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+)

Human Enhancement, Nature, and Virtue: Dr. Benjamin Hole

Capitol Hill Branch of The Seattle Public Library

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. Benjamin Hole from Pacific University in Oregon. Dr. Hole is a recent PhD graduate from UW and organized the Northwest Philosophy Conference in Seattle last year. Human enhancement technologies –e.g., life extension, physical and cognitive enhancement, augmented reality, genetic engineering, and consciousness uploading– challenge our concept of human nature. Transhumanists aim to transform our nature into posthuman –e.g, the technological singularity. This discussion will address two questions. (1) What is the best ethical framework for addressing the prospects of human enhancement? Some might think that a virtue ethical approach based on human nature is uniquely equipped to deal with the changes of enhancement, while others would prefer deontological (based on rules) or consequentialist (based on outcomes) approaches, since their bases are unchanging. Since virtue ethics is based on human nature, (2) how would moral virtue change with changes in human nature?

Socialism and Marxism

Seattle Public Library - Beacon Hill Branch

The discussion will be led by members of the Seattle branch of the International Socialist Organization. https://www.internationalsocialist.org/ As Karl Marx wrote, philosophers have merely interpreted the world -- the point is to change it. Come join us for a discussion on the primary tenets of revolutionary socialism: historical materialism, mass working-class revolution from below, and opposition to all forms of exploitation, oppression, and imperialism, as well as how socialists organize to put those politics into practice today.

From Religion to Science: Dr. Lawrence Wood

Seattle Public Library - Beacon Hill Branch

Dr. Lawrence Wood will discuss his recent book From Religion to Science, followed by Q and A. Dr. Wood has previously presented at American Association for the Advancement of Science meetings: 2005 application of system engineering to systems biology 2007 confronting opposition to public education on evolution 2008 the science – religion conflict 2010 evolution and the fate of humanity 2012 why is creationism so persistent? 2013 the last of the Hominidae 2014 evolution reviewed 2016 natural – the code word for we don’t know. Dr. Wood will address 2 primary questions: 1) why has our marvelous brain formulated two diametrically opposite explanations of ourselves and our surroundings we call religion and the other science and 2) why do an equal number of people accept one with the other? http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/10/prweb14820825.htm A physics expert and former scientific product developer has released his comprehensive examination of society’s transition from a religious explanation of its conception based on divine causation to a scientific explanation based on the laws of physics, the most momentous sequence of events in human history. In “The Transition, Initiated by Copernicus and Galileo, from Religion to Science,” author Lawrence Wood explores the history of religious precedent and scientific revolution and presents his concept of the “beckoning bridge” – a metaphor for humanity’s choice to relinquish religious beliefs and embrace scientific discovery. Throughout his book, Wood, who holds a doctorate in physics, elucidates the formulation of humankind’s belief in supernatural causation because of unrecognized illusions, (known as religion.) Wood then demonstrates how scientific investigations, begun approximately 500 years ago, gradually exposed these illusions, resolving them through the development, by some of the world’s most brilliant scientists, of the correct explanation of ourselves and our surroundings, (known as science.) “Unfortunately, many are unable or unwilling to accept these new scientific understandings – thus creating two fundamentally opposed justifications for our creation and continued existence,” Wood said. Developed after years of independent study, Wood’s book accounts for the coexistence of two diametrically opposite explanations for the universe’s formation and explores how the evolution of scientific law and development of technology, such as the microscope and telescope, ultimately resolved worldly illusions that acted as the bedrock of religious understanding.

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.

Past events (107)

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Pacific Lutheran University

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