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Philosophy is a subject that few of us in this country were taught at school. Because of this, many people think of it as a difficult, dry, obscure, academic subject that is only taught in universities. And, in this country at least, that's rather how it's been.

However, arguably, philosophy isn't really a subject at all, but an activity to be engaged in with others - an activity that is enjoyable, exciting and "therapeutic".

Indeed, Socrates, the man who is often regarded as the father of Western philosophy, thought of it in precisely this way. He was not some refined academic, nor did he live a life of splendid seclusion in some ivory tower. He was actually a rather shabby looking man, who wandered around the streets and squares of ancient Athens. He didn't write learned books, in fact as far as we know he never wrote anything. His way of doing philosophy was to approach people who were going about their daily business and invite them to think about their lives - asking personal and provocative questions.

Some people were irritated, many walked away from their encounter with him confused - unsure whether aspects of their lives, that they had hitherto taken for granted, had the meaning or value that they had assumed. But if they had been set thinking, Socrates was happy. He thought of people who went through life "on automatic pilot", never thinking things through, or examining the value of things, were wasting their lives. Such people weren't fully alive.

Philosophy in Huddersfield aims to provide a hub for philosophical, thinking activities in the town and around, as well as forming links with activities and groups in surrounding areas and in the wider world. Thinking groups are currently springing up all around the country: our THINK Huddersfield group meeting at The Sportsman pub in town is just one of the many PIPs (Philosophy in Pubs) groups around the UK. We aim to help get people together (the social aspect of the PIPs groups is very much valued by their participants) and to think and talk about things that are often vitally important but not usually discussed in the wider world.

And, it's not "just about thinking"! Thinking philosophically develops very useful skills which we can use in our personal and working lives. It promotes health and wellbeing. It liberates us from unhelpful unquestioned assumptions that we've taken on board from the media, our parents, or people with bad intentions. In a world in which we are bombarded with information, we can better sort out the good stuff from all the rubbish. It can help us take control of our lives, both as individuals and collectively, leading to constructive action.

Check us out! Come to one of the regular THINK sessions in the pub (just sit and listen if you want). No experience of philosophy is required. But if you'd like to learn about philosophy and thinking skills attend one of our planned workshops, special interest groups, or courses. One-to-one philosophical counselling sessions may even be available in future.

A warm welcome awaits!

The Sportsman