Next Meetup

The Santa Monica Philosophy Meetup
Hi Everyone! Here are the potential topics for Sunday's meetup. Send me a message or post to this Meetup page the name of the topic(s) that you would most like to talk about: 1) VAGUENESS, AMBIGUITY AND GENERALITY: what is vagueness? Are there different kinds of vagueness? How do vague ideas and statements differ from ambiguous ideas and statements, or from general/broad ideas and statements? Is all vagueness linguistic or do some kinds of vagueness exist in the world? 2) IS IT WRONG TO SEXUALLY OBJECTIFY PEOPLE? Whether it's a man objectifying a woman, or a woman objectifying a man, or same-sex objectification, what exactly is morally problematic with it, if anything? If it's wrong, why is it wrong? Or, under what circumstances is it wrong? And, what is it you are doing when you objectify someone; what exactly does it mean to objectify someone sexually? 3) AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: REASONS FOR AND AGAINST. Should being female or a member of a minority group count in favor of a candidate for school admission or employment? Can awarding extra points to a candidate in this way be justified as a way of achieving any of the following goals? 1. Promoting a diversified educational or work environment 2. Compensating an individual for discrimination or misfortune that he or she has suffered 3. Compensating an individual for discrimination or misfortune that members of his or her group have suffered 4. Increasing the representation of women or minorities in certain lines of work Can "reverse discrimination" (to use a highly contested phrase) of this kind be justified, if discrimination against women and minorities cannot be justified? Lastly, if some less academically performing (in terms of, e.g., test scores, GPA) minority students are admitted to schools where most students had much better high school grades and test scores, are these minority students put at a competitive disadvantage that harms them academically? 4) THE WISDOM OF MORAL REPUGNANCE? Nearly every one of us has experienced a gut sense of moral repugnance or moral disgust (e.g., against taboos such as incest, child molestation, cannibalism, the act of intentionally deforming or mutilating animals). But, not everyone is morally disgusted by the same actions, and it's not clear to what extent we should honor our sense of repugnance. Is our feeling of repugnance typically a source of wisdom about what's wrong or bad? Or, is it typically a source of arbitrary bias or moral superstition? If moral repugnance is sometimes morally valuable, and other times an unfounded prejudice, how can you tell when to trust it? How should you resolve the situation when your moral repugnance conflicts with your conceptual understanding and arguments? 5) THE MEANING OF PATRIOTISM – and how the Colin Kaepernick controversy relates to patriotism. First, on the abstract level, what precisely is Patriotism, and is it a good thing? Is it the same as Nationalism? What precisely are you communicating to others when you act patriotically or say you are patriotic? Should we encourage everyone to be patriotic? How important is patriotism, compared to other ethical and political commitments in life? Are you being an immoral person or bad citizen if you're unpatriotic? Can you be unpatriotic to the country while still respecting and loving the people in the country and their way of life? Apart from the general topic, the Colin Kaepernick controversy has given us a very interesting case in point with respect to competing ideas about what constitutes patriotism. What does Kaepernick's gesture of protest mean? Is his form of protest, taking a knee during the national anthem, an unpatriotic gesture? Is the timing or context of the protest disrespectful of the anthem, the flag or the United States? That's the interpretation or gut reaction that many Americans have of it. Many others have a different assessment or moral intuition on the matter.

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PHILOSOPHY is the theme at this friendly, monthly discussion group. In a circle, we discuss and debate the philosophical question we selected by an email vote among five questions submitted by participants. We discuss and debate all areas of philosophy (as well as the philosophical aspects of the great issues of the day).

If you want to meet like-minded people for a good, impassioned yet rational and respectful conversation, free of insults and ad hominem attacks, then join us!

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