Our History

The School of Philosophy in Scotland is a branch of the School of Economic Science, which was formed in London during the 1930s by a small group of founders who were dismayed by the poverty and despair of the great depression.  The study of philosophy began during the 1950s, when it was recognised that no deep understanding of economics could be achieved without a similar understanding of the human condition and potential.  The Scottish School was established during the 1970s, and nowadays it is a thriving organisation running regular classes in philosophy in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ayr and Perth.  Economics was first offered in Scotland during the 1990s.

During the 1960s, the School’s founder, Mr Leon MacLaren, made contact with Shri Shantananda Saraswati, a leading proponent of the system of Advaita (literally “non-dual”) philosophy in India.  Their subsequent conversations continued for almost 30 years, and their content has profoundly influenced the philosophy offered by the School.  Advaita philosophy is not specifically “Indian”, neither is it a religion, but it is regarded as an expression of a universal philosophy with no cultural or historical limits – the philosophia perennis (perennial philosophy) of western writers.  As such, the School continues to study, learn and teach from a great many of the world’s philosophies.  Our present Senior Tutor, Donald Lambie, continues the conversation with Shantananda’s successor, Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati.

More details on the history and background of the School of Philosophy Scotland can be found on the website of our parent body: www.schooleconomicscience.org.


thought for the week

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.  

Thich Nhat Hanh   (1926 – )  

Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk