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Triangle Philosophy Pages

What is Triangle Philosophy?

Triangle Philosophy is a social group that meets at least once a month at bars and restaurants around the Triangle to discuss interesting and challenging topics.

When does Triangle Philosophy meet?
The meeting schedule varies, but at least once a month, normally at 6:30 PM. Dinner and discussion begin at 7 PM. The meetings typically last several hours - as long as people are still hanging around and debating!

Where does Triangle Philosophy meet?

Triangle Philosophy meets in various public and private locations in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill selected by the organizers or suggested by members. We prefer central locations that are convenient to everyone. Each location should serve reasonably-priced food and drinks and offer private rooms or quiet areas to gather.

How are discussions organized?

At the beginning of each meeting, the organizers briefly cover any administrative announcements. Then the topic leader (detailed below) gives an overview of the evening's topic. We then split into discussion groups of 8-10 people.

Each small group is led by a small-group-selected moderator who is responsible for encouraging harmonious discussion and ensuring that everyone has a chance to contribute equally. The moderator kicks off the group discussion be soliciting everyone to briefly introduce themselves and give a summary of their views on the evening's topic.

Near the end of the evening, the topic leader will facilitate a "wrap-up" session with the entire group.

How do we discuss various topics philosophically?

With each meeting's topic and set of questions, we encourage the discussion groups to promote and practice debate using the Socratic method of discourse. Essentially, as members make a point, others are encouraged to ask "Why do you think that?" and to challenge the assumptions of each argument. Politely and with respect, of course!

The goal of each member should be to see how his or her own beliefs hold up under scrutiny, not to try to change the minds of others.

What are the debate guides?

The topic leader, and/or organizer will create a debate guide for most meeting topics. The list of questions within each debate guide is printed out and distributed at the start of each meeting.

All debate quides are collaboratively developed online at our web site Triangle Philosophy using Wiki technology that is shared with New York Philosophy and Connecticut Philosophy. Members are encouraged to review the debate guides ahead of time. Only the questions are printed out - often, the debate guides offer additional online references and resources for each question.

Everyone is encouraged to contribute questions and ideas to the debate guides ahead of the scheduled meetings - the discussions are better with your contributions!

How are topics selected?

Each member is encouraged to propose a topic and lead a discussion. The organizers will work with each meeting's topic leader to make sure the topic is covered thoroughly.

What is the role of a topic leader?

Each meeting is kicked off by a topic leader. Topic leaders are group members who have interests in certain philosophical topics and want to share their passion and knowledge with the group by sponsoring a topic.

Anyone can be a topic leader - one of the best aspects of our group is the interaction between all of the diverse members. Our group has shown a proclivity in the past to discuss any imaginable topic, so the more creative the better!

Topic leaders:

- provide the organizers with a 1-3 paragraph description of the topic at least one week ahead of time
- provide the organizers with a list of 8-15 general discussion questions at least one week ahead of time
- kick off the meeting with a short (5-10 minutes) introduction to the topic

What is the role of the organizer?

The organizer's (Todd) role is to ensure successful meetings. The organizer will:

- take a description of a topic and create the event and message board notice
- work with the topic leader on the criteria for selecting a location (location/noise/facilities)
- make an early reservation and reconfirm the weekend before the meeting with updated RSVP counts
- print the topic description and questions as part of each meeting's agenda for each attendee
- assist with leading the discussion as needed
- be a topic leader if no one else will!

What is the role of the assistant organizer?

The assistant organizer will aid the organizer in performing his/her duties and will fill in when the organizer is absent.

I think these guidelines can be improved.

Feel free to contact the organizers through Meetup at any time with comments or suggestions. Additionally, we hold 'congresses' approximately twice a year before regulary-scheduled meetings where attendees can offer feedback and propose rule changes. Each congress is a valuable session for ensuring that the organizers are meeting the needs of the group.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
About Triangle Philosophy February 6, 2008 8:07 PM Todd

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