The Philosophical Society of England
The Philosophical Society of England was founded in 1913 by a group of largely amateur 'philosophers' concerned to provide an alternative to the formal university-based discipline. The society has passed through a series of changes in direction, including a period during which it offered distance-learning courses in philosophy (although it no longer does today). These courses caused a minor academic tussle in the 1950s over the status of its diplomas of associateship, triggered by an il-advised attempt to award them to all the then UK university Philosophy Professors an honorary fellowship (FPhS).
In the words of its founding statement, The Philosophical Society of England exists 'to promote the study of practical philosophy among the general public'. It aims to bring together professional philosophers and non-professionals, to bring philosophical ideas and problems to the public attention, and to encourage wider discussion of both traditional and topical philosophical issues. To carry out this function, the Society publishes its own journal, The Philosopher, sets up local groups for lectures and discussions and holds regular conferences, often free of charge. The President is Professor Brenda Almond, well known for her work in the cause of 'Applied Philosophy' and Applied Ethics in the United Kingdom.
The Society has never aligned itself with any particular school of philosophy, nor is it a cover for any political, ideological, religious or esoteric movement or interests. Membership is open to all interested persons who share the Society's aims. Members are also entitled to participate in the running of the Society, to set up and join local groups, to review recent philosophy books for the Journal, and vote at the Annual General Meeting.
The current General Secretary of the Society is Michael Bavidge.