Internet distance learning in Aristotelean/Thomist philosophy

I had a note from some people who have started a great program, potentially very useful.

What I was sent is too long to post, but here are a few items to let you know essentially what they are about.

First, there is a group who want to restore training in Aristotelean/Thomist philosophy.  Therefore, it is about the restoration of critical thinking.

Second, they are going to offer courses through internet distance learning.

The International Society of Scholastics was founded in 2005 by students of the Roman Pontifical Universities in collaboration with noted Scholastic philosophers at the Vatican and worldwide.

We are an intellectual association committed to restoring the philosophic doctrines, didactic principles and scientific synthesis of the greatest masters of the classical universities, the Scholastics.  It is our purpose to reestablish the Scholastic synthesis in all speculative and practical fields as offering the normative model for rational inquiry and practical activity that results in personal perfection, economic stability, and political faultlessness.

With a strong emphasis on Logic, the division and subordination of the sciences, and strict methodology, we defend our attention to detail with the axiom:

‘A small error in principle is a large error in conclusion.’

Our courses in philosophical science aim to make Scholasticism available in its classical, unadulterated form; educational materials that follow not only the content of traditional philosophy, but its structure as well.

For further Society details, please visit the ‘about us’ pages on our website,  There you will find our Constitution, principles, officers, goals, and more.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email us:

About the courses….


Sign up for the Sapientis online education program and soon you will be sharing a cyber-classroom with scholars from the United States, China, Brazil, New Zealand, Ireland, England, and elsewhere in an effort to master the Scholastic synthesis!

Currently, we’re offering courses in Scholastic Logic and Ethics.  Eventually we’ll be adding Natural Philosophy (including Philosophical Psychology), Economics, Politics, and Metaphysics.  However, we strongly recommend that students begin with the course in Logic.  As Aristotle noted, it is absurd to search for knowledge and the method of acquiring it at the same time. …

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Discipulus Humilis says:

    Sounds excellent. Now to find $250 lying around.

  2. MikeM says:

    That just made my day. I was just talking this weekend about the problems resulting from a lack of grounding in Aristotelian, and therefore Thomist, thinking among people today.

    Since I’m a full time student already, I won’t be able to participate, but I’ll definitely forward it around.

  3. Jack Hughes says:

    Sounds great, will probebly take a course next year if its offered, until then I’m tracking down dusty out of print books by guys with S.J and O.P after their names.

  4. Craig says:

    I just asked for a spot. This is exactly what I was looking for this last weekend. Thanks FrZ, next time you are in town, stop by for a drink or seven.

  5. Allan S. says:

    I was unable to find any information about program accredidation or academic recognition.

    Caveat emptor.

  6. Catherine says:

    For those looking for well-established and orthodox theological distance learning, I must recommend The Catholic Distance University ( I’m about 2/3 of the way through a dual graduate program there in theology and catechetics. They offer many courses, including Aristotelean/Thomist philosophy. The writings of St. Thomas and St. Augustine, along with a multitude of Church documents are included in most major courses. (Sorry for the shameless plug, but I couldn’t let this opportunity get away.) God bless.

  7. jas548 says:

    Looks interesting. Their website design could definitely use some work, but the content seems solid.

    Makes we want to use this program for homeschooling my kids.

    As far as great Catholic, online higher-education, this program starting up looks to be wonderful. Michael Barber is both brilliant and orthodox:

  8. Clara says:

    I have to say, I cringe a little at the equating of Aristotelian/Thomist philosophy to “critical thinking.” Of course, many things can be meant by “critical thinking”, and I certainly do agree that an Aristotelian and Thomist education is both commonsensical, and the best way to train one’s rational faculties. I suspect that’s more or less what Fr. Z means. The trouble is that “critical thinking” is such an educational buzz word (or buzz phrase, as the case may be) and I find that it is usually viewed in contrast to the kind of thinking that involves actual content. People regard “critical thinking” as being something like logic — an abstract set of skills that can be effectively applied to almost anything. Aristotelianism certainly isn’t *that.*

    I’m sure that’s not what Fr. Z means by it. But I’d still advise caution about the free use of that term. I *hate* it when people say that my discipline (philosophy) is really about “critical thinking”; nine times out of ten what they mean is “I’m sure you’re not one of those dogmatic people who wants to ramble on about *truth*; you’re just teaching the youngsters certain tricks of logic and rhetoric that will help them out in life no matter what they might happen to believe.”

    No. That is *not* the point of philosophy.

  9. Geremia says:

    Thank you for the link, Fr. Z!

    Let me summarize what Clara said: There are true and false philosophies. Scholasticism/Thomism is true. Ying-yang, dualistic philosophies, Manicheanism, relativism, fideism, rationalism, positivism, etc., are false.

  10. Clara says:

    Well, yes. But also, the teaching of the former doesn’t only involve training in a particular set of skills. There is essential *content* that must also be transmitted. That was really the more important point.

  11. Geremia says:

    I just began the first Logic class today, and it is very good; I highly recommend it. The professor (Fr. John McCloskey) is very good.

  12. JFrater says:

    Geremia: I also had my first class and I am not sure whether we just had different teachers who share the same surname, but our teacher today was P W McCloskey; he wore a three piece suit and looks nothing like the Fr John McCloskey in your link. Furthermore, the tutor I had refers to himself as “Professor McCloskey” not Father.

  13. Geremia says:

    JFrater, I think you are right.

Comments are closed.