Most of us have the basic intuition that, because the truth “always is what it is”then there shouldn’t really be different “kinds” of knowing: we either know, or we don’t know, and that’s that. Knowledge, like truth, should be objective and invariable. Yet many of us also have another intuition: sometimes, there really does seem to be “something different” about knowing, or about acquiring knowledge, in different ways. In this workshop we applied some traditional tools, along with our own careful analytic skill, to see what we could salvage from both intuitions. We identified, as best we can, what each intuition gets right, as well as how they fit together in a coherent way. Critically, we learned to appreciate the difference between knowing, as an activity that we do, and knowledge, as a thing that we have. Access resources here!
In his Handbook, the Stoic philosopher Epictetus tells us that “the appropriate actions for us to do are usually measured out for us by our relations.” Epictetus suggests that we can see how to act fittingly in any given situation, based on how we are related to the other people involved, whether as family members, friends, fellow citizens, enemies, or in whatever other way. In this reading & discussion, we used some extended quotations from Simplicius’ commentary as a springboard for reflecting on friendship, and on the appropriate actions that arise from our relationships more generally. Access resources here!
In this philosophy workshop led by student scholar fellow Julianna Breit, we explored our roles in empathy, questioning the aim of empathetic interactions, and analyzing what empathy looks like when it’s done well. After looking at the aesthetic foundations of empathy, we considered the interplay between savoring the other’s emotion and mitigating our own emotional overload. Access resources & photos here!
This workshop explored the role of myth within philosophy, the life dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom. What kinds of myths are there? When & how can myths be used effectively and appropriately? What does it mean to engage with myth in a specifically philosophical mode? How do mythic modes of understanding enrich, complement, or complete other ways of thinking and knowing, like the logical or analytical? Access resources & photos here!
For thousands of years, people seeking after wisdom have approached important texts as invitations for meditation, whose treasures can be uncovered through careful, deliberate practices of attention. In this workshop, we explored some of these techniques, combining practical instruction with reflections on the theoretical and conceptual background needed to make sense of the practices. Access photos & resources here!
In this workshop, we explored several techniques of meditation with deep roots in Western spiritual, religious, and philosophical life and practice. We examined two daily practices, popular among the ancient Pythagoreans and Stoics, for developing the power of recollection and preparing ourselves for challenging circumstances. And we considered more broadly the ways in which meditative practices can help us to develop our powers of attention, concentration, clarity, and discernment. Learn more & access resources here!
Some experiences in life are so significant, so profound, so intense, that after we go through them, there’s a very real sense in which “we’re not the same person we used to be.” That might involve a change in how we understand ourselves or the world, or in what we value or take to be important. In this workshop, we developed some basic concepts and categories, that might help us make sense of these transformative experiences. We also pointed toward some of the bigger philosophical questions that are lurking behind the problem of transformative experience, including rational choice, personal identity, and freedom & the Good. Access the session recording & other resources here!