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Exploring the Ethics of Human Freedom Message Board General Discussions › A proposal of what a "Good Meeting" might look like

A proposal of what a "Good Meeting" might look like

Dennis P.
Group Organizer
Westwood, MA
Post #: 66
I would like to hear ideas from new members about how they would like to proceed exploring the ethics of human freedom. Please review and add your two cents. We will iterate as we accumulate experience.
Dennis P.
Group Organizer
Westwood, MA
Post #: 67
This meetup group meets regularly to explore a variety of topics around the ethics of human freedom.
It has two goals:

1) Develop and understand a consistent, universal, rational ethics of human freedom
2) Learn how to communicate the ethics of human freedom to others with compassion, meeting them where they are

I would like the tone of our meetings to be inquisitive, respectful, contemplative, humble, and compassionate. I would like participants to leave feeling that they were heard, that they learned something, that they were able to advance their own thoughts, that they were valued members of the group, that they were able to get to some depth, that the other members provided new insight in a respectful manner, and that there is a lot more in this area that they would like to investigate -- with us.

To more effectively achieve these goals, we consciously select a meeting structure.

A meeting might follow this format:

Meeting Topics
Topics might come from these areas

  • Meta-ethics (What qualities should required of a "good" ethic (e.g., Universality?))
  • Central topics in developing an ethics of Human Freedom (e.g., positive versus negative rights)
  • Application of the ethics of Human Freedom to real-life (e.g., national defense, parenting, policing)
  • Practicing compassionately and effectively communicating EHF for specific concerns (e.g., charity for the poor, education)
  • Reviewing a specific authors' work (e.g., Molyneux, Huemer, Rothbard, Spooner, ...)

Before the Meeting

  • One of us suggests a topic, agreeing to moderate
  • The moderator posts a succinct topic introduction, with links (e.g., a YouTube or an article) for those who like to prepare beforehand.
  • Any member may post other, recommended preparatory material. (Shorter material works better.)
  • A discussion may start in the Comments section that primes the pump.

Start of Meeting

  • We meet at a location where we can hear one another and speak to the entire group
  • We greet and enjoy social time up front
  • Food and drink are ordered

Introducing the Night's Topic

  • The introduction motivates the discussion by explaining why it is important.
  • The evening’s moderator then introduces the topic coherently and concisely.
  • It offers multiple perspectives presented as neutrally as possible.

Opening Monologues

  • Everyone who would like to be heard on the topic is given time for a monologue without interruption.
  • Listeners take notes for later, more informal discussion and debate in small groups.
  • After each persons' monologue, the moderator chooses a couple of listeners to ask short, clarifying, gracious questions on a point presented by the speaker. The moderator attempts to choose those who have not yet asked questions.
  • These questions are on the night's topic and germane to the speaker's contribution to the night's topic. (Not an aside or rat-hole.) The listener is asking the question because the listener believes that the speaker's answer will clarify the speaker's point for the entire group. This is not opinion or debate time. (And no time is GotCha time.)
  • The speaker addresses the questions within the time limit and yields back to the moderator.
  • The moderator selects the next speaker

General Discussion

  • After everyone has spoken, the moderator selects a couple of points that are on the topic, were touched on by several speakers, but seemed to have some disagreement or confusion.
  • The moderator presents his perception of the different speakers' perspectives on the point.
  • The moderator asks for other speakers to discuss how they might think about those points.
  • The moderator makes sure that all intending to speak do speak, and that those who have not spoken much are given a first opportunity.
  • Discussion is inquisitive, cordial, contemplative, humble, and compassionate.
  • The originating speakers have an opportunity for a last word.
  • The moderator presents such points until time or no points left.

Small Group Discussion

  • The large group breaks up into smaller groups
  • Each participant can catch speakers to clarify and discuss specific points that they had noted that they wanted to discuss in more detail.
  • This is the time to clarify issues off-topic or of narrower interest

After the Meeting

  • After the meeting, the Moderator posts a summary of the discussions on the bulletin board.
  • After the meeting, ideas are further discussed via the bulletin board.
  • Ideas for new topics that were suggested by the discussion are added to our lists of future topics.

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