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 (5)

René Girard Reading Circle: Desire, Deceit and the Novel

******NOTE THE NEW TIME****** We begin the Girard Reading Circle with his first book, "Desire, Deceit and the Novel." This study extends beyond the scope of literature into the psychology of much of our contemporary scene, including fashion, advertising, and propaganda techniques. In considering such aspects, the author goes beyond the domain of pure aesthetics and offers an interpretation of some basic cultural problems of our time. Authors discussed: Cervantes, Flaubert, Stendhal, Dostoevsky, Proust, et al. ******************************************************************************** READINGS: CHAPTER 5 of Girard's "Desire, Deciet and the Novel." PDF of the text: https://the-eye.eu/public/concen.org/Nonfiction.Ebook.Pack.Oct.2015-PHC/9780801818301.Johns%20Hopkins%20University%20Press.Deceit%2C%20Desire%20and%20the%20Novel_%20Self%20and%20Other%20in%20Literary%20Structure.Rene%20Girard.1961.pdf ********************************************************************** You're invited to post discussions to the Goodreads group: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/1107742-ren-girard-reading-circle For those interested, the Girard interviews from CBC "Ideas": https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/the-scapegoat-the-ideas-of-ren%C3%A9-girard-part-1-1.3474195

Kierkegaard: Either/Or Live Reading Balance Between the Esthetic and the Ethical

Online meeting link: https://meet.jit.si/KierkegaardCPM We will begin the reading on Danish page II 181 Join us for another return to Kierkegaard's Either/Or. In Either/Or Kierkegaard (under the pseudonym Victor Eremita) explores interiority, and the struggle for a meaningful existence wherein one finds lasting happiness. He accomplishes this by portraying two chief personalities: the Aesthete (Book I), and the Judge (Book II). The writings of the aesthete are personal and brooding. Among many aesthetic themes it examines the nature of love, happiness and how to secure these in a lasting way. The writings of the judge are addressed to the aesthete as to a friend, and attempt to convince him that he is putting himself in misery by misunderstanding the themes he has dealt with in Book I. Books can be found in the library, or can be bought online (used copies should be easy to find). Book 1: EPUB: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8BkdayihrgYWV9CWlU5eFM0cWc Book 2: EPUB: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8BkdayihrgYbS1yR1p6ZUpHMlE Amazon Links: Book I: http://www.amazon.com/Either-Kierkegaards-Writings-S%C3%B8ren-Kierkegaard/dp/0691020418/ Book II: http://www.amazon.com/Either-Part-Kierkegaards-Writings-Vol/dp/0691020426/ On the Friday Meetings: The Friday meetings started January 1st 2016 with an initial goal of reading through the first half of Kierkegaard's works. Due to continued interest we have decided to do some review, and continue on beyond this point as well. Works read so far in series: - The Concept of Irony, With Continual Reference to Socrates (Kierkegaard) - Notes of Schelling's Berlin Lectures (Kierkegaard) - Either/Or (Victor Eremita, et al.) - Two Upbuilding Discourses (Kierkegaard) - Fear and Trembling (Johannes de Silentio) - Repetition (Constantin Constantius) - Three Upbuilding Discourses (Kierkegaard) - Four Upbuilding Discourses (Kierkegaard) - Two Upbuilding Discourses (Kierkegaard) - Three Upbuilding Discourses (Kierkegaard) - Philosophical Fragments (Johannes Climacus) - Johannes Climacus or De Omnibus Dubitandum Est (Johannes Climacus) - Concept of Anxiety (Vigilius Haufniensis) - Prefaces (Nicolaus Notabene) - Writing Sampler (A.B.C.D.E.F. Godthaab) - Four Upbuilding Discourses (Kierkegaard) - Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions (Kierkegaard) - Stages on Life's Way (Hilarious Bookbinder) - Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments (Johannes Climacus) Works read, but not by Kierkegaard or a pseudonym: - The First Love (Scribe) - The Berlin Lectures (Schelling) - Clavigo (Goethe) - Faust Part I (Goethe) - Antigone (Sophocles)

Heidegger, anxiety, fascination and negotiating within a range of possibilities

Human Dasein is always structured as Being-in-the-world, or as a being who has concerns, has a stake in their disposition and involvements. One of the primary ways we engage with and understand this experience is through anxiety. Anxiety is a method to help us see our Being-in-the-world, in a way different from our usual, unreflective way. Beyond having a stake in our lives, we have our being in and through “world,” that is, various meaningful contexts and projects (pushed and facilitated by Das Man, the larger culture we are in). Our moods or attunement help kick us into these contexts and projects. Authenticity requires slippage, a "becoming unstuck" from that world. What Heidegger wants to show us is difficult for us to see, because our comfort zone is not seeing. According to Heidegger, what makes us feel good is our everyday way of being, a comfortable, unquestioning state. We dislike anything that will disrupt that state (violence, challenging art, etc.). So we have to be forced to look at our potentiality-for-Being. The mood of anxiety makes the everyday life structure of Dasein (being-in the-world or “care,” concernful absorption) light up, and forces us to stare directly at our potentiality-for-Being. We must be forced, because ordinarily, we wouldn't want to look our potentiality-for-Being, much less for a lengthy amount of time. Dasein is tightly linked to the "world" of its concern, its projects, its meaningful contexts, "what it's up to". This concernful absorption tends to get lost in the conformism of our relation to the "they". Dasein has fallen away from itself as an authentic potentiality for Being its Self, negotiating through the world, making choices. "Fallenness" into the "world" means an absorption in Being-with-one-another. "Inauthenticity" is a distinct way of being-in-the-world -- fascinated, caught up in the un-thought-about, unnoticed, unquestioned webs and networks of culture and society. Not-Being-its-self functions as a possibility of an entity which is absorbed in a world. This kind of not-Being is closest to Dasein and is where Dasein maintains itself. Dasein, tranqulized, and "understanding" everything, drifts along towards an alienation in which its own potentiality-for-Being is hidden from it. Dasein plunges into the groundlessness and nullity of inauthentic everydayness. This plunge remains hidden, so much so that it gets interpreted as "ascending" and "living concretely". According to Heidegger, we spend most of our time falling and fleeing — being absorbed in the They and not acknowledging our own potentiality. In anxiety, this normal way of existing is disrupted. Anxiety, occurs when you are immersed in an activity, and all of a sudden, the activity loses its sense, purpose, direction. In such moments, the “world,” the meaningful context in which you live and move, “collapses into itself”. In such moments, you get slightly unstuck from your “world” and you see it as a world. Anxiety cannot be responded to with a return to a meaningful framework, because it is, itself, questioning meaningful frameworks. You have to be de-worlded to see the world. (Seeing the world is a requirement if we want to a) find out the meaning of what it is to be, and b) change the structure of the world.) At this point, the sudden realization breaks upon us: "Oh. Wait. I have choices. I am negotiating. I am making decisions." Even though our world is not solely of our own making, our life is made up of decisions within a range of possibilities. Anxiety throws us right in front of that fact, a fact that we typically wish to ignore. This is what Heidegger means when he says that anxiety “individualizes Dasein”—it throws you in front of the fact that your potentiality-for-Being is yours and yours alone. 1. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1pW800DPu8dGONvg5PQlSkLiWghoG_VbW/view?usp=sharing - Lecture (50 minutes) 2. https://drive.google.com/file/d/11AEu0WFTmvragT2RQdn5B6NAr43lYtYD/view?usp=sharing - Notes

Author Talk: Ask a Philosopher with Ian Olasov

Online event

The Virtual Philosophy Network https://www.virtualphilosophynetwork.com is hosting Ian Olasov for a discussion of his upcoming book. Ask a Philosopher: Answers to Your Most Important and Most Unexpected Questions. https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250756183 Based on thousands of interactions on New York City streets, Ian Olasov has written a book about the philosophical curiosities of everyday pedestrians that is sure to delight anyone who loves life's most puzzling questions. Based on real-life questions from his Ask a Philosopher series, Ian Olasov offers his answers to questions such as: - Are people innately good or bad? - Is it okay to have a pet fish? - Is it okay to have kids? - Is color subjective? - If humans colonize Mars, who will own the land? - Is ketchup a smoothie? - Is there life after death? - Should I give money to homeless people? Ask a Philosopher shows that there's a way of making philosophy work for each of us, and that philosophy can be both perfectly continuous with everyday life, and also utterly transporting. From questions that we all wrestle with in private to questions that you never thought to ask, Ask a Philosopher will get you thinking. Ian Olasov (https://ianolasov.com/) is an adjunct professor and doctoral candidate at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. His writing has appeared in Slate, Vox, Public Seminar, and elsewhere. Olasov won the American Philosophical Association’s Public Philosophy Op-Ed Prize in 2016 and 2018. He runs the Ask a Philosopher booth in locations around New York City and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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