Philosophy Workshop: Animism (May 2020)

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!

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Philosophy Workshop: Stoicism – Ethics & Providence (April 2020)

In these two 2½-hour ZOOM workshops led by philosopher David Nowakowski we investigated Stoic ethics, providence and the world. These two workshops represented our first ZOOM workshops of the year (or ever for that matter — ZOOM was new to us as we typically hold in-person workshops). However, we were grateful to have so many workshop attendees join us and participate in the conversation! See what sorts of things we discussed and access the workshop handouts, activities, and reading recommendations here!

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November 2019 Philosophy Walk: Nature & the Humanities

What a great way to spend a November morning & afternoon!  On this month’s philosophy walk we roamed the trails of Mount Helena while talking about nature and the humanities with guest speakers Edward Glowienka & Henry Kramer. Access audio recordings & photos from the walk here!

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October 2019 Philosophy Walk: Story & Imagination Across Cultures

We had so much fun on our October Philosophy Walk. Our group of 15 enjoyed the splendors of Mother Nature on Merlin Nature Preserve and explored the role of story and imagination across cultures. As a special treat, we also got to experience drumming & singing with Shane Doyle, an immersive “imagination cultivation” exercise with Henry Kramer, and to be part of the joyous news delivered by some of our walk-goers that (as of the morning of the walk) they had become new grandparents! What a great way to start a story!!! Access audio recordings & photos from the walk here!

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Ancient Greek Insights for Today’s America: A Philosophical Conversation

Sponsored by Merlin CCC and the Carroll College Philosophy Department, this free evening program was an informal conversation about greek philosophical insights and how they relate to and can help us navigate our everyday lived experiences. Invited guest scholars included: Barry Ferst, Professor of Philosophy (Carroll College); David Nowakowksi, Philosopher & Senior Mentor for Fellowship Scholars (Merlin CCC; and, Mark Smillie, Professor of Philosophy (Carroll College). 2019 Merlin Student Scholar Fellow, Henry Kramer, served as moderator. Access audio-video & photos here!

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September 2019 Philosophy Walk: Virtue & Excellence — From Ecology to Ethics

We had a delightful time on our September Philosophy Walk.  Our group of 9 — technically, 10 counting our furry four-legged companion named Bella (and Beast) — enjoyed a splendid hike on Mount Ascension.  Led by David Nowakowski, our group enjoyed a delightful conversation about the principles of ecology…and what sorts of things it might be able to teach us about how to flourish and thrive. Access resources & photos here!

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August 2019 Philosophy Walk (Helena): Reconnecting with Nature

We were blown away by how amazing our August Philosophy Walk was…beautiful weather, wonderful people, great questions, and thought-provoking discussion led by 2019 Merlin Student Fellow & Philosopher, Henry Kramer, and Grants Manager & Humanitarian, Ryan Aikin. Our group of 17 — including 3 delightful young philosophers who joined us for the journey — enjoyed a lovely hike on the Waterline & Rodney Ridge Trails and explored “reconnecting with nature” through the lens of phenomenology, pragmatism, and animism. Access resources & photos here!

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July 2019 Philosophy Walk: Virtue & Hope

Our group enjoyed fantastic weather and a lovely hike up Dump Gulch Trail on our July Philosophy Walk.   Led by philosopher-on-trail David Nowakowski, we explored the life of virtue and hope…and a range of related questions that arose in the process of this informal, free-flowing discussion. Access resources & photos here!

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