April 2019 Philosophy Think & Drink (Missoula)

What a wonderful and kind group of thinkers at our first Missoula gathering at Imagine Nation Brewing!  Thank you so much, everyone, for spending your evening with us and contributing such thoughtful insights and questions.  Speaking of questions…three primary questions were posed at the outset of the eve;  we selected one, but as is frequently the case, the three ended up intertwining in unique and delightful ways:

  • What is it about the ocean & other phenomena like that (e.g., fire) that transfixes us?  What is it about nature that has this quality?
  • What is wonder?  Why and how is it important?
  • What is the role of other species in human lives?  And vice-versa?

The Question We Started with as a Group

  • What is it about the ocean & other phenomena like that (e.g., fire) that transfixes us?  What is it about nature that has this quality?  

Some Things Explored & Unpacked Along the Way

  • What is wonder?  How does it relate to awe, curiosity, and imagination?  What does it mean to have a disposition inclined toward wonder?
  • How might the role of “self” — the expansion of self into other or the diminishment of self — relate to our experiences with the natural world and wonder?
  • What roles do pattern, harmony, and synchronicity play relative to the transfixing-type feelings that emerge when encountering natural phenomena? 
  • What sorts of experiences and things are involved with an enduring sense of wonder?  Can we interact in the world this way with all things?  Is a certain sort of epistemic humility required for wonder? Might this be related to an awareness or recognition of the inexhaustible depth of things?
  • Can things with which we are intimately familiar continue to elicit a sense of wonder?  Or is there something about the “newness” of things that we must consider?
  • And, last but not least…(for our lovely Cleveland, OH guests at the T & D)….the illusive prairie dog.  Why is it that they elicit such wonder and awe?  Could it be that what we are feeling is brought about by some intuited recognition of their ecological virtues?  Here are some interesting factoids about prairie dogs! and an interesting interview on NPR’s Living on Earth in 2013 exploring the question “Can Prairie Dogs Save Mexico’s Prairie from the Desert?”

Thank you to the Philosophy Learning & Teaching Organization (PLATO) for supporting philosophy in the community and helping us bring activities like these to the Missoula community! 

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