owl close (2)

Wisdom, wonder and well-being

Thinking Through Philosophy Social Seminars

Here are some of the things that people think about Philosophy: It’s difficult. It’s pointless. It’s archaic. It’s boring. It’s dangerous. It’s niche. It will drive you bonkers. It’s dead. It’s mind-blowing. It’s fascinating. It’s absorbing. It’s therapeutic. It’s disciplined. It’s simply the best conversation you will ever have.

If you have ever talked intensely with someone who not only ‘gets’ what you’re saying but wants to take your ideas and run with them, then you’ll know how exhilarating that feeling of being mentally stretched can be. With this in mind, author, teacher and social entrepreneur Belinda Seaward launched Thinking Through Philosophy, a series of social seminars that invite people to engage in meaningful conversation through ancient and contemporary philosophical ideas.

The search for engaged, vital and alive discussion first drew Belinda to study Philosophy at Middlesex University as a mature student after a successful career as a journalist and author. For the past 15 years, she has taught Philosophy and Ethics at a number of schools and institutions in the South West including Torquay Boys’ Grammar School, Teignmouth Community School, where she was head of Philosophy, and Stover School where she currently teaches part-time.

Belinda is interested in considering ancient ideas from a 21st century perspective. She says: ‘Many people do some philosophy every day without realising it. We are always questioning our beliefs and values and sometimes clinging onto them rather rigidly. Philosophy is a way of opening up the mind and this can be profoundly life-enhancing.’

 Thinking Through Philosophy groups meet monthly and unlike government funded adult education courses there are no targets to meet or forms to fill in. No one is ever given a number. The seminars are open to people of all ages and walks of life. Members on low incomes pay what they can afford.

Members so far have included a retired Naval captain, local government workers, a nurse, a number of psychotherapists and mental health workers, a prize-winning poet, a shop worker, a painter, a post office worker, a vicar, several students, a farmer, a retired teacher, a self-employed property developer, a district nurse, a linguist, and a former light-house keeper.

Belinda Says: ‘Members value the opportunity to meet people they wouldn’t otherwise talk to. The style of philosophy I’m developing is social and non-confrontational. One of the principles of true philosophy is that people must respect the views of others even though they may vehemently disagree. It’s not about point scoring. Often the best philosophers are children whose minds are still very open and curious.’

Alongside her teaching, Belinda is a published author whose books explore the themes of identity, adventure and authentic living. Her most recent book The Beautiful Truth explores courage and honour in war-time Poland. She is currently writing a philosophical memoir exploring the transformative influence of friendship on our lives.


“Better than shouting at the telly.” Ivan 

“I have often thought that it would be nice to have a friendship group who talk about serious stuff, but with laughs, and without being too intense, or political or competitive and the tone of these is just right. The balance of teaching and discussion seems bang on.” Mike

“The way the sessions have been organised with time given to both the introduction to the theme of the discussion and for discussion has been well planned.” Gordon 

“It was a very good experience for me to stir up ageing grey matter and to hear well-advocated different views, and just to think. Your summaries of many great works leave me with a continuing source of re-reading and, I hope, further study.” Dick 

“We’ve done a lot of adult courses and this is one of the best.” Nicole and Roger – 

“I am always interested in facilitation, and loved how you presented the session; really good balance.” Sarah 

Belinda would like to hear from you if you are interested in developing a more philosophical and open mind-set among your teams at your organisation or business.

To find out more or arrange a taster session, get in touch. Telephone 01626 778049 or 07968904256

Dates and Details 2016/2017:

The Quaker Meeting House, Ashburton TQ13 7QE

Thursday 22nd September 2016 7pm – An introduction to the mind-body problem

Tuesday 18th October 2016 7pm – Aspects of the body in philosophy. Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Amy Cuddy

Thursday 24th November 2016 7pm – The ideas of Martin Heidegger

Tuesday 13th December 2016 7pm – The ideas of Edmund Husserl

Thursday 19th January 2017 7pm – What is thinking? The ideas of Thomas Nagel

Tuesday 21st February 2017 7pm – How can we create meaning in life?

Thursday 16th March 2017 7pm – The question of death?

Tuesday 25th April 2017 7pm – Theories on life after death

Thursday 25th May 2017 7pm – Consciousness 

Tuesday 20th June 2017 7pm – Conscience – the philosophy of guilt and shame

For further details and to join any of the seminars email: or Telephone 07968 904256 or 01626 778049

Cost: £10 per seminar or donation for those on low incomes.



4 responses

25 11 2014
Kevin Walker

Hi Belinda

I note your proposed course at Sidmouth is no longer on Kennaway web-site – are you doing it elsewhere?


26 11 2014

Hello Kevin,

I think it is just the taster material that has been taken down from the website. The philosophy course at Kennaway House is is starting on Monday January 19th from 5pm to 7pm. I will email you details. Best wishes.

1 02 2017
anna miners

is there anything in the dawlish area please?

2 02 2017

Hi Anna,

I’m running a monthly course in Ashburton this year. If that’s not too far for you to travel, you are most welcome to join the group. The next seminar is Tuesday February 21st at 7pm Quaker Meeting House, Foales Court, a little alley alongside the Ashburton deli. The theme of this series is mind and body.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: