What: Philosophy Discussion Group
When: 1st Saturday of each month, from 2pm – 5pm
(3 hours, including a break)
Where: Justin & Tammy's house in Richardson [*BYOD&S]
How: Readings discussed in-depth amongst the group. No tests, no lecture… we help teach each other in a spirit of learning.
We will usually be reading from a book one will have to purchase, but sometimes there will be articles provided online.
Meeting Topic & Reading List
This month we'll be talking about some of the central arguments from Justin's book manuscript in favor of the pragamatic approach to philosophy that he advocates, so this may be your best opportunity to be persuaded or to help show him why people shouldn't be persuaded.
Readings for July (click on each name to get the reading online):
* PCA Book Chapters 4&7 (login as philclub, password is the name of the street we're meeting on, all lower-case)
* Jackson excerpts (same login and password; this was made available a few months back also, so you may have read it already)
* Optional: Fisher "Compelling Self-Ratification" (same login and password; this stand-alone draft paper contains many of the same ideas as Chapters 4&7, told from a different perspective, a bit more formally/mathematically. If you like formal definitions, abstract mathematics and proofs, you might like this; if you don't you probably won't.)
Heads-up: In August, we will be discussing the philosophy of fiction and in September we will begin a new series of discussions about free will. The book we will be reading for that is on the September meet up web page.
10 minute introduction to the material
Depending on attendence, we may split into smaller groups (4 - 8 people)
2 part group discussion of readings with a 10 minute break in between
Reconvene into large group to share highlights of small group discussions
Readings are not neccessarily required, but we ask that you please stay on topic during the discussion.
We are teaching each other in a "spirit of learning": we should be humble (we do not know everything), eager to learn, and willing to challenge each other while being kind and considerate.
There will be people of various backgrounds in philosophy — you do not need to be an expert in philosophy to be in the group (e.g. I'm not; Justin is). If a topic is new to you, here are some good resources, if you are interested:
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- The Oxford Companion to Philosophy
[*BYOD&S] "Bring Your Own Drink & Snack". You might get thirsty or hungry — feel free to bring whatever (non-alcoholic) drinks and snacks you'd like (preferably something shareable with the group).
— A note to those with cat-related allergies: Justin and Tammy have cats — one of whom will be rather happy to mingle with all the nice people who came to see him....
>^. . ^<
In a post on Common Sense Atheism, "How to Do Philosophy Better", Luke Muehlhauser summarizes an essay by Paul Graham. In that essay, Graham proposes the following:
Here's an intriguing possibility. Perhaps we should do what Aristotle meant to do, instead of what he did. The goal he announces in the Metaphysics seems one worth pursuing: to discover the most general truths. That sounds good. But instead of trying to discover them because they're useless, let's try to discover them because they're useful.
— Paul Graham, "How to Do Philosophy"
Given a lot of our common values, I think we can study philosophy in a way that helps us, that is useful to us, rather than as something that is considerably esoteric or futile.