How Did We Get Here?: Religion

What is (a) religion? What are religions for? Whom are they for? And conversely, if someone is “spiritual but not religious” (or simply not religious), what exactly is it that they aren’t? In this evening’s program, we explored some of the ways that the concept of “religion” has evolved and radically changed over time, along with the related concepts of spirituality and atheism. And we considered some of the social, political, and historical factors which have spurred changes in dominant and popular notions of religion, without necessarily reducing the domain of religion to merely those other factors. Access phots & resources here!

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How Did We Get Here?: Religion – NO MORE SEATS AVAILABLE

What is (a) religion? What are religions for? Whom are they for? And conversely, if someone is “spiritual but not religious” (or simply not religious), what exactly is it that they aren’t? In this evening’s program, we’ll explore some of the ways that the concept of “religion” has evolved and radically changed over time, along with the related concepts of spirituality and atheism. And we’ll consider some of the social, political, and historical factors which have spurred changes in dominant and popular notions of religion, without necessarily reducing the domain of religion to merely those other factors. Learn more & RSVP here!

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What Our APA Berry Fund for Public Philosophy Grant Helped Fund in the Helena Community in 2023

We are grateful by the support shown to us in 2023 by the American Philosophical Association Berry Fund for Public Philosophy! Because of their $1,000 award, we were able to launch a new series called “How Did We Get here?” (as part of our philosophy shorts program). Learn more about the series and what award funds helped to support here!

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How Did We Get Here?: Free Will

Debates about “free will” crop up in a wide, wide variety of areas: In discussing law and punishment, we ask whether the defendant acted “of his own free will.” In physics and metaphysics, we wonder whether the future is fully deterministic, or whether our choices might affect the course of things. Theologians of various religious traditions ponder a variety of problems over how to reconcile human freedom with divine providence. And researchers in neuroscience and the philosophy of mind worry over the legacy bequeathed to them from Descartes: how, if at all, can the mind even be connected to the body? What, if anything, do these widely varied conversations in divergent fields have in common, besides the name “free will”? Access more here!

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How Did We Get Here?: Labor & Work

We often take “labor” and “work” as synonyms, describing an often-difficult process that’s required to “get by” in life, or even to “make our living.” Yet there’s also a strong contrast between the demanding-yet-fulfilling “work” and drudgery, as well as other complicated dances between labor and leisure, work and recreation, action and contemplation, “liberal” and “servile” pursuits. These complications have been viewed very differently across the centuries. In this installment of “How Did We Get Here?” we explored this and then some! Access resources here!

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How Did We Get Here?: Freedom

In this installment of “How Did We Get Here?” with philosopher Ed Glowienka we considered something we all want, but can’t agree on how to get: freedom. We explored the shift between classical and Enlightenment notions of political freedom and looked at how reactions to this shift inform modern conservative and liberal values. Along the way, we did a bunch of other stuff, too, and hopefully gained a deeper appreciation of why we value freedom and of the philosophical positions underlying contemporary debates. Access photos & more here!

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How Did We Get Here?: Free Will

Debates about “free will” crop up in a wide, wide variety of areas: In discussing law and punishment, we ask whether the defendant acted “of his own free will.”  In physics and metaphysics, we wonder whether the future is fully deterministic, or whether our choices might affect the course of things.  Theologians of various religious traditions ponder a variety of problems over how to reconcile human freedom with divine providence.  And researchers in neuroscience and the philosophy of mind worry over the legacy bequeathed to them from Descartes: how, if at all, can the mind even be connected to the body?  What, if anything, do these widely varied conversations in divergent fields have in common, besides the name “free will”?  By looking at the history of this much-contested concept in this month’s session of “How Did We Get Here?”, we can begin to peel back the layers! Learn more & RSVP here!

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How Did We Get Here?: Labor & Work

We often take “labor” and “work” as synonyms, describing an often-difficult process that’s required to “get by” in life, or even to “make our living.” Yet there’s also a strong contrast between the demanding-yet-fulfilling “work” and drudgery, as well as other complicated dances between labor and leisure, work and recreation, action and contemplation, “liberal” and “servile” pursuits. These complications have been viewed very differently across the centuries. In this installment of “How Did We Get Here?” we’ll explore this and then some! Learn more & RSVP here.

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