What we're about

"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

Welcome to the Toronto Philosophy Meetup! We're a grassroots community for people interested in philosophy, whether entirely new to the subject or more advanced. We hold discussions and other events on a broad range of topics and perspectives in philosophy, utilizing an array of materials (e.g. philosophical writings, for the most part, but also art, history, law, science, theology, literature, ethnographies, film, and whatever else seems good.)

This is a group open to members to organize their own philosophy-related discussions.

Join us at an event soon for friendship, cooperative discourse, and mental exercise!

Feel free to propose meetup topics (you can do this on the Message Boards), and please contact the organizers if you would like to host an event yourself, or organize events in Toronto on a regular basis.

See here (http://www.meetup.com/The-Toronto-Philosophy-Meetup/pages/20785350/Philosophy_Resources_on_the_Internet/)for an extensive list of podcasts and resources on the internet about philosophy.

See here (https://www.meetup.com/The-Toronto-Philosophy-Meetup/pages/23817045/Code_of_Conduct_for_the_Toronto_Philosophy_Meetup/)for the standards of conduct that our members are expected to abide by. Members should also familiarize themselves with Meetup's Terms of Service Agreement, especially the section on Usage and Content Policies (https://help.meetup.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002897532-Usage-and-Content-Policies-Rules-for-Using-Meetup).

Other philosophy groups to check out in the Toronto area:
1. Beer and Philosophy Night - https://www.meetup.com/Beer-and-Philosophy-Night/
2. Philosciety - https://www.meetup.com/Philosciety/
3. The Centre for Human Success - https://www.meetup.com/The-Centre-for-Human-Success-Toronto-Meetup/
4. Meaningful Discussions - https://www.meetup.com/meaningfuldiscussions-toronto/

Upcoming events (5+)

John Steinbeck: Of Mice and Men

Brookfield Place, Lower Level Food Court

John Steinbeck [masked]) was a giant of American letters best known for his novels about the working class and the social consequences of the Great Depression. Many of his works, including Of Mice and Men (1937), The Grapes of Wrath (1939), and East of Eden (1952), are considered classics of Western literature. Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962 "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." Many of his stories are set in central California and partly based on his own experiences working alongside migrant farm workers as a teenager and in later years as a manual laborer to support his writing. His works frequently explore themes of fate and injustice, especially as applied to downtrodden or everyman protagonists. *** This meetup is dedicated to discussing John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (1937), a novella about the friendship of two migrant workers grasping for their American Dream during the Great Depression. Acclaimed for giving a voice to America's forgotten and dispossessed when it was published, the tale remains Steinbeck's most popular work, achieving remarkable success as a novel, Broadway play, and three acclaimed films. The title is taken from a line by the poet Robert Burns: "The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry." A copy of the work can be viewed and downloaded in various formats HERE - https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.350671/ Or purchase a hard copy here - https://www.amazon.ca/Mice-Men-John-Steinbeck/dp/0140177396/ Please have the novella read in advance of our discussion (about 120 pages). ***

The Ultimate Human Experience: Kant on Dinner Parties

Brookfield Place, Lower Level Food Court

As one would expect, Kant believes that there is a tension, and even a conflict, between our bodily humanity and its ethical counterpart: “Inclination to pleasurable living and inclination to virtue are in conflict with each other.” What is more unexpected is that he claims that this tension can be resolved in what he calls an example of “civilized bliss,” namely, dinner parties. "The good living which still seems to harmonize best with virtue is a good meal in good company (and if possible with alternating companions) . . . this little dinner party . . . must not only try to supply physical satisfaction — which everyone can find for himself — but also social enjoyment for which the dinner must appear only as a vehicle." (from Anthropology From A Pragmatic Point of View, 7:278) Dinner parties are, for Kant, part of the “highest ethicophysical good,” the ultimate resolution of the conflict between our physical body and our moral powers, which consists in finding the right ways of unifying our partly “sensuous” and partly “ethicointellectual” nature. The aim of this paper is not only to explain Kant’s account of the ideal proportions of ethicophysical good in dinner parties, but also, and more importantly, to argue that dinner parties are in fact the ultimate experience for us, human beings... *** For this meetup we'll discuss the paper "The Ultimate Kantian Experience: Kant on Dinner Parties" by Alix Cohen, published in 2008 in the journal History of Philosophy Quarterly. Please have the paper read in advance of our discussion (about 20 pages). Bring snacks and drinks to share if you wish! The paper can be viewed and downloaded from the author's Academia.edu page HERE - http://edinburgh.academia.edu/AlixCohen About the author: Alix Cohen is a professor of philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. She is the author of Kant and the Human Sciences: Biology, Anthropology and History (Palgrave, 2009) and has published numerous papers on Kant as well as Hume and Rousseau. Cohen is also the editor of three collected volumes: Thinking About Emotions: A Philosophical History (Oxford, 2017), Critical Guide to Kant's Lectures on Anthropology (Cambridge, 2014), and Kant on Emotion and Value (Palgrave, 2014). See her webpage for more information - https://www.ed.ac.uk/profile/alix-cohen *** Additional resources: Immanuel Kant is widely regarded as the philosopher who best exemplifies the thought and ideals of the Enlightenment. He was influenced by the modern physics of Newton, the rationalist perfectionism of Leibniz and Wolff, the critical empiricism of Locke and Hume, and Rousseau's celebration of liberty and individualism, and his work can be seen partly as an attempt to combine and synthesize these various ideas. For a quick-and-dirty backgrounder on Kant, see the following - - https://www.iep.utm.edu/kantview/ - https://thegreatthinkers.org/kant/introduction/ - https://fivebooks.com/best-books/kant/ A couple of popular book-length introductions to Kant's philosophy - - https://b-ok.cc/book/615361/6ea00f by Paul Guyer - https://b-ok.cc/book/1264170/82a8dd by Roger Scruton

Ronald Dworkin: "A New Map of Censorship"

Brookfield Place, Lower Level Food Court

In recent years freedom of speech has come under attack from a range of enemies. Yet some people argue that it is a basic human right to be allowed to voice your opinions no matter how offensive these might be to others. In this article, the influential legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin (1931–2013) goes beyond the sorts of instrumental considerations that John Stuart Mill famously used in On Liberty and defends the view that freedom of speech should be understood as an aspect of human dignity and as fundamental to a flourishing democracy. *** To continue our series of readings on political philosophy from Philosophy: Basic Readings (Second Edition), this week we'll be discussing Ronald Dworkin's "A New Map of Censorship", written in 1994. The text can be found on pages 243 to 248 of the volume, which can be viewed and downloaded HERE: https://b-ok.cc/s/?q=philosophy+basic+readings Or purchase a hard copy here: https://www.amazon.ca/Philosophy-Basic-Readings-Nigel-Warburton/dp/0415337984 Please read the selection in advance and we'll discuss it together. *** (For some background info on the topic, see the following entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freedom-speech/)

On Private Discrimination (Centre for Ethics Event)

Room 200, Larkin Building, University of Toronto

On what basis, if any, may owners of small businesses discriminate against customers or their requests? In particular, should these vendors enjoy a right to refuse to people with manifest beliefs that they do not hold? And, if so, what are the contours of this right? On the one hand, there are those who deny that private discrimination of this kind is ever permissible; on the other hand, there are those who maintain that it is always permissible. Perhaps predictably, my view occupies a position in between these two extremes: small vendors should enjoy a prerogative to discriminate against customers and their requests, but this prerogative is restricted. My defence of this claim comes in two parts. First, I explain why owners of small businesses should enjoy such a prerogative to discriminate. Second, I set out three ways in which we should restrict the prerogative. Tom Parr https://tomparrsite.wordpress.com/ Princeton University Center for Human Values *** NOTE: This is a talk and Q&A presented by the University of Toronto's Centre for Ethics that is open to the public. The Toronto Philosophy Meetup is not affiliated with the Centre although we will be in attendance. Sometimes we look for each other after the event for further discussion about the topic. About the Centre For Ethics (http://ethics.utoronto.ca/) at the University of Toronto: The Centre for Ethics is an interdisciplinary centre aimed at advancing research and teaching in the field of ethics, broadly defined. The Centre seeks to bring together the theoretical and practical knowledge of diverse scholars, students, public servants and social leaders in order to increase understanding of the ethical dimensions of individual, social, and political life. In pursuit of its interdisciplinary mission, the Centre fosters lines of inquiry such as (1) foundations of ethics, which encompasses the history of ethics and core concepts in the philosophical study of ethics; (2) ethics in action, which relates theory to practice in key domains of social life, including bioethics, business ethics, and ethics in the public sphere; and (3) ethics in translation, which draws upon the rich multiculturalism of the City of Toronto and addresses the ethics of multicultural societies, ethical discourse across religious and cultural boundaries, and the ethics of international society. See here for other events presented by the Centre For Ethics: http://ethics.utoronto.ca/events-listings/ You can also subscribe to their newsletter: https://utoronto.us12.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=0e5342661df8b176fc3b5a643&id=142528a343 (If you'd like to meet people from the Toronto Philosophy Meetup at one of their other events, let us know and we'll post the event to our group.)

Past events (158)

W. L. Wilmshurst: "Masonry as a Philosophy"

West Toronto Masonic Temple

Photos (157)