• Coping with exponential growth in information
    A minimum of an appetizer and beverage purchase is required. Each participant will receive a separate check for his / her meal order. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to cancel your RSVP at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. **** All members are encouraged to RSVP. Please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. I look forward to seeing you!

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

    5 comments
  • Book - Darwin's Unfinished Symphony
    We cover Part 1: Foundations of Culture at the 11/7 meeting. *********** About the Book How culture transformed human evolution Humans possess an extraordinary capacity for cultural production, from the arts and language to science and technology. How did the human mind―and the uniquely human ability to devise and transmit culture―evolve from its roots in animal behavior? Darwin's Unfinished Symphony presents a captivating new theory of human cognitive evolution. This compelling and accessible book reveals how culture is not just the magnificent end product of an evolutionary process that produced a species unlike all others―it is also the key driving force behind that process. Kevin Laland shows how the learned and socially transmitted activities of our ancestors shaped our intellects through accelerating cycles of evolutionary feedback. The truly unique characteristics of our species―such as our intelligence, language, teaching, and cooperation―are not adaptive responses to predators, disease, or other external conditions. Rather, humans are creatures of their own making. Drawing on his own groundbreaking research, and bringing it to life with vivid natural history, Laland explains how animals imitate, innovate, and have remarkable traditions of their own. He traces our rise from scavenger apes in prehistory to modern humans able to design iPhones, dance the tango, and send astronauts into space. This book tells the story of the painstaking fieldwork, the key experiments, the false leads, and the stunning scientific breakthroughs that led to this new understanding of how culture transformed human evolution. It is the story of how Darwin's intellectual descendants picked up where he left off and took up the challenge of providing a scientific account of the evolution of the human mind. ******* This book is available in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Half Price Books. I couldn't find any copies available through the Contra Costa Public Library system. Here is a link to the book on Amazon so that you can preview its contents: https://www.amazon.com/Darwins-Unfinished-Symphony-Culture-Human/dp/0691151180 ******* RSVP Policy for the Meeting Format Since the meeting format requires members to obtain their own copy of a reading (in some cases requiring a purchase), this meeting has an open RSVP policy to help ensure that all interested members will be able to attend meetings. RSVPs will be kept open for at least a two-week period. Once RSVPs are closed, the organizer cannot guarantee a spot, but members are encouraged to request a spot by posting to the meeting's comment section. If the organizer is able to change the reservation to accommodate additional spots, the organizer will manually add the requesting members to the RSVP list. ******* Purchase Requirement Since meetings are held at a restaurant, each member is required to make a meal purchase of at least $10. Separate checks will be provided to each member. ******* Guidelines for Selecting a Reading • Should cover topics in philosophy and / or psychology. • Can be fiction or non-fiction (books, essays, short stories). • Consumable by the general public, with little to no jargon. Members are encouraged to post reading suggestions at http://www.meetup.com/East-Bay-Philosophy-Cafes/messages/boards/thread/50285624

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

  • Are we motivated solely by pleasure and pain?
    Inspiration for this topic comes from a philosophy Meetup that's based in NYC. I've reproduced the topic overview they had (see below). There are a number of references provided, but if you don't have time to look at these references, reading the overview is sufficient: In doing the things we do, and valuing the things we value, are we simply "psychological hedonists," seeking what feels good (i.e., pleasurable sensations or psychological states) and avoiding what feels bad? You may object to the hedonist's claim by noting that you often act on principles and values other than pleasure and pain, e.g., that you are also moved on behalf of moral principles, a vision of a good life, good character, and care for others. Maybe you are, but then another question arises. Have you have adopted these non-hedonist motivations, traits and values because they give you pleasure to hold them? (Or, similarly, because you feel bad if you fail to act on or identify yourself with your "high-minded," non-hedonistic motivations?) Even if you answer no to the hedonist's challenge and decide that you are truly motivated by factors other than pleasure and pain, another worry arises. When you seem to be acting because of non-hedonist values or motives, maybe you are mistaken and they are not the actual causes of what you do and value. Instead, you may have ulterior motivations of which you are not fully aware, and these ulterior motives to seek pleasure and avoid pain are the real reasons or causes for why you do what you do and value what you value. Readings are as follows: http://www.britannica.com/topic/psychological-hedonism The Psychological Hedonism entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica is a good, one-page introduction to the theory. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_hedonism [or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_egoism ] Wikipedia actually has an interesting article discussing both Psychological Hedonism and Psychological Egoism. Note that this 5-page article goes back and forth between those two theories, so be sure to keep them separate in your mind. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experience_machine Wikipedia also has a short (2-page) article on the famous thought experiment by philosopher Robert Nozick known as The Experience Machine [AKA the Pleasure Machine or Happiness Machine]. The thought experiment tests your intuitions on what you most value and desire. It argues most directly against value hedonism, but also against psychological hedonism. **** A minimum of an appetizer and beverage purchase is required. Each participant will receive a separate check for his / her meal order. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to cancel your RSVP at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. **** All members are encouraged to RSVP. Please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. I look forward to seeing you!

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

    12 comments
  • How can we use philosophy to improve democracy?
    If I can find a reading or video on this topic, I'll post it to the comments section. **** A minimum of an appetizer and beverage purchase is required. Each participant will receive a separate check for his / her meal order. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to cancel your RSVP at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. **** All members are encouraged to RSVP. Please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. I look forward to seeing you!

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

    11 comments
  • What is the purpose of education?
    Please take a look at the following infographic on the topic: https://www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_update/eu201207_infographic.pdf (Due to a conflict in my schedule, I'm not available to host a discussion on the second Thursday of this September.) **** A minimum of an appetizer and beverage purchase is required. Each participant will receive a separate check for his / her meal order. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to cancel your RSVP at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. **** All members are encouraged to RSVP. Please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. I look forward to seeing you!

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

    8 comments
  • Book - The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion
    We cover Part 3 of the book at our 9/12 meeting. *********** About the Book In this “landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself” (The New York Times Book Review) social psychologist Jonathan Haidt challenges conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to conservatives and liberals alike. Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind. ******* There are plenty of inexpensive, used copies of the book available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon or Half Price Books. Also, the book is available in eBook format. (Note: Copies are available through the Contra Costa County Library system.) Here is a link to the book on Amazon so that you can preview its contents: https://www.amazon.com/Righteous-Mind-Divided-Politics-Religion/dp/0307455777/ ******* RSVP Policy for the Meeting Format Since the meeting format requires members to obtain their own copy of a reading (in some cases requiring a purchase), this meeting has an open RSVP policy to help ensure that all interested members will be able to attend meetings. RSVPs will be kept open for at least a two-week period. Once RSVPs are closed, the organizer cannot guarantee a spot, but members are encouraged to request a spot by posting to the meeting's comment section. If the organizer is able to change the reservation to accommodate additional spots, the organizer will manually add the requesting members to the RSVP list. ******* Purchase Requirement Since meetings are held at a restaurant, each member is required to make a meal purchase of at least $10. Separate checks will be provided to each member. ******* Guidelines for Selecting a Reading • Should cover topics in philosophy and / or psychology. • Can be fiction or non-fiction (books, essays, short stories). • Consumable by the general public, with little to no jargon. • Can be read in 3 - 5 hours (in the case of a longer reading, e.g. a book, it should ideally consist of sections / groups of chapters, each of which can be discussed at separate meetings and read in 3 - 5 hours). Members are encouraged to post reading suggestions at http://www.meetup.com/East-Bay-Philosophy-Cafes/messages/boards/thread/50285624

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

    4 comments
  • Pragmatism: Peirce and James
    I have postponed our 4th Thursday meeting to this date due to a conflict in my schedule on that Thursday. We decided at our last meeting to do a deeper dive into Pragmatism, focusing on Charles Peirce and William James. Here are two videos, one that discussed James, the other, Peirce: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba7Ahpf1cqY (James) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyEkmdW6e14 (Peirce) The video on Peirce is fairly long (and is a recording of a lecture), so watch what you can of it (don't feel like you need to watch the whole thing). **** A minimum of an appetizer and beverage purchase is required. Each participant will receive a separate check for his / her meal order. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to cancel your RSVP at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. **** All members are encouraged to RSVP. Please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. I look forward to seeing you!

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

    3 comments
  • Book - The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion
    We cover Parts 1 and 2 of the book at our 8/22 meeting. *********** About the Book In this “landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself” (The New York Times Book Review) social psychologist Jonathan Haidt challenges conventional thinking about morality, politics, and religion in a way that speaks to conservatives and liberals alike. Drawing on his twenty five years of groundbreaking research on moral psychology, Haidt shows how moral judgments arise not from reason but from gut feelings. He shows why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians have such different intuitions about right and wrong, and he shows why each side is actually right about many of its central concerns. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind. ******* There are plenty of inexpensive, used copies of the book available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon or Half Price Books. Also, the book is available in eBook format. (Note: Copies are available through the Contra Costa County Library system.) Here is a link to the book on Amazon so that you can preview its contents: https://www.amazon.com/Righteous-Mind-Divided-Politics-Religion/dp/0307455777/ ******* RSVP Policy for the Meeting Format Since the meeting format requires members to obtain their own copy of a reading (in some cases requiring a purchase), this meeting has an open RSVP policy to help ensure that all interested members will be able to attend meetings. RSVPs will be kept open for at least a two-week period. Once RSVPs are closed, the organizer cannot guarantee a spot, but members are encouraged to request a spot by posting to the meeting's comment section. If the organizer is able to change the reservation to accommodate additional spots, the organizer will manually add the requesting members to the RSVP list. ******* Purchase Requirement Since meetings are held at a restaurant, each member is required to make a meal purchase of at least $10. Separate checks will be provided to each member. ******* Guidelines for Selecting a Reading • Should cover topics in philosophy and / or psychology. • Can be fiction or non-fiction (books, essays, short stories). • Consumable by the general public, with little to no jargon. • Can be read in 3 - 5 hours (in the case of a longer reading, e.g. a book, it should ideally consist of sections / groups of chapters, each of which can be discussed at separate meetings and read in 3 - 5 hours). Members are encouraged to post reading suggestions at http://www.meetup.com/East-Bay-Philosophy-Cafes/messages/boards/thread/50285624

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

    10 comments
  • Pragmatism
    Please read the following article on Pragmatism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pragmatism/ If you don't have time to read the entire article, try reading the intro, Part 1, Part 2 and the conclusion. **** A minimum of an appetizer and beverage purchase is required. Each participant will receive a separate check for his / her meal order. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to cancel your RSVP at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. **** All members are encouraged to RSVP. Please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. I look forward to seeing you!

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

    9 comments
  • What future does philosophy have?
    A minimum of an appetizer and beverage purchase is required. Each participant will receive a separate check for his / her meal order. If you RSVP, but need to change your plans, please make sure to come back to the meetup site to cancel your RSVP at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. **** All members are encouraged to RSVP. Please do so as soon as possible since spots fill up quickly. Please make sure to RSVP only if you are able to attend since RSVPs are limited. I look forward to seeing you!

    Stanford's Restaurant & Bar

    1300 S Main St · Walnut Creek

    1 comment