What we're about

This group is for people that want to meet new people in Kingston AND engage in deep, meaningful conversations about topics in philosophy, ethics, politics, science, etc. "The unexamined life is not worth living" is the motto of our group. If you are interested in living an examined life, please consider joining us for some fun, deep conversations.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”. Those were the words of my intellectual hero Socrates, shortly before the Athenians sentenced him to death for challenging their beliefs. Socrates was considered a bit of a pain in the butt to his contemporaries because he was always asking deep questions like “What is the good life?” and “What is justice?”. Not everyone appreciates having their ideas and beliefs questioned. But the members of The Philosopher’s Club (Kingston) embrace, indeed celebrate!, the inquisitive mindset. We long for substantive conversations about all topics- ethics, politics, art, science, religion, law, evolution, economics, psychology, etc. We believe that the life of the active mind is the good life, and we want to continue to grow, learn and develop by engaging in civil discussion and debate with kindred spirits that live in our fine city.

Who am I? I’m a professor at Queen’s University. I am a secular humanist with a PhD in philosophy and I have had the good fortune to teach thousands of bright students in England, Scotland, Canada and the United States. While not a luddite, I will admit I loath the erosion of real (vs virtual) community and “cognitive presence” I see rampant in the hyper-social-media connectivity of the modern world. Very few people have the time or desire to meet in person and converse any more. A “re-tweet” or FB “like” are inadequate substitutes to meet our desire for substantive connection that is engrained in our evolved, pro-social biology.

People are often too busy texting away with their nose glued to their phone to meet and converse with new people in “real life”. Well, I have opted out of that virtual rat race, and this meetup group is my attempt to help forge an authentic, “conversationally-present” community of like-minded Kingstonians. I hope you will consider joining me!

Why join this group?

Answer #1: To meet new people! You like people, right?

Answer #2: To be happier! You like being happy, right? Science has shown that people are happier when engaging in meaningful conversations vs making small chat.

Format of the Group.

This meetup group is a social experiment. As such, the nature and frequency of our meetings will evolve depending on the size of the group and people’s interest. But at the moment I am planning on running two styles of meetings, what I shall call “informal” meetups, and “formal” meetups.

“Informal meetups” will take place at least once a month, at a pub, coffee shop or (when weather permits) a scenic location for walking. There will be no size limit on these events, or set topic to discuss. Just show up and chat about whatever deep topics or ideas you would like to discuss and debate.

“Formal meetups” will take place once a month. These will be lunch or dinner events, with an attendee limit of only 4 people. A table reservation for 4 people will be booked in advance. And with only space for 3 other people (besides myself), please be sure you attend an event you have booked to attend (or if you have to cancel, update it so someone else can take your place). For these formal events there will be a set “Conversation Starter” topic, to try to get people’s ideas going in advance of the meeting. The topics will be detailed on the event listed.

Hope to see you at an event soon, and we can engage in some substantive conversations together! I accept requests to join the group from people who (1) are local to Ktown and (2) have a clear profile picture of their face. A sense of authentic community is important to the group.



Upcoming events (2)

The Philosophy of Utopia!

Lake Ontario Park

What do you think would constitute the perfect or ideal society? Is utopian political thought a harmful distraction from theorizing the problems of “real life”? Or perhaps you think utopian thinking is vital to helping us exercise the political imagination needed to create a better future? If you could pick just one wish for humanity, that would help us realize a substantively better future, what would that wish be? Think BIG, the sky is the limit! Come along and share your thoughts on the pros and cons of utopian thinking! Please bring a lawn chair and we will meet at the usual place in Lake Ontario Park, by the picnic tables in the protected area near the bathrooms.

Reading Group- Love Drugs (Winter 2021)

The Merchant Tap House

Those interested in participating in a new reading group on the provocatively titled book "Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationship" (which I plan to start in January 2021 if there is sufficient interest) can you please tick "attending" so I can get a sense of numbers and interest. If we get at least 4 people signing up then we will do it, so you can order the book. The venue will depend on where things stand with Kingston's COVID status. Details of the book are here: https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=27130 This is the book blurb: "Is there a pill for love? What about an "anti-love drug", to help us get over an ex? This book argues that certain psychoactive substances, including MDMA—the active ingredient in Ecstasy—may help ordinary couples work through relationship difficulties and strengthen their connection. Others may help sever an emotional connection during a breakup. These substances already exist, and they have transformative implications for how we think about love. This book builds a case for conducting research into "love drugs" and "anti-love drugs" and explores their ethical implications for individuals and society. Scandalously, Western medicine tends to ignore the interpersonal effects of drug-based interventions. Why are we still in the dark about the effects of these drugs on romantic partnerships? And how can we overhaul scientific research norms to take relationships more fully into account? Ethicists Brian D. Earp and Julian Savulescu say that the time to think through such questions is now. Biochemical interventions into love and relationships are not some far-off speculation. Our most intimate connections are already being influenced by drugs we ingest for other purposes. Controlled studies are underway to see whether artificial brain chemicals can enhance couples therapy. And conservative religious groups are experimenting with certain medications to quash romantic desires—and even the urge to masturbate—among children and vulnerable sexual minorities. Simply put, the horse has bolted. Where it runs is up to us. Love Drugs arms us with the latest scientific knowledge and a set of ethical tools that we can use to decide if these sorts of medications should be a part of our society. Or whether a chemical romance will be right for us." Cheers Colin

Past events (56)

Reading Group (Our Moral Fate) meeting #3 (final meeting)

Lake Ontario Park

Photos (76)