Wood Engraving
Letters to My Philosophy Students

C O N T E N T S
Letters to George |  Letters to Margaret |  Letters to Daniel |  Letters to Barry

As Director of Studies of Pathways to Philosophy, I have had the privilege of being mentor to many hundreds of distance learning philosophy students from around the world.

Since 1995, when the Pathways distance learning program was launched, I have written thousands of letters in response to essays and course work which my students have sent me. I am presenting a sample from the first three years, which I hope will be of instructional value as well as casting light on the early development of Pathways. The names of students have been changed.

Under each name below you will find a list of links in chronological order. Each link provides a brief description of the philosophical topic or problem. You can browse through the lists looking for topics that interest you, or you can start with the first letter in a list and work your way through.

If you have an appetite for more, you can browse through my letters in response to student philosophy essays from 2001 onwards at Electronic Philosopher. There's also an Electronic Philosopher Index. The dates in the index refer to the time when the letters were added to the archive rather to when they were originally written.

Geoffrey Klempner

Director of Studies


Letters to George

Pathways Program A: Introduction To Philosophy
The Possible World Machine

Different kinds of possible worlds

Do human beings have free will?

Mind, body and the 'life force'

Scepticism as a contribution to knowledge

Do the androids in Blade Runner have minds?

Personal identity and Ridley's clone

Different reasons for being moral

'What is Truth?', jested Pilate

Fatalism and the air-raid shelter

Is the chair really there?

The real nature of the objects of perception

Can there be two infinite spaces?

Absolute and relational space and time

Amazement that 'I' am here at all

Reality of the past and the nowness of now

back


Letters to Margaret

Pathways Program F: Metaphysics
The Ultimate Nature of Things

Idea soup

Appearance, fantasy and illusion

Concrete and abstract 'objects'

Struggling with subjectivism

Idealism and Indian philosophy

The 'permanent' in perception

Taking solipsism seriously

Michael Dummett on 'realism'

'Realism' versus 'anti-realism'

Searching for a 'foundation' in metaphysics

Do Leibniz's monads have feelings?

Our place in the boundless universe

What did Dr Johnson mean by kicking the stone?

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Letters to Daniel

Pathways Program D: Philosophy of language
Language and the World

Language and different belief systems

Different ways in which human beings share a nature

What makes a piece of writing philosophical?

Frege's notion of a 'sense'

What makes a name refer to a particular individual?

'Reality is whatever determines life experiences'

The meaning of '...is true'

Truth and the progress of civilization

Language as a means of social control

Michael Dummett's book on Frege

How the sense of self and 'I' arise

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Letters to Barry

Pathways Program E: Moral Philosophy
Reason, Values and Conduct

Why should I be moral?

Giving in to the temptation to have another beer

How can moral judgements be true, if there are real moral dilemmas?

How the murderer in The Vanishing proved he had free will

Is immorality on the increase? Should we do a survey?

Believing the universe revolves around you

The idea of moral signposts

The disinterested calculation of consequences

The clash between solipsism and anti-solipsism

Solipsism and anti-solipsism revisited

The relation between values and morals

Negotiating between my value perspective and the perspectives of others

What it means to recognize the other

How can the abortionist have a moral dialogue with the anti-abortionist?

Questioning moral 'truth' and factual 'truth'

Why should I help the hiker who didn't bother to bring a map?

The slipperiness of slippery slope arguments

If animals can't be moral, why should we be moral to them?

All kinds of limits to ethical theory

Animal language and animal consciousness

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  Pathways teaching materials © G. Klempner 1995–2014
  'Wood Engraving' © Julia Saltiel 1999