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:

DO...
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

DON'T...
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+)

Plato's Pod: The Statesman (part 3, 294(b)-end)

Needs a location

The final part (from 294(b)) of Plato’s Statesman continues the analogies of herding, steering, and weaving in the fabric of society as they relate to the statesman’s expertise in balancing the differing priorities of the four virtues over time.

Observing what we know from experience, that “law could never accurately embrace what is best and most just for all at the same time,” the Visitor from Elea proceeds to assert that, “For the dissimilarities between human beings and their actions, and the fact that practically nothing in human affairs ever remains stable, prevent any sort of expertise whatsoever from making any simple decision in any sphere that covers all cases and will last for all time.”

Time plays an important role in the conclusion of The Statesman. The Visitor questions the inflexibility of some constitutions and laws when no one is able to foresee outcomes that depend on many contributory causes. He proceeds to conclude that the wise ruler “knows when it is the right time to begin and set in motion the important things in cities, and when it is the wrong time.” Is there a lesson in these words for us, now?

Knowledge of order and proportion is explored in the context of six different constitutional types – two for each of rule by one, rule by few, and rule by the many – as the Visitor and Young Socrates discuss harmony in societies. If there can be no perfect social organization, the question the Visitor asks is “which of these ‘incorrect’ constitutions is least difficult to live with, given that they are all difficult, and which the heaviest to bear?” It is a question of compromise that we might find particularly relevant to our time, 2,400 years after Plato wrote it, in our own quest for statesmanship when we sometimes find ourselves surrounded instead by “experts in faction” (303(c)).

We will be joined by members of the Toronto Philosophy Meetup - https://www.meetup.com/The-Toronto-Philosophy-Meetup

Our discussion can go anywhere the group wishes, for which some suggested themes will be offered. Wherever our discussion leads, Plato, without a doubt, would have imagined no better way than in dialogue for knowledge – the account of the reasons why – to multiply its connections. We welcome the sharing of all perspectives, whether you are new to or experienced with Plato. Recordings of our previous episodes are at https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9tZWRpYS5yc3MuY29tL3BsYXRvc3BvZC9mZWVkLnhtbA and other popular podcast platforms.

This episode will be recorded in voice only without video, using first name as it appears on your screen profile, and podcast for those who would like to share in our knowledge. After the recording ends, participants are welcome to remain for a half hour of “Plato’s Café”, a casual discussion of your choice of themes from any of Plato’s works, or philosophy in general.

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APPROXIMATELY ONE WEEK BEFORE THE MEETUP: Please visit https://1drv.ms/u/s!AqvPwkIofv4UaFldrPpbva3VSXI?e=3Y7PjP for questions and themes that we might address, as well as those explored in our previous meetups. We will also post the reading list for our next meeting which will generally be scheduled every two weeks on Sunday at 10 a.m. eastern. During our dialogue, participants are encouraged to relate their comments to Plato's text, referring to the Stephanus number for the passage so others can follow in the reading. Participants are also encouraged to read the text aloud for the meaning of the written word to resonate.

There are many translations of Plato's works available, of varying quality. Your public library will have multiple editions. A free translation of The Statesman is available at https://gutenberg.org/ebooks/1738, although lacking in explanatory notes and passage reference numbers that would be useful for our discussion. Participants in our entire series might be interested in purchasing Plato: Complete Works (https://www.amazon.ca/Plato-Complete-Works/dp/0872203492/).

The Meetup will take place on Zoom. Please RSVP to access the Zoom link at your Meetup account.

Citizen Assembly: Military Interventionism – who should we liberate next?

Welcome to the Democratic rEvolution!
Ethics – Society – Economics – Environment – Foreign Relations

MEETING TOPIC
At this meeting Cezary Jurewicz will present his idea "International Liberation Task Force to overthrow oppressive regimes" from the main Egora. Please read the idea in advance to prepare for the discussion:
https://egora-ilp.org/ideas/11w/preview
Additionally, we will discuss the "hit list" already being assembled in the "Regimes to overthrow" Egora community, as specified in the idea above.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION
This is a session of real citizen democracy. We take turns presenting various ideas for how to improve our societies. We duly deliberate those ideas in a civil manner while maintaining real freedom of speech. And we build measurable support for those ideas so we can organize to actually implement the best solutions.

Our process is facilitated by the use of a new networking technology where your voice truly counts, Egora, "The Worldwide Stock-Market of Ideas". Please watch this 1-minute video about Egora:
https://youtu.be/DGKxDvQ-1I4

And then please register for Egora at
https://Egora-ILP.org

How to Read Wittgenstein by Ray Monk (Live Reading)

Needs a location

Hi Everyone, Feb 20 update

  • Now hosting on Zoom, please RSVP for the new meeting link
  • Our host Phil will be off, returning in 6-7 weeks
  • Until he returns, we will do a review and start at Chapter 1 until he is back, then we will pick up where we left off which is chapter 7

"The kind of understanding we seek in philosophy, Wittgenstein tried to make clear, is similar to the kind we might seek of a person, a piece of music, or, indeed, a poem..."

This will be a live reading event in which we work our way through a secondary source book about Wittgenstein. Like all books in the "How To Read" series, this book presents large passages from Wittgenstein himself followed by commentary. I believe that one good way to reach genuine understanding of a philosopher is to read a high quality interpreter who one can both agree with and argue against as one reads. So no one in the group will be in any way obliged to AGREE with the interpretations of Wittgenstein that Ray Monk puts forward. I myself often do not agree with him, but I always learn a lot by trying to articulate HOW I disagree with him.

I like reading highly quality secondary sources because I just do not believe it is possible to have what we might call "an unmediated direct encounter with a philosopher's writings". As I see it, all encounters with philosophy are mediated and the only question is: Will our encounter be mediated by something of high quality, or not? I prefer to have my encounters with philosophers be mediated by high quality interpreters like Ray Monk.

Here is a description of the book:

Though Wittgenstein wrote on the same subjects that dominate the work of other analytic philosophers the nature of logic, the limits of language, the analysis of meaning he did so in a peculiarly poetic style that separates his work sharply from that of his peers and makes the question of how to read him particularly pertinent.
At the root of Wittgenstein’s thought, Ray Monk argues, is a determination to resist the scientism characteristic of our age, a determination to insist on the integrity and the autonomy of non-scientific forms of understanding. The kind of understanding we seek in philosophy, Wittgenstein tried to make clear, is similar to the kind we might seek of a person, a piece of music, or, indeed, a poem.

The book is available here - https://www.amazon.ca/How-Read-Wittgenstein-R-Monk/dp/186207724X
PDF - https://ca1lib.org/book/5220505/53d287

I intend for this meetup to be a fairly relaxed and "easy" meetup (to the extent that any attempt to understand Wittgenstein an ever be said to be "easy"). You can enjoy it all on its own if you like. However I am also doing a series of more challenging meetups on 21st century philosophers, most of whom assume that their readers know quite a bit about Wittgenstein. So you could also attend this Wittgenstein meetup as preparation for the more challenging meetups I will soon be hosting on such thinkers as Robert Brandom and John McDowell.

One thing to be aware of is that your host and guide to the book
(Philip) has some disabilities that require him to run the group a little bit differently. For example, I will not see you and you will not see me. In many ways this meetup will be run more like a conference call on the phone than like a standard Jitsi Meetup. I hope very much that I can run this meetup without requiring the "raise hands" feature. But because this meetup will be less visually oriented than many other meetups, we will all have to work together to make sure the conversation flows well without the "raise hands" feature.

Lastly, I strongly encourage everyone to get some books by Wittgenstein himself and read them, but we will not be doing that in this meetup.

Although this is a live reading event, it would be great if you read beforehand. This is completely optional however.

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This event will repeat indefinitely (every 2 weeks) until we complete the book.

Live-Reading Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics--American Style

Needs a location

Let's try something new. For the next many weeks, we are going to live-read and discuss Aristotle's ~Nicomachean Ethics~. What is new and different about this project is that the translation, by Adam Beresford (2020), happens to be rendered in standard 'Murican English.

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From the translator's "Note" on the text:
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"This translation is conservative in interpretation and traditional in aim. It aims to translate the text as accurately as possible.
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"I translated every page from scratch, from a clean Greek text, rather than revising an existing translation. ... I wanted to avoid the scholars’ dialect that is traditionally used for translating Aristotle.
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"I reject the approach of Arthur Adkins, Elizabeth Anscombe, and others who followed Nietzsche in supposing that the main elements of modern thinking about right and wrong were unknown to the Greeks, or known to them only in some radically different form. My view of humanity and of our shared moral instincts is shaped by a newer paradigm. This is a post-Darwinian translation. (It is also more in line with the older, both Aristotelian and Christian view of human character.)
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"Having said that, I have no interest at all in modernizing Aristotle’s ideas. All the attitudes of this treatise remain fully Greek, very patriarchal, somewhat aristocratic, and firmly embedded in the fourth century BC. My choice of dialect (standard English) has no bearing on that whatsoever. (It is perfectly possible to express distinctively Greek and ancient attitudes in standard English.) ... I have also not simplified the text in any way. I have translated every iota, particle, preposition, noun, verb, adjective, phrase, clause, and sentence of the original. Every premise and every argument therefore remains – unfortunately – exactly as complex and annoyingly difficult as in any other version in whatever dialect.
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"Some scholars and students unwarily assume that the traditional dialect has a special connection with Greek and that using it brings readers closer to the original text; and that it makes the translation more accurate. In reality, it has no special tie to the Greek language, either in its main philosophical glossary or in its dozens of minor (and pointless) deviations from normal English. And in my view it certainly makes any translation much less accurate.
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"I will occasionally refer to the scholars’ dialect (‘Gringlish’) and its traditional glossary in the Notes."
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Here is our plan:
1. Read Intro excerpts or a summary to gain the big picture.
2. Read a segment of the translated text.
3. Discuss it analytically and interpretively.
4. Repeat again at #2 for several more times.
5. Discuss the segments evaluatively.
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Zoom is the project's current meeting platform, but that can change. The project's cloud drive is here, at which you'll find the reading texts, notes, and slideshows.

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Past events (3,054)

Plato - Sophist (Live Reading)

Needs a location

Photos (1,080)