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Down The Ragged Road: A Story So Far…

An old friend was talking on television the other day about where he is at and what he has been up to.  Will Bentinck, along with two other friends – Jes Haley and Grant Crozier – were sitting in the Rochester Castle pub in Stoke Newington many years ago when the idea of Ragged University crystallised….

Jes Haley, had catalyzed my going to London to help out a small community organisation called Street Performers Community Organisation ( She got volunteers for ecologically oriented projects as, at the time, she worked at British Trust for Conservation Volunteers ( Read more

The Beginnings of Ragged by Will Bentinck

Grant and Jess introduced me to Al, because Al wanted to start organising some events, inspired by the Ragged Schools, and Grant thought I might like to help. I was hugely interested – I think education is the single most important thing – so joining a small team of friends on an exciting journey of experimenting with new ways of taking pleasure in learning and in teaching sounded like an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

Al, having planted the seed in our fertile minds, promptly left for Glasgow to continue inspiring others in to action. The three of us had many delicious long meetings in pubs, discussing the philosophy behind the idea and how we might deliver it. We decided on a local bar, The Palatine in Dalston, newly opened with a downstairs room we could use.

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Philosophy Is Like Sand, It Gets Everywhere by Will Bentinck

What do we think about philosophy? Plato. Aristotle. Other men with beards. All waffling on about the fundamental nature of things; tangling themselves up in logical arguments and asking questions that have no answers. Do we consider it solely as an academic discipline? Or is philosophy more like the science of thinking? We’ll look at zombies, porn, democracy, God and more…

Well, there is more to philosophy than the academic side. I’m tempted to say something sweeping like ‘we all do philosophy all the time’, but the truth is that we don’t. But we should. I get asked a lot what philosophy actually is. The dictionary says philosophers study the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence, which is technically true, I suppose. Read more