2022 Philosophy Symposia Series: Gaia & Indigenous Perspectives on Nature

In this symposia series, led by guest scholars Martin Ogle and Lailani Upham we explored our relationship with nature as viewed by Gaia Theory & Indigenous worldviews, respectively. Events involved discussions and reflections about the inter-connectivity of earth (and its numerous inhabitants), mythology, science, literature, and ethics. Access audio-video, resources & photos here!

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Community Workshop: “Thinking About Place”

Gertrude Stein’s “there is no there there” has been used as a description for placeless spaces.  By contrast, place has some kind of “there” going on.  But what is this?  What exactly is “place”?  There are lots of ways to think about it.  In this workshop, we reflected upon Helena’s sense of “place” in terms of our urban outdoors. Learn more & access resources here!

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Hayride-Cemetery Walks: Pumpkins, Ghosts & Cemeteries

We were pumped to team up with Johnson’s Nursery & Gardens, Forestvale Cemetery, and historian Ellen Baumler for some fun days of pumpkin picking and hayride ghost story cemetery tours. After playing at Johnson’s Nursery & Gardens, folks loaded into our hayride wagon and took a ride down the road with us to Forestvale Cemetery, where heard ghost stories, wandered the cemetery grounds, and learned more about its residents and history! Check out the video and photos here!

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“Big Ideas by Little Philosophers” (BiLP) – Winter 2019-2020

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!

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‘What Say You?” — Philosophical Musings with Dr. Barry Ferst (An Internet Dialogue)

“What Say You?” is a fun and casual internet-based philosophy in the community activity inspired by our belief that physical distancing need not equate to social distancing.  Each week philosopher Dr. Barry Ferst will share some of his philosophical musings on our Merlin Facebook page and invite readers to comment and discuss. Think SNL’s “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy”….only with somewhat more gravity (maybe).

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“Big Ideas by Little Philosophers” (BiLP) – Fall 2019

During the Fall session, our group first watched a series of selected short films & Twilight Zone episodes, followed by youth-led, facilitated classroom discussions. Young thinkers were asked to identify, reflect and respond to various philosophical elements and themes present in the films, as well as make comparisons to experiences in their own communities and lives. Later in the Fall session, we began a series of story creation endeavors inspired by our classroom discussions and a little game we called “And the Moral of the Story Is…” . Access photos & videos 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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