How Did We Get Here?: Freedom

In this installment of “How Did We Get Here?” with philosopher Ed Glowienka we considered something we all want, but can’t agree on how to get: freedom. We explored the shift between classical and Enlightenment notions of political freedom and looked at how reactions to this shift inform modern conservative and liberal values. Along the way, we did a bunch of other stuff, too, and hopefully gained a deeper appreciation of why we value freedom and of the philosophical positions underlying contemporary debates. Access photos & more here!

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How Did We Get Here?: Planet

In this installment of “How Did We Get Here?”, we considered the intellectual history of “planet” with mathematician, physicist, and astrophysicist Kelly Cline. We started with the ancient Greeks, moved to Copernicus, and then sashayed into the 20th century. Along the way we learned about how scientific words and their definitions serve as a specific lens through which we can view the world. By scientifically defining words so that they most closely match real categories that exist in physical reality, this makes it easier for us to understand, investigate, and make sense of the universe. As such, this installment of HDWGH and the evolution of how we understand and use the word planet gave us important insights into the nature of science and the foundations of our modern civilization. Access photos & more here.

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How Did We Get Here?: Species

In this installment of “How Did We Get Here?”, we considered the idea of “species,” from Plato and Aristotle, through the Middle Ages, to Charles Darwin (of course!), and down to the present. Along the way, we gained some insights into the role of ideas and abstraction in western scientific thought, reflect on the search for stability in a changing world, and cultivated a deeper appreciation for the ways that we, and our predecessors, strive to classify and categorize — both in the natural world, and in human society and culture. Access resources & photos here.

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How Did We Get Here?: Empathy

In this first installment of our new “How Did We Get Here?” series led by 2nd-year Student Scholar Fellow, Julianna Breit, we considered the intellectual history and lineage of the concept of empathy. Access resources & photos here.

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May 2019 Philosophy Mini-Drive-In (Happiness & Meaning)

In this TED Talk & Philosophy-inspired movie night facilitated by Thomas Baumeister, we explored questions about happiness & meaning through the practice of Socratic inquiry.  Primed by a TED talk film by scholar Emily Esfahani Smith, we looked at the nature of happiness, meaning, and more. Access resources here!

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March 2019 Philosophy Mini-Drive-In (Altruism)

In this TED Talk & Philosophy inspired movie night facilitated by Thomas Baumeister, we explored questions about altruism through the practice of socratic inquiry. Primed by a scholarly TED Talk discussion by Matthieu Ricard, we looked at the nature of consciousness, its function and evolution, and more. Access resources here!

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January 2019 Philosophy Mini-Drive-In (Consciousness)

In this TED Talk & Philosophy inspired movie night facilitated by Thomas Baumeister, we explored questions about consciousness through the practice of socratic inquiry. Primed by scholarly TED Talk discussion by David Chalmers and Seth Anil, we looked at the science and philosophy of consciousness e.g., what is it, how does it work, where does it live, what does it do for us, and why does it matter that we have it?

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June 2018 Philosophy Drive-In

We had a wonderful time at our June Philosophy Drive-In.  Our group watched Stand By Me (one of our all-time favorite coming-of-age stories) and enjoyed a great post-film discussion about friendship, change, mortality, vulnerability, and growing up.  Some of the questions we explored included: Is it possible to have a coming-of-age…

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