fit its Machiavellian and Academic Procrustean beds.

      It's a serious question as to how many people could now undertake a genuine study of philosophia. As products of the academic tradition, most have become locked into the "banking model" of non-learning, as Paulo Freire 1 so aptly describes it, in which the instructor merely deposits "facts" in passive students. Ordinary teachers would find it difficult to engage in any authentic search for wisdom because they are habituated to pontificating (not searching) and students now demand the easy method of non-learning in which they do no more than memorize "facts" (opinions) and blather during so-called "discussions."

      This course uses the author's specially designed methodology termed "situational learning."

"This new technique of teaching and learning presents situations which provide the student a certain form of experience that can assist in our self-transformation. Of course the situations do not possess a mechanistic magic; they cannot change us automatically. We must use them in order to explore and transform ourselves. At the same time, however, the form of experience the situations provide can begin to affect us in ways which we may not at first recognize. As we participate in the situational learning experiences, we may find ourselves changing in ways which our old categories and feelings cannot explain."

Norman D. Livergood, "Situational Learning," Humanist Educator, 1977

     This introductory course in philosophy is part of a total curriculum 2 that includes six additional books, which you should read while completing the course assignments:

  1. The Perennial Tradition: Philosohy is one of a number of embodiments of the Perennial Tradition.

  2. Progressive Awareness: Critical Thinking, Self-Awareness and Critical Consciousness

  3. Portals to Higher Consciousness

  4. Realizing a New Culture

  5. The New Commonwealth: building cooperative communities

  6. Rediscovering Plato and the Mystical Science of Dialectic

      As you read and study the material presented in this online philosophy course, you'll interact with the author through specially designed tests 3 that will determine how well you are understanding and assimilating the ideas and exercises.

      You are asked to master each segment of the course before proceeding to the next segment. Some segments involve your sending written assignments or test results to the instructor (via the designated email address).

      If you succeed in completing this online course, you become eligible to participate in a procedure specially designed by the author: online dialectical interchange. Such interchange is only appropriate after the student has completed all segments of this online course.

    Your first assignment is to study this material and complete these testing procedures:

  1. The Genuine Essence of Philosophy
    After completing your study of the material, complete this testing procedure.

  2. Platonic Dialectic
    After completing your study of the material, complete this testing procedure.

  3. Progressive Awareness
    After completing your study of the material, complete this testing procedure.






Notes:

1 Paulo Freire, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed

2 In the context of this course, "curriculum" means: programme or plan of activities (study, personal transformation, progressive initiatives, etc.)

3 To test for genuine understanding--an attainment much higher than mere memorization--a test must go beyond the True or False, Multiple Choice, or Essay formats. Authentic understanding of ideas can be evaluated using Agree or Disagree tests. Students do not merely indicate whether an answer is true or false or delineate what they take to be the "right" answer. Students are asked whether a statement agrees or disagrees with a particular reading. This tests their actual understanding of the material, since awareness of whether a statement agrees or disagrees with instructional material requires that the student understand the material.