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The Santa Monica Ethics Meetup Group Pages

Hi! We are a monthly Philosophy (with an emphasis on ethics) discussion group that has been meeting continuously for over five years. If you love a good, impassioned, yet respectful and reasoned discussion that's free of insults or ad hominum attacks, join us for our monthly Meetup! We discuss and debate all areas of Philosophy (as well as the philosophical aspects of the great issues of the day) for a few hours, then go eat dinner together at a nearby restaurant.

We meet once a month, usually on the 3rd Sunday, and usually at 5:00pm. About a week or two before each meetup, we vote by email on the topic to be discussed. I send out an email with five questions or topics suggested during previous meetings, by email, or in an issue of Philosophy Now or TMP magazine. All who want to vote reply to that email with the name of the topic(s) they would most like to talk about. (Anybody can send in a vote, whether or not they've been to previous meetings.) After a few days, I send a meeting reminder to everyone, letting you know which topic won the vote.

We usually have a specific, OPTIONAL article or two to read on our monthly philosophical topic. I include links to the optional reading(s) in the reminder email. Participants are encouraged, but by no means required, to read the article(s), or to read any other articles or books related to the monthly issue, and to bring these ideas up for discussion.

During the dicscussion, we focus on philosophical ideas that we can bring into the room, and not on specific philosophers, historical periods, or philosophical schools of thought. Thus, when someone mentions a specialized philosophical term, idea or theory, we pause to define or explain it in everyday, educated language so everyone is included in the discussion. Fortunately, nearly all philosophical ideas and terms can be translated into everyday language. We think of our ability to do this as a challenge to our intellects and a measure of how clearly we understand the concepts we are talking about.

In this way, we approach philosophy more as an ongoing conversation than as a fixed body of academic writings. Philosophy is something you don't need an academic background for (though it certainly helps), since everyone already philosophizes-- though it is usually done in an unexamined and unarticulated manner. Philosophical views and arguments are built into our daily speech and social interactions. Many of the big issues that philosophers have talked about, throughout history, are issues that come up in everyday situations we all face.

We attempt to do more than simply air our views and ideas. More importantly, we also say why we think what we think, why it makes sense, what good reasons support our ideas-- so others see how and why our ideas are plausible, useful or informative for everybody else in the room.

One goal is to arrive at better answers to philosophical questions-- not an easy task! Other (more easily achievable) goals include thinking more clearly about the question we're discussing, disabusing ourselves of unarticulated and/or simplistic views and assumptions, and understanding the arguments of others. The primary point is not to win every debate or always be correct or right, but to put your ideas out there so we can learn from and edify each other.

Our choice of topics tend towards Value Theory, the Philosophy of Mind, and sometimes the Philosophy of Science, including such subfields and issues as Ethics, Social Philosophy, Political Philosophy, some issues in the Philosophy of Religion/Spirituality, Phenomenology, Medical Ethics, Technology and Philosophy, the relation of science to philosophy and ethics, The Good and the Good Life, questions related to "The Meaning of Life," Rationality, Wisdom, and similar matters. However, we certainly do not limit ourselves to these areas. See the list of topics, below, that we've tackled over the last few years. Incidentally, if you have an issue or question you're dying to talk about, email them to me!

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About The Santa Monica Ethics Meetup Group October 15, 2016 10:16 AM Brian

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