Welcome - This group is for anyone interested in philosophy, whether entirely new to philosophy or more advanced. We hold philosophical meetings--topic discussions and text-focused seminars--that are designed to be comfortable for those new to philosophy while engaging to all levels of advancement.
Philosophy is sometimes described in terms its great projects, such as its ancient pursuits of the natures of reality, knowledge and justice, but perhaps what more clearly distinguishes philosophy from other fields of knowledge is the method of inquiry with which its great projects have been pursued. A question one might ask is how philosophy, grounded not in systematic observation like science, nor in definition like mathematics, can have anything sound and interesting to say about the world and human experience. The answer is that philosophy is concerned with the world and human experience not directly but through our belief system. In particular, philosophical inquiry consists in examining how what we believe less firmly, and perhaps more consciously, fits with what we believe more firmly, and perhaps less consciously. Generally speaking, philosophy is concerned with the consistency and coherence of our belief system; and it is through refining our belief system that philosophy improves our understanding of the world and human experience. A concise statement of what philosophy is, then, is that it is the examination of belief and the pursuit of projects of understanding that are within the scope of such.
[The above is only one view, of course, and not an official view of this group.]
The Group's Charter
The group's basic charter is to realize easy opportunities to discuss philosophical topics and to learn about philosophy's history and texts with similarly-interested others. Beyond this, the group is conceived as a reference point for philosophical community that can make any interest or pursuit in philosophy more meaningful and social.
The topic discussion format is as follows: a philosophical discussion topic is framed in advance, often with required reading of relevant texts. At the meeting, attending members discuss the topic as conversational equals with light moderation by the organizer. Topics are usually chosen on the basis of being both generally interesting and philosophically interesting.
The seminar format is as follows: the organizer, or a guest speaker, gives a self-contained talk of about 30 minutes that concerns the ideas and historical context of an important or otherwise interesting philosophical text. Afterwards there is a period of about 90 minutes devoted to discussion of the text and its ideas. The talk is self-contained in that it presupposes no preparation or philosophical background on the part of attending members; reading the discussed text--due to possible time and experience constraints of members--is optional.
Our Facebook Page
Further opportunity for philosophical discussion with group members and the philosophical world at large may be found by locating "The San Francisco Philosophy Group" on Facebook.
About the Organizer
Paul M. Paolini studied philosophy at U.C. Davis (B.A. 1994) and at San Francisco State University (M.A. 1997), and has maintained a strong interest in philosophy and its history.