How Did We Get Here?: Social Contract

The theory of a “social contract” plays a crucial role in American history & in much of contemporary political theory. In this evening’s program led by community philosopher David Nowakowski, we’ll trace the main currents of this idea from early incarnations in the work of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, through influential 20th-century philosophers like Rawls, to the present. We’ll examine how historical circumstances shaped each thinker’s account & reflect on how those continue to reverberate in the present. Learn more & RSVP here!

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How Did We Get Here?: Philosophy

In this evening’s program, we looked at some of the major ways in which the concept of philosophy has evolved over the centuries. In doing so, we traced some of the important ways in which philosophers have understood the subject-matter of their discipline. And we examined how, from very early on, philosophers have been especially self-conscious of the history of philosophy, in a way that is unique from other sciences. Access photos & resources here!

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Reading & Discussion Series: Exploring the Republic

Why is it worthwhile to act justly, even if we could “get away” with injustice? Doesn’t the successful thief or tyrant have a life that’s attractive and enviable? How does the kind of society that we live in shape our character, values, and attitudes as individuals? Is it even possible to be a healthy person, in a society that’s profoundingly sick and unbalanced? Over the winter and early spring, we’ll be exploring these and other main themes from Plato’s Republic. For 5 every-other-Wednesday sessions, we’ll balance our time and attention between close reading of Plato’s text, and considering the implications of Plato’s arguments for our own lives and times. Access resources here!

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How Did We Get Here?: Philosophy

In this evening’s program, we’ll look at some of the major ways in which the concept of philosophy has evolved over the centuries. In doing so, we’ll trace some of the important ways in which philosophers have understood the subject-matter of their discipline. And we’ll examine how, from very early on, philosophers have been especially self-conscious of the history of philosophy, in a way that is unique from other sciences. Learn more & RSVP here.

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How Did We Get Here?: Democracy

Is democracy new or old? Does it deserve the reverence that modern Western society has ascribed to it? In this evening’s program, we’ll look at the evolution of the modern concept of democracy, including how different groups approached practical matters. We’ll trace their solutions to the present day & see how those solutions continue to shape the discourse of the modern world. We’ll also reflect on current challenges to “democracy” and how members of the community can put theory into practice to keep democracy healthy. Learn more & RSVP here!

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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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