Our “Thinking as a Community” public philosophy project stems from our belief in the importance of staying connected as a people, the richness and power of thinking together, the value of philosophy and philosophically driven dialogue across disciplines, the importance of cultivating of our personal and civic selves, and the vital role the humanities plays in this process. Our project will offer opportunities for communities to think together (on-line/digitally and in-person) via philosophy workshops and philosophy “walk”shops over the course of 2020 into 2021. We are tremendously grateful to Humanities MT and the National Endowment for the Humanities for their support of our project and for all of the amazing work they are doing in Montana!
How nice it was to be outside in the elements after being cooped up for several months (for obvious pandemic-related reasons)! With the sunshine on our backs (coupled with a few bouts of rain), we explored Mount Helena by way of the Daisy Hill, Bitterroot Way, and Prairie Trails and talked about leisure & loafing with philosopher David Nowakowski.
Access audio recordings & photos from the walk here!
Understanding ourselves and the world we live in is critical to our well-being – as individuals and communities. The questions (and answers) that arise from this sort of seeking — why we do the things we do, how we make meaning of our experiences in the world, what things we ought to strive for and how to best go navigate life – fall largely within the domain of the humanities. It is for these reasons alone (though certainly many more arguments in favor of the humanities can be made), that funding for the humanities is imperative. We are deeply grateful for organizations like Humanities MT and for their efforts to help keep the humanities alive and thriving in Montana.
During our Winter session we continued our journey into the world of film & philosophy via the Twilight Zone! Our young thinkers split into two groups — with one group focusing their efforts on a philosophical piece exploring time travel, consciousness, and environmental justice and another group focusing their sights on a piece about time travel and racial injustice. Filming began….and the kids were on their way. But then….(as if in our own modern day Twilight Zone)…COVID-19 hit. And things changed. Our young philosophers responded brilliantly. Access photos & videos here!
This project invites people to explore Helena afoot & consider questions about “place.” A space is abstract; a place is a space with meaning. From its historic storefronts and iconic architecture to its meandering natural walls and pathways, Helena is packed with “place.” But why? What is it about Helena that continues to call out — not as a dot on map but as a unique lived experience that beckons and makes one feel at home?
Many of us take for granted a clear divide between the animate and inanimate. For instance: I am alive, but the chair I sit in is not. My dog is probably alive, as is the oak tree just outside my window. I am somewhat less certain about grass. Or viruses. What does this distinction between the living and nonliving mean to us? Why do we care so deeply about finding a firm line between the two? What might we discover about our world, our own assumptions, and our own ethical action if we are willing to question these categories? Many cultures and peoples throughout the world have never bothered to make such clean distinctions, and even in our contemporary western culture, a movement of philosophers has been challenging this divide from within. In this ZOOM workshop led by philosophers Henry Kramer & David Nowakowski, we explored the philosophy of animism – an orientation toward the world where everything is encountered as meaningfully alive. Access the video and other resources here!