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)

Discussion and debate of the upcoming Ontario election

Needs a location

The Ontario provincial election takes place June 2nd, so I thought we could do a meetup session to discuss voting, the health (or lack thereof!) of provincial politics and the societal issues you think are most important for the upcoming election.

Here is a Ted talk on voting by Eric Liu, in which he defends the following claim we can debate: “Voting matters because it is a self-fulfilling act of belief. It feeds the spirit of mutual interest that makes any society thrive. When we vote, even if it is in anger, we are part of a collective, creative leap of faith. Voting helps us generate the very power that we wish we had.”


And information about the local candidates we get to vote among on Election Day is available here:


We will meet in the shelter area near the bathrooms of Lake Ontario Park. Please bring your own chair to sit on, as it gives us flexibility to sit somewhere quiet if other events are going on at the park that day.


Reading Group: Flow- The Psychology of Optimal Experience (meeting #2)

I will be running a spring/summer reading group on the first Sunday afternoon of each month from May-August at Lake Ontario Park.

The book to be discussed, a few chapters each meeting, is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
For this second meeting we will focus on chapters 4, 5, and 6 of the book (about 70 pages).

Here is a Ted talk by the author if you are not familiar with his research:


We will meet in the shelter area near the bathrooms of Lake Ontario Park. Please bring your own chair to sit on, as it gives us flexibility to sit somewhere quiet if other events are going on at the park that day. It shouldn't be to hard to find us, we will be the group of people sitting in a circle engaged in flow! Hope to see you there.


PS- Below is a blurb about the book from the publisher's website

### About the Book

“Csikszentmihalyi arrives at an insight that many of us can intuitively grasp, despite our insistent (and culturally supported) denial of this truth. That is, it is not what happens to us that determines our happiness, but the manner in which we make sense of that reality. . . . The manner in which Csikszentmihalyi integrates research on consciousness, personal psychology and spirituality is illuminating.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
The bestselling classic that holds the key to unlocking meaning, creativity, peak performance, and true happiness.

Legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigations of "optimal experience" have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this new edition of his groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi ("the leading researcher into ‘flow states’" —Newsweek) demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness, unlock our potential, and greatly improve the quality of our lives.

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