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Philosophy Walk: Ethics as Conversations with the World

August 22 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm MDT


What We’ll Explore

Quite often, discussions of ethics circle around lists of rules to follow.  What happens if we take a different approach altogether, and think of our ethical lives as a series of conversations with the world, with the communities we inhabit, and with our neighbors?  In this evening’s walk and discussion, we’ll reflect on what it would mean to focus our ethical lives around dialogue, relationship, and conversation. 

We’ll begin with a suggestion from Aristotle, who notes a close link between ethics and habits.  Here, we can examine ethics as a conversation between ourselves and the families and communities in which we’re brought up, where our characters are formed — as well as ongoing adult conversations with those same societies, or with other communities that we choose for ourselves.

Then, drawing from Plato’s Phaedrus and Matthew Crawford’s work on communities practice, we’ll move on to consider the deeply transformative place of love, and its associated vulnerability, in our moral lives.  Here, we’ll reflect on the difference between ethical judgments based in abstractions, and those that spring from relationships with individuals and communities.

Finally, we’ll reflect on what it would mean to expand the frame of our ethical conversations in various directions.  How might we include what ecologically-informed thinkers in recent decades have called the “more than human world” of other animals, plants, and ecosystems?  Or conversations across the years and the generations, with our ancestors (something like Chesterton’s “democracy of the dead”) and our descendants?

Throughout our own conversation, we’ll examine specific strategies for, and implications of, organizing our ethical lives as conversations.  And we’ll reflect on some of the ways that approaching ethics as a series of conversations with the world might help us to celebrate and embrace the diversity of individual human lives, of communities and cultures, and of the more-than-human world.


When & Where

This evening philosophy walk will be led by philosopher David Nowakowski.


Date: Thursday, August 22nd
Time: 6pm-8:30pm
Where: Spring Meadow Lake (Our group will meet in the main/North side of the lot at the far end of the entrance)

Registration Info

RSVP: Coming soon…
Cost: Free (Donations Appreciated)
Other: Wear weather appropriate attire & comfortable shoes

Walk Leader

David Nowakowski is a philosopher and educator in the Helena area whose professional work is dedicated to helping people of all ages and backgrounds access, understand, and apply the traditions of ancient philosophy to their own lives.  David began studying ancient philosophies and classical languages in 2001, and has continued ever since.  A scholar of the philosophical traditions of the ancient Mediterranean (Greece, Rome, and North Africa) and of the Indian subcontinent, reading Sanskrit, Latin, and classical Greek, he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 2014.  His work has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, including Philosophy East & WestAsian Philosophy, and the Journal of Indian Philosophy, as well as in presentations to academic audiences at Harvard, Columbia University, the University of Toronto, Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and elsewhere. Read more here…


Community Partners


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Our philosophy activities are FREE to the community.  While donations are never expected, they are always appreciated and help to keep programs like these going. Donations help to cover activity leader honorariums, implementation, and resource archiving, and more!   If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution you can do so by clicking here or on the button above.  For those facing more challenging financial circumstances, we ask that you please try to “pay it forward” with acts of kindness for your neighbors and community. 


Spring Meadow Lake
2715 Country Club Drive
Helena, MT 59601 United States
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