We haven't been to T.S. McHugh's in a while, so that's where we're going. Deal with it. (http://i.imgur.com/zLjXLKG.gif)
Boilerplate: For anyone totally new - For the most part the group doesn't have any specific topic or moderation, it's just a bunch of drunk, very smart people talking about random philosophical stuff, so it basically runs itself. Just show up, sit down wherever there's a free seat, and join in (Also, feel free to move around over the course of the evening. There tend to be five or six different conversations going on at once, and it can often be interesting to see what other people are talking about). I made a reservation under the name Michael S, as usual. Just ask the waitstaff to direct you to us.
Special topic - in addition to the general open-themed discussions, this is a specific subject or question which a small subset of us will be discussing. It's not mandatory, and anyone can join in, however this group will be attempting to stay roughly on topic for most of the evening. The special topic for the next event will be "Authority and Expertise". I think this is a more interesting issue than it sounds - much of what shapes our world-views is in turn shaped by the sources we decide to trust. We rely, intentionally or not, on friends, religious leaders, television, the internet, our government, and academic/scientific/medical institutions to help us construct our beliefs about everything we don't interface with directly. Even simple things, like "I believe there is a place called Mongolia even though I've never been there," or "I believe astronauts landed on the moon in 1964 even though I myself wasn't there," seem uncontroversial, but are still essentially based in a trust of authority. Then there are more complicated things like "I believe American politicians represent the will of their constituents," or "I believe man-made pollution is causing/exacerbating climate change." which get into much trickier territory.
When sources conflict, whose assertion do you go with? When sources don't conflict, how can you be sure that those sources aren't all drinking from the same poisoned well? How far out of your way should you go to expose yourself to alternative authorities? How do you avoid or account for bias?
These are just some of the possible questions - the discussion can go wherever within the general theme of Authority and Expertise.