Philosophy Community Endeavors

We believe that philosophy is grounded in the here & now and its questions (the things with which it is concerned) are extremely practical & relevant. With this in mind, we love to partner up with Helena area businesses and individuals (as well as business and individuals across the state) to bring philosophy to the streets in creative & engaging ways! From local shin-digs and collaborative efforts like our “Big Ideas by Little Philosophers” television-classroom series to our Montana Conversations program (which can be hand-tailored in a variety of ways), our community endeavors are all about you (and philosophy, of course!).

“What Say You?”

(Philosophical Musings with Dr. Barry Ferst)

“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.

Ideas and dialogue can be shared in a variety of ways.  “What Say You?” is one way to do this and a casual means by which to explore philosophy with a guest scholar on-line. Think SNL’s “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy”….only with somewhat more gravity (maybe).  Learn more here!

“Big Ideas by Little Philosopher’s” (BiLP)

(A Collaborative Helena Civic Television & Cottonwood School Venture)

“Big Ideas by Little Philosophers” (BiLP) is a dynamic, philosophy-inspired television-classroom series designed to help youth share their big ideas with the world.  A collaborative venture with Helena Civic Television and Cottonwood School, the program combines classroom and one-on-one mentorship, pedagogy, philosophy, and theater.  A mash-up of Mr. Rogers, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and Socrates, the BiLP program aims to highlight the joy and fun of doing philosophy and the rich philosophical terrain available to and present in our youth. 


  • BiLP Broadcast Dates 50% 50%

To see what our young philosophers worked on in the Spring and Summer, click on the applicable button below…

Spring 2019

Summer 2019

During our Fall & Winter BiLP sessions we dove into the world of film & philosophy via the Twilight Zone!


Why films?

  • Fun to watch
  • Spark imagination
  • Great mediums for exploring by way of reflecting upon and discussing things that come up in the movies

Why Twilight Zone?

  • They are awesome and timeless
  • Rod Serling was kind of like a modern day Socrates!

Learning Objectives 

  • Introduction to various modes of expression/ideas through film
  • Learning how to watch films with an eye for their philosophical content
  • Critical analysis & discussion about philosophical issues presented in various episodes
  • Introduction and reflection about/on key philosophical themes and topics
  • Application of philosophical thinking to specific group-selected topic through self-directed/written/performed film

Fall 2019

During the Fall session of our BiLP “Film & Philosophy” project, 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…” Learn more here!

Winter 2019

(See schedule by clicking on image below…)

The Winter session of our BiLP “Film & Philosophy” project is in progress and consists of a hands-on, creative endeavor incorporating work explored in the Fall session.  Students are working together to create a 10-15 minute Twilight Zone & philosophy-inspired film.  They have selected their philosophical topics, are writing their scripts, and will begin the filming and editing process after the new year. 

The finished films will be made available for viewing on the Merlin website come 2020.

Our BiLP Sponsors

Humanities Montana Programs

Marisa Diaz-Waian

Marisa Diaz-Waian

As a non-profit organization centered around philosophy, it stands to follow that we…well….dig philosophy.  In light of this, we created two philosophy in the community programs led by Marisa Diaz-Waian aimed at sharing our love and respect for the discipline and why it matters in our lives. Our Humanities Montana programs include:

  • Speakers in the Schools Program — Philosophy: What & Who is it Good For?
  • Montana Conversations Program — Philosophy: A Way of Life & Public Good

Montana Conversations Program

Philosophy is often deemed impractical, inaccessible, and irrelevant to our everyday lives.   It is also frequently characterized as an activity that only specialists can do.  This program is an attempt to uproot these characterizations and reveal an alternate representation of philosophy as a practical endeavor, a way of life, and a public good.  Interactive and dynamic, this program is geared for community members of all ages interested in learning more about philosophy as a way of life, why it is (and should be) a resource for everyone, and how it can inspire, transform and enrich our lives.

Speakers in the Schools Program

Philosophy is often deemed impractical, inaccessible, and irrelevant to our everyday lives.  It is also frequently characterized as an activity that only adults or specialists can do.  This is unfortunate. Philosophy is a relevant, practical resource for everyone.  What is more, young people have much to contribute to the dialogue.  Interactive and dynamic, this program is geared for students of all ages.  It is inspired by numerous “way of life traditions” with the aim of showing how and why philosophy matters, how it can transform and enrich our lives, what sorts of things youth bring to the table, and what we can do with it.

Other Community Endeavors


  • Earth Day Expo:  Helena Community Resilience Project (Spring 2016)

  • Downtown Helena First Friday with Aizada Imports:  Friendship & Love (Summer 2016)

  • Beat the Heat Philosophy Party (Summer 2016)

  • Life Enrichment & Wellness Program for Seniors at Touchmark on Saddle Drive (Spring 2017)

  • Flamenco Night at Free Ceramics:  Celebrating Music & Community (Spring 2018)

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