What we're about

Philosophy Book Club is run by City College of New York philosopher Massimo Pigliucci (https://massimopigliucci.com/). It is based on the principle of the Socratic dialogue. Every meeting (on- or off-line) focuses on a book of philosophical import. The monthly choice may be a non-technical philosophy book for general audiences (e.g., Rebecca Goldstein's Plato at the Googleplex (https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780307456724)), a philosophical classic (e.g., Marcus Aurelius' Meditations (https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780199573202)), or a novel with philosophical themes (e.g., Camus' The Plague (https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780679720218)). If the book is lengthy, we will take two months to discuss it. I mean, we're all busy! Join us to enter into a dialogue with the best minds humanity has produced over millennia, exploring the most important themes for human existence.

Upcoming events (1)

How Fascism Works, by Jason Stanley

Online event

How Fascism Works, by Jason Stanley


As the child of refugees of World War II Europe and a renowned philosopher and scholar of propaganda, Jason Stanley has a deep understanding of how democratic societies can be vulnerable to fascism: Nations don't have to be fascist to suffer from fascist politics. In fact, fascism's roots have been present in the United States for more than a century.

Alarmed by the pervasive rise of fascist tactics both at home and around the globe, Stanley focuses here on the structures that unite them, laying out and analyzing the ten pillars of fascist politics -- the language and beliefs that separate people into an "us" and a "them." He knits together reflections on history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory with stories from contemporary Hungary, Poland, India, Myanmar, and the United States, among other nations.

Stanley makes clear the immense danger of underestimating the cumulative power of these tactics, which include exploiting a mythic version of a nation's past; propaganda that twists the language of democratic ideals against themselves; anti-intellectualism directed against universities and experts; law and order politics predicated on the assumption that members of minority groups are criminals; and fierce attacks on labor groups and welfare. These mechanisms all build on one another, creating and reinforcing divisions and shaping a society vulnerable to the appeals of authoritarian leadership.

By uncovering disturbing patterns that are as prevalent today as ever, Stanley reveals that the stuff of politics -- charged by rhetoric and myth -- can quickly become policy and reality. Only by recognizing fascists politics, he argues, may we resist its most harmful effects and return to democratic ideals.


Please note that meetup time is Eastern Standard Time. The event will be recorded, so that others may benefit from our discussion after the video gets posted online.

At the beginning of the meeting your audio will be off, but keep the video on, if you don't mind. This makes for less background noise and a more human interaction -- we see each other! That said, if you are participating by phone, please change your screen name, as the default will be your phone number, which you probably don't want to relate that to the world.

When you'd like to ask a question, raise your hand using Zoom's tool. When you are called on, turn your mic on, at which point you may ask your question. The mic will then be turned back off to allow for the next participant to speak.

Finally, during the event we will be busy and likely not able to monitor the chat, so see above if you'd like to ask a question or make a comment.

Past events (318)

The Ethics of Ambiguity, by Simone de Beauvoir

Online event

Photos (235)