The School of Practical Philosophy is a not-for-profit, volunteer organisation. Except for a small, administrative staff, all work and tuition in the School is undertaken on an unpaid, voluntary basis.

The School of Practical Philosophy is part of an international association of organisations, each of which are legally independent but which all have their origin in the London School of Economic Science, and share a common interest and bond through the same philosophical teaching.

A recent initiative has been Distance Learning programs, making the School’s courses available online to anyone anywhere in the world.

The School’s Vision

First of all the primary aim of the School is freedom. The sort of practical freedom which allows a person to simply be themselves, with the confidence that comes from complete self-knowledge.

The secondary aim of the School depends on the first aim. With the confidence that comes from self-knowledge, individuals use their talents to uplift the communities in which they live. As a result, their horizons become broader, their world larger, their sense of themselves more universal.

These aims are fulfilled through two kinds of work: work with and on one’s own self; and work with and for others.

Mindful Wisdom and the courses which follow provide the knowledge and the tools for these two kinds of work, in a step-by-step, systematic and inspiring way.

This is without a doubt the most fulfilling undertaking I have committed to for many years. Completely in line with my intended view of becoming a better person. Thank you - Craig

The School of Practical Philosophy in Australia

The School in London expanded geographically, firstly throughout the UK and then internationally. The School of Practical Philosophy opened its doors in Australia, in Sydney, in 1967. Since then, Sydney opened branches in Newcastle, Canberra, another in Lismore, followed by Central Coast and Kangaroo Valley in 2017.

The Melbourne School opened as a legally independent organisation in 1977, Perth in 1991 and Brisbane in 1994. The Schools in these capital cities have opened branches in their respective States.

As a result, today courses in philosophy and other subjects, are available all over the world.

Independent Schools for children

Furthermore, the School of Practical Philosophy has several independent Day-Schools for children K to Year 6. These have been founded in London, New York, Johannesburg, South Africa, Sydney and Melbourne. All these schools have their own extensive events and open days and tours programs.

John Colet School in Belrose (NSW) was founded 25 years ago and today has a reputation as one of the best primary schools in New South Wales and across Australia. Most noteworthy, the school has a unique Shakespeare program where children for kindergarten onwards are taught to recite and perform Shakespeare plays and sonnets. The results are remarkable.

For more information about the John Colet Primary School visit their website.


Origins in the economics of Henry George

The London School of Economic Science has its origins in the 1930s, against the background of severe economic depression. Its founder, Leon MacLaren, was inspired by the work of the nineteenth century economist Henry George. George held that everyone owns what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all humanity.

In 1937, MacLaren founded the Henry George School of Economics, the first public courses being held in the same year with the active support of his father, Andrew MacLaren MP. The school was renamed the School of Economic Science in 1942.

Now, there are Schools in 18 countries and 50 cities around the world.

Development of philosophy

Leon MacLaren continued to develop the courses in economics, writing ‘The Nature of Society’ as a textbook. The last chapter of this book reflects his search for something not altogether accessible within the realm of economics. This led to an interest in philosophy – ‘the love of wisdom’ – as a means of gaining deeper insights into the origin and natural laws governing humanity.

After coming in contact with the Study Society in the early 50s, he discovered the teachings of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff. He was taken by the similarities between diagrams developed for the economics courses and those used by Ouspensky.

The first public courses in philosophy started in 1954, and within a few years philosophy became the central subject of study and practice within the School. Economics courses have continued and there remains today a thriving economics faculty within the School.


The arrival of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in London in 1959 brought the next stage of development, meditation. Longstanding students of the School took up meditation shortly after and continues to be an important part of our teaching.

Maharaja Shri Shantananda Saraswati

In the mid 60s, the School made contact with a leading figure of the Vedantic tradition in India, Maharaja Shri Shantananda Saraswati. The School continues to receives invaluable guidance in the study and practice of philosophy.

Through this connection, the School was introduced to the universal teaching known as Advaita. Advaita means literally ‘universal’ or ‘devoid of duality’. Since the Maharaja’s death in 1997, similar guidance is provided by his successor, Shri Vasudevananda Saraswati.

Leon MacLaren died in 1994 and is succeeded by Donald Lambie, a barrister.