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It’s October now, which means autumn is in full swing and another round of online classes is about to begin. This autumn’s course is on the theme of freedom in its various guises—and for more on those guises, see the mini-essay below. The Thursday evening class (evening in North America, that is) is close to full so I encourage you to register soon if you want a spot in that class. There’s still a good amount of room in the earlier classes on Wednesday or Thursday—late morning or early afternoon in North America or evening on the other side of the Atlantic. There’s more room in the Thursday class than the Wednesday class.
We’re holding introductory meetings this coming week and then get started in on the course material the following week. We begin with the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, who urged his followers to find freedom by distinguishing what they could control from what they couldn’t and to stop fussing over the latter stuff.
I offer a no-questions-asked full refund to anyone who decides the course isn’t right for them up to the start of the second week of class, so you can learn about Epictetus at no risk. Whether that costs you money is one of the things within your control. I also offer a pay-what-you-can option for people who can’t afford the full course fee. Just reply to this email if you’d like to exercise that option.
In the past month, I’ve also been developing two new initiatives. The first is that my website has a new section dedicated to talks and workshops. I started teaching online classes at a time when in-person gatherings were out of the question. As pandemic restrictions loosen, I’d like to talk philosophy with more people face-to-face. If you belong to an organization that might benefit from a bit of philosophical dialogue, let me know! I’m happy to tailor presentations to the needs of your group.
The second initiative is that I’m gearing up to offer one of my past courses, An Introduction to Philosophy in Ten Dangerous Ideas, for self-directed study. If you missed the course last winter, or if you want to study philosophy at your own pace without the scheduling constraints of a weekly discussion group, this might be for you. I’ll make an announcement later this month when the course is up and ready to go.
The other piece of philosophy news from the last month is that I’ve added a post to the starting points section of my blog—an explainer on the difference between animal welfare and animal rights in a philosophy context.
I enjoyed a number of local adventures in the past month, but none quite as special as a four-day kayaking trip in the Broken Group islands on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The rugged shorelines and ancient forests on that coast inspire awe and wonder—good fodder for philosophical reflection. These are the traditional lands of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, whose philosophy featured in this summer’s course on wisdom from the modern world.