What we're about

This is a philosophy group that will focus on analytic philosophy (the type of philosophy typically taught in American universities), but is open to ALL approaches to philosophy. No specific background is necessary, and everyone from those who have never studied philosophy to those who have graduate degrees are welcome.

We are BOTH a well-established local group - one of the largest and most active philosophy Meetups in the country - and the Seattle chapter of a national organization dedicated to building communities of philosophical conversation, The Society of Philosophers in America (SOPHIA).


What are some distinguishing characteristics of this group?

1) DIVERSITY: We have a very diverse range of discussion leaders, and a high level of participation. In the past few years, over 30 different people, ranging from philosophy professors to people just interested in philosophy, have lead discussions. In 2019 we will have different discussion leader(s) for every session we run.

2) NATIONAL SUPPORT: We have the support of an outstanding national philosophy organization which shares our aims.

Anyone is free to lead a meetup session here. It can be run in a time or place of your choosing (or we can reserve a library room for you). Any broadly philosophical topic, and any format is ok. Anyone who wants to run a session should contact the organizer.

Upcoming events (5+)

Intro to Philosophy Book Club Meeting (All Levels!): Plato's Apology

Let's meet for a discussion of Plato's Apology! This work is considered by many to be a great introduction to philosophy. Complete philosophy beginners as well as experts are both welcome! This will be a very relaxed and casual book club meeting so don't be intimated (I am a beginner myself). If you want to come just to listen, that's fine too. The first 45 minutes will be a meet and greet so if you can bring some wine and/or snacks, that would be great! Then we'll start the book discussion which will last about 1 hour 15 minutes. In advance of the meeting, please read the Apology dialogue. You can buy the complete works of Plato here for only 99 cents: https://amzn.to/2GYmf68 or get just the Apology for free here: https://amzn.to/2IYuDVl The meetup location is downtown on the rooftop of my apartment building, so we'll have some nice views to take in. Once you RSVP, I will message you the exact location but park anywhere near the Whole Foods and you'll be very close. Space is limited so RSVP soon!

The Phenomenology of Edmund Husserl

Capitol Hill Branch of The Seattle Public Library

This session will be presented by Dennis Matthews. Dennis has an M.A. in Philosophy, specializing in phenomenology, and recently retired from a 35 year career as a computer software engineer and business owner. During that time, Dennis continued his independent study of Phenomenology by attending classes and seminars in the United States and Europe. This session will introduce the texts, tasks, goals, concepts and methodology of Edmund Husserl, the acknowledged “Father of Phenomenology”. Husserl developed phenomenology at the beginning of the 20th Century and set the stage for much of the Continental Philosophical tradition that followed. The depth and scope of his ideas, along with their enormous influence on subsequent thinking, ranks Husserl among the major figures in the Western Philosophical tradition. Phenomenology is motivated by a return to beginnings and constant renewal. In that spirit, this session returns to phenomenology’s roots to uncover the original meaning of phenomenology as it was first elucidated by Husserl, it’s founder. His ideas are prerequisites for reading philosophers like Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and many others. The session will survey the philosophical and textual landscape of Husserlian Phenomenology, tie his ideas back to primary texts, and introduce the technical terminology of phenomenology. Think of the session as a map to Husserlian Phenomenology and a guide to what to expect when first approaching it for study. Husserl was a prolific writer. More than a century after first inaugurating the phenomenological movement with the seminal work Logical Investigations, original manuscripts by Husserl are still being transcribed and published. Several works published during Husserl’s lifetime were meant as explicit introductions to Phenomenology, and they often took different paths as he developed his ideas, responded to critics, and established new goals. Much of his voluminous and posthumously published and unpublished writings, on the other hand, are a meticulous and penetrating description of the idea of consciousness. They are Husserl doing Phenomenology and applying it to what he considered the goal of Philosophy, the clarification of the ground of reason. The reading list will reflect these different paths toward Phenomenology and allow you to choose your own way into this difficult philosophy. Categories will include consciousness and intentionality, the phenomenological method, theory of knowledge, foundations of logic, and the concept of the “life world”. As we examine different aspects of Husserl’s philosophy, the intent is for participants to share what they have read and bring different voices and perspectives to the discussion. There is a lot of material to cover. We will take it as far as we can while still trying to get through the basic framework as much as possible. And that’s OK. Being at the beginning and seeing for oneself is a good place to be for a phenomenologist.

Heidegger and Being and Time: Dr. Douglas Peduti

Capitol Hill Branch of The Seattle Public Library

In a poll of the greatest philosophy books of the 20th century, Being and Time by Martin Heidegger came in 2nd. https://www.stephanwetzels.nl/docs/Lackey-What-are-the-modern-classics.pdf From the article discussing the poll: "Heidegger’s Being and Time edged out Rawls’s A Theory of Justice for second place. But 51 persons cited Being and Time as the outstanding philosophy book of the twentieth century, while only 21 cited A Theory of Justice first. Rawls is admired; Heidegger is adored. Almost every ballot that listed any work of continental philosophy listed Heidegger. At the same time, a certain number of analytically oriented ballots also cited Heidegger in the top 5. One had the impression, reviewing the ballots, that some people were voting for Heidegger, not because they shared his interests, theses, or methods, but because they recognized in Being and Time the workings of an original and subtle philosophical mind." Dr. Douglas Peduti, a philosophy professor at Seattle University and Heidegger scholar, will give a talk on Heidegger and Being and Time, followed by Q and A. He earned his PhD from Duquesne University, with a dissertation on Heidegger's understanding of language. His current project is translating Heidegger’s Seminar on time from GA 83.

Compassion and Morality: Dr. Colin Marshall

University Branch - The Seattle Public Library

Does compassion clue us into moral truth, or is it a purely subjective reaction that distracts us from impartial ethical principles? This will be part of a series of events where local philosophy professors will lead discussions for the group. In order to facilitate interaction these sessions are not intended as lectures followed by Q and A, but rather as facilitated and guided philosophical conversations. We would like to thank the Society for Philosophers in America (SOPHIA) for their support of this series as part of their effort to build communities of philosophical conversation. You can check out their website and membership opportunities here: https://www.philosophersinamerica.com/membership-account/membership-levels/ This session will be moderated by Dr. Colin Marshall, a philosophy professor at UW. It will be based upon his recent book, Compassionate Moral Realism. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/compassionate-moral-realism-9780198809685?cc=us&lang=en&# Session description: Compassion is Perception: Does compassion clue us into moral truth, or is it a purely subjective reaction that distracts us from impartial ethical principles? In this discussion, drawing on my recent book, I will argue that compassion is a way of perceiving other creatures' pains, pleasures, and desires. Hence, people without compassion are genuinely missing something about the world. Morally good people, therefore, can face reality in a way that bad people cannot. In making my argument, I will examine the nature of perception, focusing both on normal perception and on the fascinating phenomenon of human echolocation. Our discussion will revolve around questions about moral truth, objectivity, perception, and what to do about the very real limits to human compassion.

Past events (110)

From Religion to Science: Dr. Lawrence Wood

Seattle Public Library - Beacon Hill Branch

Photos (79)

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