The Philosophical Research Society

The Philosophical Research Society is a nonprofit organization founded in 1934 for the purpose of providing resources for the study and research of the world’s wisdom literature. Rejecting doctrinal, political, or ecclesiastical investments, it provides a learning environment sheltered from any intention to coerce or convert. The goal of this institution is to enable the individual to develop a mature world view and philosophy of life in association with a diverse and stimulating community of inquiry, dedicated to understanding and appreciating their unique possibilities in the unfolding universal pattern.

Wisdom is insight into the nature of things, a fundamental acquaintance with Reality. All of the great insights of humankind left for us to study, which history has managed to preserve, are the priceless inheritance of every person. It is the clear goal of Philosophical Research Society and the University of Philosophical Research to provide global “lovers of wisdom” access to that treasure which is their birthright.


The Founder: Manly Palmer Hall

We are here to learn and grow and share...

– Manly P. Hall 1901-1990

Manly Palmer Hall (March 18, 1901 – August 29, 1990) was a Canadian-born scholar and philosopher. He is perhaps most famous for his 1928 book The Secret Teachings of All Ages.

Manly P. Hall, the Philosophical Research Society’s first president, was a seeker and lover of wisdom, the very definition of a philosopher. He had the courage and the raw intellectual energy to look for wisdom in places most men had long since forgotten about, or never knew existed. He lived in an era when most Americans did not look toward other cultures and traditions, without looking down. 

Manly P. Hall began his public career in the related fields of philosophy and comparative religion at the age of nineteen, was ordained to the ministry in his twenty-second year, and devoted his life to teaching, writing, and lecturing without interruption for over half a decade. Uniquely endowed for the task to which he dedicated his life, he attained an amazing degree of scholarship in those branches of learning which bear upon the beliefs, ideals, and convictions of mankind.  


Mr. Hall gave nearly seven thousand different lectures and talks, and appeared on numerous radio and television stations throughout the Unites States. All his lectures, many lasting two hours, were given extemporaneously and without notes. His versatility was incredible. He may have discussed the Bill of Rights at the dedication of a public school, explained Socratic philosophy on the campus of a university, taken the pulpit of some denominational church, given a sermon on Buddhism in a Buddhist temple, addressed the congregation of a synagogue, given the graduation talk for a medical college, or analyzed the implications of space conquest before a Chamber of Commerce. In 1940, he received the Award of Merit for lectures given at the New York World’s Fair.


In addition to these activities, Manly P. Hall traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Central America, and assembled a magnificent library which he presented to the Society. With countless calls upon his time and energy he was able to write over thirty-five books, scores of essays, and hundreds of articles. The Society continues to receive visitors and letters of appreciation from all over the world for the inspiration and guidance he shared over the course of his extraordinary life. 


The President: Obadiah S. Harris

O Divine Spirit

Make known to us today the actuality and necessity of conflict and opposition. 

As evolutionary beings, let us comprehend the nature and purpose of this common struggle between the forces of light and the powers of darkness -- from the Divine to the finite, from the cosmic level to our individual lives.

But may we not be overwhelmed by the revelation, give up, compromise, or seek escape.

Let our surrender be to no opposer, but to You and Your Divine Will alone.

Let our retreat be not for some distant shelter of annihilation, but to the inmost center of our existence, where no protection is sought.

From that secure and inviolable basis, let our assault begin. Fortified by Your Grade, let us invade, route out, destroy and transform every unredeemed agent of our empirical existence,

Let the combined conspiracy of our inner enemies be brought to naught, surrender their arms and merge their forces with ours in a yet greater assault upon the powers of ignorance, universal.

In this and every conflict we shall overcome without physical injury or loss of inner poise.

Let our eyes and affections remain on things above -- on higher values, loftier truths. Then shall our peace be unassailable, and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Obadiah S. Harris combines his skills as a community educator and administrator with study of the world’s wisdom traditions to continue the legacy and pursuits of the PRS into the present day.

Under his direction, The University of Philosophical Research, a contemporary wisdom academy was created. The University continues to extend and evolve the original intents of the Society into a nationally accredited university.

With its community workshops and events, two accredited graduate programs and newly established undergraduate curriculum, UPR extends an integrated approach to education, providing the tools and knowledge for those looking to better understand their place in the universe.

Dr. Harris received his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Michigan as a Stewart Mott Foundation Fellow. His background includes long service as Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Community Education at New Mexico State University, and as Associate Professor and Director of the Regional Center for Community Education at Arizona State University. Dr. Harris’s study and practice of the great Eastern and Western Wisdom Traditions has helped shape and direct his life.

Dr. Harris has also authored several books and numerous articles. His major works include:

  • Unitive Spirituality (J. F. Rowny, 1966),
  • Self-Knowledge and Social Action (Pendell Publishing, 1977),
  • The New Consciousness: The Next Stage of Human Development (PRS, 2010).
  • His most recent title, The Simple Road: A Handbook for the Contemporary Seeker was published this year by Tarcher/Penguin
  • His next book, The Aim of Life, will be available in 2017.


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