Paisley Philosophical Institution

The Paisley Philosophical Institution, founded in 1808, has played a long and significant role in the cultural and educational development of the town of Paisley.

The main function of Institution, the PPI, is to provide lecturers, speakers and other resources to develop the knowledge and experience of the membership and to encourage and promote participation.

paisley-philosophical-institutionThe talks, held in the Paisley Museum and Art Galleries‘ Lecture Hall from September to March, cover a wide range of topics to appeal to a wide range of interests and age groups.

The talks are always interesting and stimulating at a general level and often very entertaining. You do not need a PhD to enjoy a pleasant and rewarding evening out in line with Petrarch’s definition of Philosophy as “the study of the art of happiness and living well”.

History of the Paisley Philosophical Institution

When Paisley Technical Collage was opened in 1897, the Institution was represented on the Board of Governors – an arrangement which lasted well into the 20th century.

Over time, Natural History, Astronomical and Photographic Societies have become independent, and the Library and Museum became Local Authority responsibilities.

By the 1920s the Paisley Philosophical had become recognisable as the Institution it is today. Its real strength had become the high calibre of the speakers and the range and diversity of topics they addressed. The list of twentieth-century speakers reads like a roll of honour covering travel, literature, science, music and the arts, with a fair sprinkling of well-known personalities from radio and television. Occasionally, a larger venue has been required and in 1954 over 1000 people attended a lecture on ‘The Ascent of Mount Everest’ by one of the successful expedition.