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Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group Message Board › SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR OUR MEETINGS

SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR OUR MEETINGS

Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,413
In our meeting on 1/22/2012, we decided to list on the message board topics of potential interest, so that we could be thinking about them. Decisions about what we discuss are generally made in our meetings, as a group process, but ideas for such discussions may come up between meetings. So this first post will be a developing list (I will add to it as new ideas emerge). You can post your ideas in subsequent posts in this thread, and can advocate for them or even begin discussion of such topics. I will start off with some ideas that have come up so far or that occur to me.

What is the best Ultimate Ethical Principle? (Discussed once already.)

Tolerance of Religions (or the value of or problems associated with tolerance of belief systems, as well as the phenomenon of lack of tolerance of belief systems other than one's own). (Discussed once already.)

Osama Wazan's personal (harrowing) experiences and conclusions regarding religiously motivated violence and tragedy.

The awful effects of our belief in punishment (or, why punishment works so well). (Or does it?)

Which is our most problematic motivational state, anger or sex? Are our approaches to them effective?

What is the value of the feeling of certainty? Of the feeling of doubt?

What will be the fate of our species? How will that happen? Can anyone have an impact on it? Who?

Are we more like chimps or bonobos (our genetic closest cousins). Should we be?

Should no one, a few people, or everyone advocate for his or her belief system? Why?

Should a person always, sometimes, or never advocate? And if sometimes, what are the conditions under which he or she should and what are the conditions under which he or she should not? And why?

What is mysticism? What is science? (is only one of them good? Which one? Can both be of value? How? Is one better than the other? Why?)

Which is better, living together or getting married? Why? (And who should be allowed to marry? Why?) (And how many should be allowed in the same marriage? Why?)

Can a theist and an atheist love each other? Live with each other? Talk?

The mind-body problem and the free will vs. determinism problem. (If minds exist, why can we never observe them, and if everything occurs according to natural laws, how can we make decisions when what we do was going to happen anyway?)

Is a bad God possible? Why or why not?

Discussion of the movie "Groundhog Day." (See Helen's post.)

Which? (Matthew)
1) Good God
2) No God
3) Bad God
4) Disinterested or Neutral God
5) God is generally good, it just doesn't like you

Religion & Spirituality, Religion vs. Spirituality, What in the world is Spirituality and is it out of this world? (Eva+)

Is Collectivism inherently good (or bad, or neither)? (Matthew)

Being born Human, do I have a “Human role”? If I do, what is it? (Matthew)

Panopticon: God and/or Big Brother is/are watching you, at all times, maybe. Are you being good? (Terry W)

Seven topics suggested in our meeting on 2/26/12 (with some elaborations):

. What is freedom? Is it always good? Always bad? Sometimes good and sometimes bad? Why?

. The pursuit of loving: How? Why? What is love anyway? Is it always good? Does love cause murder?

. What is the difference between religion and spirituality? Does spirituality involve spirits? What are spirits? What is spirituality? What is religion?

. Is religion good or bad?

. Absurdity of existence without God: How does God make it less absurd? Is existence absurd to God? Is God absurd? What does “absurd” mean?

. Federal Reserve: What is it? Is it a good/bad thing? Is anything over it? What?

. Vegetarianism/Veganism: Why? Is it ethical? Should we eat things that are conscious? Which ones? Why? Is the food industry ethical? Should it be? Can it be?

Topic by Ann: Should all decisions be based on the Scientific Method? Alone?
A former member
Post #: 3
"as a group process."

I like that phrase and would be more enthused about future meetings; if this is further demonstrated.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,414
Thanks, John.

Do you have any suggestions as to how we could utilize the group process even more? Have there been processes that have been less of "a group process" than they could have been? All suggestions are welcome.
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,416
John,

I had been working on a reply to your post but had not had time to finish it, and now I see that you have removed it. I would like to respond, however, because your expression of concerns is valuable to our group, as I hope my responses will also be. I don’t know why you removed your post, but I hope that you will appreciate my response, which I just completed though I had begun it right away.

First, I notice at the end of your post you said the following:

I think that I should point out that when I refer to "individual", I refer to one "individual" with whom I see as relating to all the above circumstances.

When I look at the situations you describe, I have the strong impression that that “individual” is I. If so (and I will assume so), I wish to reassure you that you can refer explicitly to me when providing feedback. I welcome feedback because it helps me be a better leader. I may or may not agree with the feedback, but there is always something to be learned. Also, it might help others to be more certain as to whether to offer their opinions or not.

At any rate, I will now offer my thoughts in response to your ideas.

"Have there been processes that have been less of "a group process" than they could have been?"

After my first meeting, it was mentioned by one individual that they didn't think they could attend the first December meeting. Because of one individual, it was concluded by another individual that we'd postpone for an additional week. Had they not attended, I would have missed their presence, but to cancel a meeting based on one person not attending? Only toward the end of the meeting (when I and others voiced a concern) was the usual scheduled date put back into place.
So this would be an example of the “group process” taking place, wouldn’t it? It leads to improvement, which is what occurred here. I do try to make sure that, as much as possible, we do what makes sense to the group as a whole. It seems that the “group process” means the initial proposal of ideas that seem good to the individuals proposing them, but then the gradual modification of those ideas as more people contribute. It is a process of continuous movement toward the optimal, using the resources of all the group members. Does that sound right?

Over the course of time, our group has at times moved our meetings around due to schedule conflicts, holidays, etc. Whether to do so or not can be a difficult decision, and such a decision may indeed tentatively change back and forth with discussion of the various issues.

We do make some final decisions in the last part of the meeting, when we again have an “administrative” part of the meeting, like we have at the beginning. I don’t remember the details of that discussion, but it does sound to me like the final result was considered optimal by the group. Would you agree?

But it sounds to me like your concern had to do with what happened in the first administrative meeting (at the beginning). You seem to be concerned either that I had proposed the change in meeting, or that I had made a decision to change the meeting time independent of consideration for the group. I hope that you are in agreement that anyone ought to be able to propose anything to the group. I don’t remember making a unilateral decision. I can’t remember the details of what happened. But I know that I reflect back to the group what I think is generally felt and ask if that is correct. I certainly could make a mistake in doing so. Perhaps something did go wrong, but I was not aware of it. So all I can do is try to be more vigilant. It also sounds like you had a concern that you did not voice (if you did) until the second administrative part. Maybe there just wasn’t a good opportunity to do so.

(Continued in next post)
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,417
(Continued from previous post)


I think it's great to be passionate when bringing a new friend into the meeting. However, voicing emphasis on a particular individual places other members as sort of a captive audience as well as taking away from the meetings intent. This is not to devalue this person (nor their book) but this did not resemble (in my opinion) "group process."
Here you seem to be referring to my introducing Osama Wazan to the group and recommending to the group giving him an opportunity to present. I saw this as my proposing to the group a particular activity for their consideration, with my explanation as to why I thought it would be valuable. I would hope that anyone would feel okay about doing the same. There might indeed be a sense of awkwardness caused by the fact that the individual was present. Perhaps people would feel inhibited about expressing a preference against the idea. I know that a long time ago our group readily endorsed presentations by a group member that was especially knowledgeable in a particular area, and there did not seem to be a problem in doing so.

I believe in going with the flow (a democracy) ; whether this is drawing a topic discussion out of a hat or electing these through a forum discussion. Interesting though is the 'hat drawing' revision ( if the topic that is drawn is not 'popular' then we will draw again). This was introduced upon the second hat drawing meeting. However, the person that suggested this revision did not suggest this on the first-time hat drawing (when perhaps coincidentally enough, their topic was drawn). This is not to say that their topic was not discussion worthy, but the timeliness is interesting.
I have only a vague memory as to why I suggested this procedure, namely, that if the topic drawn really was not of interest to anyone in the group, there could be the procedure added that would continue to make the decision a group process, so that the needs of the group in general would be addressed. (I could imagine a scenario, for instance, of a person coming for the first time and, not fully understanding the kinds of discussions we have, write down a topic that was unlikely to stimulate philosophical discussion. In such a case, we would not be “stuck” with that topic.) But when I offered this idea, as I remember, I saw it more as reassurance in response to some concern about the procedure that was being expressed (including proposals to do differently), rather than as something that would ever be likely to happen. As I recall it, I was trying to say “let’s go on with what we decided, and if need be we can add this supplemental procedure.”

It is true that in the meeting prior to this one the topic that was drawn from the hat was the one I had put in. Again, my memory is vague, but I believe I did feel somewhat uncomfortable because of my position in the group, and did reassure the group that I did not want the group to be centered only on my ideas. (Others in the group reassured me that the topic sounded okay.)

Again, there's nothing wrong with being passionate. Although I do not necessarily agree with religious views of others, nearly everyone seems to adequately self-monitor their social parameters. One member though seems to continually 'pitch' their Church. Last week, we learned of its location and their broadness in accepting others with differing beliefs as well as what they stand for.
I don’t know what “self-monitor their social parameters” means. It sounds like you are saying that if someone has opinions of a religious nature, he or she should keep them to himself or herself, beyond a certain (unclear) point. I would say, however, that the idea of the CPDG is that all opinions can be expressed and advocated for, with the understanding that doing so means accepting the expression of viewpoints that might be the opposite. I certainly don’t want people to feel that in the group there are certain things we just don’t mention. Some come to our group to get away from such suppression of expression. I am assuming that you do not believe that I dominated the group with a prolonged presentation. I assume that what I said took less than a minute. But if I am wrong, I certainly would like to hear. So one topic that might be valuable to our group would be to what extent a person should feel free to advocate his or her own position to the group, and how that advocacy would best be done.
Also as with religion, many of us are self-published (self included) but again, I'm not sure I agree with self-promoting while a philosophy meeting is supposed to be taking place.
I would hope that anyone who believes he or she has something positive to contribute will feel free to let the group know. I would like to know what you consider to be the rationale for inhibiting such contributions, if I am understanding you correctly.

It was my impression that a "group process" meant an equal share of the floor. The lady beside me attempted to speak twice. Another individual earlier spoke of allowing each person the opportunity to speak and without interruption. I like that. Minutes later, the lady began to speak, which was simultaneously with another (it was the same individual that earlier suggested this rule). He did not defer. He spoke over her on two occasions.
Well again you seem to be referring to me. My role is difficult. I am both the leader and a member. As leader I feel some responsibility to help the group move in a positive direction and avoid deterioration in the communication process. I don’t recall the specific situations, but I do know that there are times when I feel a strong need to slow the group down. There are times when there is much pressure to speak on the part of several people, and even times when I detect that anger may be arising because of difference of opinion, and I feel the necessity to help us stay organized and sufficiently contemplative. But there are other times when I, as a member, believe I have something important to contribute, and I may make a judgment as to how assertively to make my contribution. I don’t think I do that very often, but I could certainly make a mistake. It is hard to be in both the role of leader and the role of member. And I certainly would hate to think that because I was leader I could not also offer my own opinions to the group.

I think that I should point out that when I refer to "individual", I refer to one "individual" with whom I see as relating to all the above circumstances.

"All suggestions are welcome."

Thanks, Bill
And thank you for your feedback, John. I will continue to consider these issues as our meetings continue. I look forward to hearing from you further regarding how I can be a better leader. Also, please feel free to offer your comments in the group, during the first administrative portion of the meeting, so that others can give their ideas also.
A former member
Post #: 5
For the record, yes, I deleted my original posting. My reason? I wondered if the bottom line would result in more hurt feelings (admittedly, I'm not the most tactful) than a change in dynamics. It would also appear that I may be the only person that sees such dynamics as problematic; therefore if the majority does not see something as 'broken' then why fix it.

Unlike others in the group, I do believe that you have attempted a 'soft-sale' on your church as well as promoting your book. Yes, not to confuse "sale" with your book, I do know that your book is available as a free download. Initially, I thought it was best to give the benefit-of-the-doubt. "Hopefully the next meeting will prove me wrong", I would think. With each consecutive meeting, one or the other (or both) would be mentioned. In a social setting, I think this is fine. However in a meeting where we are together to discuss philosophy I see this as irrelevant (I understand and expect that you may disagree). I also do not see such practices (and other actions that I previously mentioned ) as an example of "group process." It's okay if you disagree. I'm not here to flex ego or prove who is right or wrong. I post only to offer my personal perspective.

Also, there was one other reason that I deleted my original posting. If I was more inclined to continue with this philosophy group, then as a member I would weigh in and contribute with my own thoughts and theories. Following my original posting, I've concluded that this just does not seem like a good 'fit.' For that reason, I would not wish to to draw attention away from current or future members that seem content with the way things are.

Should any member (including you, Bill) or past member (Helen, Rick etc) wish to chat or debate over a cup of coffee, I'm open to the idea. However, (and no offense) the dynamics which define this group, are not for me. With this being said, I also recognize that the line between being the administrator and a participant may be difficult.






Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,418
John,
For the record, yes, I deleted my original posting. My reason? I wondered if the bottom line would result in more hurt feelings (admittedly, I'm not the most tactful) than a change in dynamics. It would also appear that I may be the only person that sees such dynamics as problematic; therefore if the majority does not see something as 'broken' then why fix it.
I have no hurt feelings, and I can’t imagine anyone else having them from anything you have written. And how will you know whether the majority sees something as broken if you feel that anyone seeing things that way should not say anything about it until someone else does? Why don’t you see your expression of your opinion as a valuable contribution to the group, and the group’s response to your expression of your opinion as an opportunity for increased understanding on your part? That is the basic idea of our group.

Unlike others in the group, I do believe that you have attempted a 'soft-sale' on your church as well as promoting your book. Yes, not to confuse "sale" with your book, I do know that your book is available as a free download. Initially, I thought it was best to give the benefit-of-the-doubt. "Hopefully the next meeting will prove me wrong", I would think. With each consecutive meeting, one or the other (or both) would be mentioned. In a social setting, I think this is fine. However in a meeting where we are together to discuss philosophy I see this as irrelevant (I understand and expect that you may disagree). I also do not see such practices (and other actions that I previously mentioned ) as an example of "group process." It's okay if you disagree. I'm not here to flex ego or prove who is right or wrong. I post only to offer my personal perspective.
Yes, each person presenting his perspective and learning from the responses of others is the wonderful learning opportunity presented by such a group. Some have commented on their pleasure at finding a place where they can share their ideas even though those ideas are not congruent with the majority culture in this area.

But what is missing from what you have written is the rationales for your opinions. And the opinions I am referring to are those having to do with how someone in our group should be careful not to express his opinions or advocate for what he believes the group would be interested in, that person being me. I would be quite interested to hear why you believe I should never mention the church I go to or anything about the book I have written, and/or should not advocate for anything that I felt would be valuable or interesting to the group. Is it because I am the leader of the group that I should refrain from participating in the discussion like other members, or should no member of the group advocate for anything in the group, or should no member advocate for anything in the group if the member has something invested in what is being advocated? Or is it something else. I simply cannot understand what the rationale is for your opinions. And the purpose of our group is to explore rationales and gain deeper understanding as to the “why” of things. Why is this apparently such an issue for you (and perhaps others who have not spoken up)?

I could indeed see a problem with my dominating the group with discussion of my book, if the group had not specifically decided to make my book the topic of discussion. But just mentioning it in a context in which it seemed appropriate, and with the amount of time taken to doing so being well under one percent of the meeting time, does not to me seem inappropriate. I could be wrong, but so far I can’t understand such a position. So could you offer your rationales for saying that I should never mention the church I attend and should never mention the book I have written, and/or should never advocate for either of those things in the group? (BTW, I have no recollection of what I said about those things, and actually would like to know, so if you could recall that to my mind, I would appreciate it.)

Also, there was one other reason that I deleted my original posting. If I was more inclined to continue with this philosophy group, then as a member I would weigh in and contribute with my own thoughts and theories. Following my original posting, I've concluded that this just does not seem like a good 'fit.' For that reason, I would not wish to to draw attention away from current or future members that seem content with the way things are.
And again, I am puzzled as to why you consider your doing so not to be a good fit within our group. That is what our group is for, the sharing and comparing of ideas, no matter what they are. I have the impression that the primary reason why you are apparently giving up attending the group is that you think perhaps other group members might not agree with you. If you feel that you should contribute only if others agree with you, then I can imagine you not feeling at home in the group, because we are tending to discuss those things about which we have difference of opinion. I would like to advocate that you remain with us and offer your ideas. Maybe others will agree and maybe they won’t, but either way everyone will gain a little in depth of understanding. And if my leadership is indeed non-optimal, then I will benefit with the increased insight.

Should any member (including you, Bill) or past member (Helen, Rick etc) wish to chat or debate over a cup of coffee, I'm open to the idea. However, (and no offense) the dynamics which define this group, are not for me. With this being said, I also recognize that the line between being the administrator and a participant may be difficult.

But that’s what the group is, namely, a place to chat or debate over a cup of coffee. Amelie’s has the coffee, and our group is there to chat and debate.

So a possible topic is, “Should a person always, sometimes, or never advocate? And if sometimes, what are the conditions under which he or she should and what are the conditions under which he or she should not? And why?” I will add that to our list.

Do please reconsider your intention to leave us. I feel certain that the rest of the group would be quite interested in what you have to say, whether they would agree or not.

Also, please recognize that the first and last portions of our meeting are the “administrative” portions, and are there for any such concerns regarding how our group is functioning. This topic would be suitable there, and would also be suitable for the discussion part if the majority agreed. I think there are some important philosophical issues involved.

Again, thank you for your contributions.
A former member
Post #: 6
Bill,
A week has passed and judging from lack of responses from other members, it appears that my concerns are probably not shared by other members. With this considered, for me to go into much more detail would (in my opinion) border on coming across as more of a personal attack – rather than speaking on behalf of myself (and others) for group meeting improvement.

I will address one thing:

“So could you offer your rationales for saying that I should never mention the church I attend and should never mention the book I have written, and/or should never advocate for either of those things in the group?”

More than once it’s been mentioned by other members that it’s rather imposing when confronted by a church recruiter. This is not to say that this was/is your goal. However, no one else (during my philosophy group attendance) has been as ‘promoting’ as yourself. Through multiple mentioning’s, I know the name of your church, it’s proximity, their belief system and their level of acceptance. While others have spoken of their beliefs, you are the only one to my knowledge that has gone into such detail' mentioning the name of their preferred place, it’s vicinity etc… Whether intentional or not, this gave off the impression of ‘pitching’ your place of service. .

You seemed confused about my “rationale.” Since we are now open to the fact that the “individual” to whom I refer is you, I’ll repost the posting that I had deleted. If you are still unable to see validity within the below posting, that is fine.

"Have there been processes that have been less of "a group process" than they could have been?"

After my first meeting, it was mentioned by one individual that they didn't think they could attend the first December meeting. Because of one individual, it was concluded by another individual that we'd postpone for an additional week. Had they not attended, I would have missed their presence, but to cancel a meeting based on one person not attending? Only toward the end of the meeting (when I and others voiced a concern) was the usual scheduled date put back into place.

I think it's great to be passionate when bringing a new friend into the meeting. However, voicing emphasis on a particular individual places other members as sort of a captive audience as well as taking away from the meetings intent. This is not to devalue this person (nor their book) but this did not resemble (in my opinion) "group process."

I believe in going with the flow (a democracy) ; whether this is drawing a topic discussion out of a hat or electing these through a forum discussion. Interesting though is the 'hat drawing' revision ( if the topic that is drawn is not 'popular' then we will draw again). This was introduced upon the second hat drawing meeting. However, the person that suggested this revision did not suggest this on the first-time hat drawing (when perhaps coincidentally enough, their topic was drawn). This is not to say that their topic was not discussion worthy, but the timeliness is interesting.

Again, there's nothing wrong with being passionate. Although I do not necessarily agree with religious views of others, nearly everyone seems to adequately self-monitor their social parameters. One member though seems to continually 'pitch' their Church. Last week, we learned of its location and their broadness in accepting others with differing beliefs as well as what they stand for. Also as with religion, many of us are self-published (self included) but again, I'm not sure I agree with self-promoting while a philosophy meeting is supposed to be taking place.

It was my impression that a "group process" meant an equal share of the floor. The lady beside me attempted to speak twice. Another individual earlier spoke of allowing each person the opportunity to speak and without interruption. I like that. Minutes later, the lady began to speak, which was simultaneously with another (it was the same individual that earlier suggested this rule). He did not defer. He spoke over her on two occasions.

I think that I should point out that when I refer to "individual", I refer to one "individual" with whom I see as relating to all the above circumstances.

"All suggestions are welcome."

Thanks, Bill
Bill Van F.
wvanfleet
Group Organizer
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 1,420
John,

A week has passed and judging from lack of responses from other members, it appears that my concerns are probably not shared by other members. With this considered, for me to go into much more detail would (in my opinion) border on coming across as more of a personal attack – rather than speaking on behalf of myself (and others) for group meeting improvement.
I don’t see what you have written as “personal attack.” You are stating your opinion about what you regard as being a problem in our group, namely, something I am doing. I believe you should be able to state such opinions. I have been interested in hearing the rationales for them.

I will address one thing:

“So could you offer your rationales for saying that I should never mention the church I attend and should never mention the book I have written, and/or should never advocate for either of those things in the group?”

More than once it’s been mentioned by other members that it’s rather imposing when confronted by a church recruiter. This is not to say that this was/is your goal. However, no one else (during my philosophy group attendance) has been as ‘promoting’ as yourself. Through multiple mentioning’s, I know the name of your church, it’s proximity, their belief system and their level of acceptance. While others have spoken of their beliefs, you are the only one to my knowledge that has gone into such detail' mentioning the name of their preferred place, it’s vicinity etc… Whether intentional or not, this gave off the impression of ‘pitching’ your place of service. .
There is so much here that I do not understand.

Why do you see me as a church recruiter? Is it because I have recommended to those interested that they might want to check out a church that seems to have unusual value, even in the eyes of an atheist? Do you think I have something to gain personally by your checking out that church?

What do you mean by “promoting”? Is that different than “recommending”? If I recommended to the group to see a particular movie, would that be “promoting”? If not, what would be the difference?

So what is the harm of your knowing the name of the church, the fact that it is almost right across the street from where we meet, their belief system (though I think that is quite varied), and their level of acceptance (even of atheists)? How have I harmed you, the group, or the group process?

What is the difference between “pitching” and “recommending”?

I contribute less than many people in the group. And I have seldom mentioned this church, just when I felt that it fitted into the ongoing discussion. And I doubt that I have mentioned it more than two or three times over the past several months. Your portrayal gives the impression that this is mostly what I have talked about, but it is simply something that I mentioned because I thought it might be of interest, given what we were talking about. At least that is the way I see it. And I would have no negative feelings about anyone else doing the same. Is it because it is about a church? Do you have negative feelings about churches, and believe that people should keep any ideas about religion to themselves? If I had recommended a movie, told where it was playing, and described something about what it was about, you surely would not have had the same reaction, would you (assuming it was related to our ongoing discussion)?

You seemed confused about my “rationale.” Since we are now open to the fact that the “individual” to whom I refer is you, I’ll repost the posting that I had deleted. If you are still unable to see validity within the below posting, that is fine.

But I have already reproduced that post and responded to it. Anyone interested can go back to that post and see my responses. What you have said in the current post has not changed my puzzlement as to what you are reacting to and why.

You seem to be saying that certain things should be kept to oneself, even if one thinks they might be of value to some others in the group. I do not say that. I say that we all should feel free to express our opinions, make our recommendations, and advocate for what we believe to be good things, whatever they are, and then to be prepared to hear alternative viewpoints. The idea of the CPDG is the sharing and comparing of ideas.

It might be some sort of social faux pas to advocate a church in a usual social situation, but this is not a usual social situation. First and foremost we are there to discuss ideas and to think about them in depth. And along with that would be our recommending things to each other and our advocating for what we believe to be good, with the awareness that such is likely to produce alternative ideas to those being presented.

And it would be so good to hear more of your rationales for the opinions you have offered. You may be right, even though I do not see it that way yet.

But I notice that you have left the CPDG. I don’t know whether you will be reading this reply or not, but I hope so, and I hope that you will consider rejoining and participating some more.

There have been a number of people who have left our group, and it has seemed to me that they have done this rather than have the experience of engaging in friendly debate with those who believe differently. I don’t know why you have left, but I can’t help but have that impression, especially since you expressed your concern that others were not expressing agreement with you. I am hoping that you, and anyone here, would stand up for what you believe even if you were the only one believing it, in order to stimulate our thinking about these issues. What you have done so far I think has been valuable to our group, and perhaps we will discuss it in our next meeting. At any rate, I hope you find what you are looking for, and just wish you could have found it with us. My best wishes to you.
Helen
user 5766938
Charlotte, NC
Post #: 108
Perhaps John is expressing a frustration with "lack of structure" in a meeting agenda. That is only my guess. Would it be helpful to the group meet-ups that every so often you all consider designating one specific "topic" or "area of interest" or "arm of philosophy" as the focus of a particular meet-up? You all could decide in advance of a meet-up what that discussion would focus on at the next meet-up. You would not have to follow that kind of pre-planning all the time, only when the group wishes to give all their meeting time to a discussion in depth of, for example, religion or Objectivism or comparing ultimate ethical principles, etc.
Limiting discuss and friendly debate to a confined subject may actually help some participants to gain a better understanding of the issue on the agenda. Moderator would have the responsibility to keep the comments on-track with no tangential departures into protracted discussions off-topic. The latter serve to make the group lose it train of thought about the particular discussion at hand.
As I do not attend meet-ups, I hope this may be a helpful suggestion, but I will leave it to the group's participants to weigh its value. What I don't know is if the group members feel empowered or if they are too dependent upon the Moderator for all the leadership.
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