Campfire Philosophy Outing/Field Seminar Program in Yellowstone — “Where the Wild Things Are: An Exploration of Our Relationship with the Wild”

This dynamic and interactive Yellowstone Forever Institute field seminar program & Merlin campfire philosophy outing explores our relationship with the wild through the lens of literature, philosophy & science. Led by Marisa Diaz-Waian & Thomas Baumeister, the 4-day program involves a mix of classroom and outdoor time — with a heavy emphasis on the outdoors, reflection, experiential learning, and discussion. The field seminar program/outing runs from August 24th – 28th 2020 and includes lodging at Lamar Buffalo Ranch Field Campus in Yellowstone National Park.

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Philosophy Workshop: The Stoic Art of Living — The Ethics of Freedom (*VIRTUAL/ZOOM*)

In this 2½-hour VIRTUAL/ZOOM workshop led by David Nowakowski, we’ll explore the Stoic art of living. No background in philosophy is required to participate in this workshop.  All ages welcome. FREE.  Learn more here!

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Philosophy Workshop: Wonder, Nature & Play (March 2020)

Have you ever wondered about wonder? What exactly is the experience of wondering? Why do we feel it? When do we feel it? Why might it be valuable? And, most pressingly: how can wonder be cultivated to assist us in dealing with modern problems, both on a large scale and in our individual, personal lives? In this 2½-hour workshop led by 2019-2020 Student Scholar Fellow Henry Kramer we investigated the connections between wonder, nature, imagination, and play through lecture, discussion, and exercises. Access resources and photos here!

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Philosophy Workshop: Suffering & The Self – A Survey of Buddhist Thought (February 2020)

In this 2½-hour workshop David Nowakowski led us through a tour of the Buddhist philosophies of India and Tibet. After a brief historical overview, we began with some of the key philosophical claims—and the arguments for those claims—made by the historical Buddha. Then we went on to see how later Buddhist thinkers in India expanded and elaborated on these basic insights and concluded by looking head-on at some interpretive questions, for the place of Buddhist thought in the modern world. Access resources and photos here!

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Philosophy Workshop: The Philosophy of Friendship (January 2020)

In this 2½-hour workshop led by David Nowakowski, we explored some classic arguments about friendship offered by Aristotle, the Stoic philosophers Epictetus and Seneca, and the traditions of ancient commentaries on these philosophers’ work.  We examined the what’s and why’s of friendship, in order to find guidance on how to navigate the difficult, challenging, and perplexing situations that all-too-often arise among friends. Access resources & photos here!

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Elk Shoulder Seasons Ineffective–Time to Think Outside the Box

Montana is home to a lot of elk—134,557 to be more precise. Elk reign prominently in our state’s identity and Montana is better for it. Yet, according to the Elk Management Plan put forth by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), this is 42,419 elk too many. In this article, 2019 Merlin Community Scholar Fellow Thomas Baumeister, discusses the numerous practical and moral challenges of elk shoulder seasons. Read more!

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Philosophy Workshop: From Karma to Dharma – Finding our Way through Indian Philosophy (Winter 2019)

This 2½-hour workshop introduced key concepts and arguments from the philosophical traditions of India. Our goals were to dispel some common misconceptions about Indian philosophy and religion, to distinguish different Indian philosophical schools from one another, and to develop a deeper understanding of these rich and varied traditions.
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Philosophy Workshop: Thinking Ecologically About Virtue & Value (Fall 2019)

For many philosophers, scientists, and ordinary people, “species” are not only descriptive categories of how things are, but ideal models for how things should be. In this workshop, led by David Nowakowski, we took a whirlwind tour of “species” from antiquity to the present, in order to better understand the hidden assumptions behind our own thinking today…and what thinking ecologically might tell us about virtue & value. Access resources & photos here!

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