What we're about

The Chicago Philosophy Meetup is a community of groups created by and for people interested in engagements with philosophy and the history of such engagements. Our members have a wide variety of backgrounds besides philosophy, including literature, law, physics, theology, music, and more.

We host events suggested by individual members and coordinated by volunteer organizers and offer opportunities for discussion with others who share these interests. If you have an idea for a topic you'd like to discuss, especially if you are from an historically underrepresented group in academic philosophy, let us work with you to make it happen.

Whether you're new to philosophy and looking to get started, or have been doing philosophy for some time and want to dig a bit deeper, we invite you to check us out.

We have basic expectations for how we talk to each other, so:

Listen to others
Ask for clarification
Get to know people
Help other voices to be heard
Work towards understanding each other
Practice moving past your assumptions about others

Limit others’ performance of items on the DO list

The Chicago Philosophy Meetup opposes any force of exclusion, discrimination, and/or harassment present in its community. Such forces include, but are not limited to, racism, transphobia, misogyny, and antisemitism. The Chicago Philosophy Meetup seeks to be inclusive because only in this way can we fulfill the DOs list above. We are here to help! If you have concerns, questions about a meeting, or need assistance (e.g. accessibility), please contact either the organizers or the event host for the meeting directly.

"Philosophy is not a theory but an activity."
-- from "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus," Wittgenstein

Discourse cheers us to companionable
reflection. Such reflection neither
parades polemical opinions nor does it
tolerate complaisant agreement. The sail
of thinking keeps trimmed hard to the
wind of the matter.
-- from "On the Experience of Thinking," Heidegger

Check out our calendar (https://www.meetup.com/The-Chicago-Philosophy-Meetup/events/calendar/)

Upcoming events (4+)

Live-Reading Aristotle's Organon––European Style

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Organon means "instrument," as in, instrument for thought and speech. The term was given by ancient commentators to a group of Aristotle's treatises comprising his logical works.

|-- Categories
|-- On Interpretation
|-- Prior Analytics
|-- Posterior Analytics
|-- Topics
|-- On Sophistical Refutations
|-- Rhetoric*

(* Robin Smith, author of SEP's 2022 entry "Aristotle's Logic," argues that Rhetoric should be part of the Organon.)

Whenever we do any human thing, we can either do it well or do it poorly. With instruments, we can do things either better, faster, and more; or worse, slower, and less. That is, with instruments they either augment or diminish our doings.

Do thinking and speaking (and writing and listening) require instruments? Yes. We need physical instruments like microphones, megaphones, pens, papers, computers. But we also need mental instruments: grammar, vocabulary words, evidence-gathering techniques, big-picture integration methods, persuasion strategies. Thinking while sitting meditatively all day in a lotus position doesn't require much instrumentation of any kind, but thinking and speaking well in the sense of project-planning, problem-solving, negotiating, arguing, deliberating--that is, the active engagements in the world (whether romantic, social, commercial, or political)--do require well-honed mental instruments. That's the Organon in a nutshell.

Are you an up-and-comer sort of human being, a doer, go-getter, achiever, or at least you're choosing to become one? You need to wield the Organon.

Join us.

Kant: Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Week 2)

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What is the meaning of morality, and what does it mean that we are moral? Kant's classic of meta-ethics, the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, tries to address these questions while working towards inaugurating a new approach to metaphysics. Kant's ethical project is broad, covering problems of personal responsibility, virtue, rights, cosmopolitanism, world peace, and religion.

No prior experience with Kant is necessary.

Online meeting link: https://meet.jit.si/CPM-Kant-Wednesdays

Week 1:
Preface (Cambridge Practical Philosophy: 43 - 48; Complete Works: 4:387 - 4:392)

Section 1: Transition from common rational to philosophic moral cognition (Cambridge Practical Philosophy: 49 - 60; Complete Works: 4:393 - 4:405)

Week 3:
Section 2: Transition from popular moral philosophy to metaphysics of morals (Cambridge Practical Philosophy: 61 - 93; Complete Works: 4:406 - 4:445)

Week 4:
Section 3: Transition from metaphysics of morals to the critique of pure practical reason (Cambridge Practical Philosophy: 94 - 108; Complete Works: 4:446 - 4:463)

PDF: https://libgen.rocks/ad.php?md5=d63c2f94c6c355e9cfdec32d847ae572

The reading group will continue with the Critique of Practical Reason, so if you plan to read this, too, I recommend getting the volume 'Practical Philosophy' in the Cambridge editions of Kant's work. This book has the groundwork, second critique as well as many other works by Kant:


Preludes: Kant to Wittgenstein

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For this seventh discussion in the series, please read Wittgenstein, The Blue Book pp. 1-17 (book), pp. 1-top of 21 (pdf) ending with “we can build up the complicated forms from the primitive ones by gradually adding new forms.”

In lieu of a biographical sketch, please read this illuminating and amusing account of the house he designed: A dwelling for the gods.


What is knowable? How can cognition reach its object? What is consciousness? How do words mean? These are the issues addressed in the following short texts:

Kant, A Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics
Husserl, The Idea of Phenomenology
Sartre, The Transcendence of the Ego
Wittgenstein, The Blue Book

Rather than a vertical deep dive into a particular philosopher, we will take a horizontal slice of the major currents of modern European thought. A prevailing theme is the ego’s being, awareness and understanding.

Each selection is both prospective prelude and retrospective postlude to the respective philosopher’s thought. Whether you are dabbling in the source material or have braved the major writings and seek a fresh perspective, you are invited to contribute.







Plato's Parmenides

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We'll be working our way through Plato's Parmenides via live reading and discussion.

You can find various translations of the dialogue, some available for free (in one way or another). Here is one: http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/parmenides.html

About the dialogue, from the SEP:
The Parmenides is, quite possibly, the most enigmatic of Plato’s dialogues. The dialogue recounts an almost certainly fictitious conversation between a venerable Parmenides (the Eleatic Monist) and a youthful Socrates, followed by a dizzying array of interconnected arguments presented by Parmenides to a young and compliant interlocutor named “Aristotle” (not the philosopher, but rather a man who became one of the Thirty Tyrants after Athens’ surrender to Sparta at the conclusion of the Peloponnesian War). Most commentators agree that Socrates articulates a version of the theory of forms defended by his much older namesake in the dialogues of Plato’s middle period, that Parmenides mounts a number of potentially devastating challenges to this theory, and that these challenges are followed by a piece of intellectual “gymnastics” consisting of eight strings of arguments (Deductions) that are in some way designed to help us see how to protect the theory of forms against the challenges. Beyond this, there is precious little scholarly consensus. Commentators disagree about the proper way to reconstruct Parmenides’ challenges, about the overall logical structure of the Deductions, about the main subject of the Deductions, about the function of the Deductions in relation to the challenges, and about the final philosophical moral of the dialogue as a whole.

Past events (3,567)