Many of us take for granted a clear divide between the animate and inanimate. For instance: I am alive, but the chair I sit in is not. My dog is probably alive, as is the oak tree just outside my window. I am somewhat less certain about grass. Or viruses. What does this distinction between the living and nonliving mean to us? Why do we care so deeply about finding a firm line between the two? What might we discover about our world, our own assumptions, and our own ethical action if we are willing to question these categories? Many cultures and peoples throughout the world have never bothered to make such clean distinctions, and even in our contemporary western culture, a movement of philosophers has been challenging this divide from within. In this ZOOM workshop led by philosophers Henry Kramer & David Nowakowski, we explored the philosophy of animism – an orientation toward the world where everything is encountered as meaningfully alive. Access the video and other resources here!
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!
We had so much fun on our October Philosophy Walk. Our group of 15 enjoyed the splendors of Mother Nature on Merlin Nature Preserve and explored the role of story and imagination across cultures. As a special treat, we also got to experience drumming & singing with Shane Doyle, an immersive “imagination cultivation” exercise with Henry Kramer, and to be part of the joyous news delivered by some of our walk-goers that (as of the morning of the walk) they had become new grandparents! What a great way to start a story!!! Access audio recordings & photos from the walk here!
Most people can identify the ideas that have revolutionized science as we know it. But what about the thought experiments behind those ideas? The ideas behind the ideas that gave rise to our vision of the world today? This free interactive & theatrical presentation was held on January 31st at ExplorationWorks as part of their Science on Tap project and explored three thought experiments that revolutionized science. Guest speakers Marisa Diaz-Waian (who played the role of the student), Martin Richard (the mad scientist) & Michael Chapman (the philosopher) examined the role of imagination and wonder in scientific and philosophical thinking and invited audience members to share in the fun!
We had a marvelous time on our annual Halloween Hayride-Philosophy Walk for kids! And this year we were granted fantastic weather by Mother Nature. Inspired by philosopher Thomas Nagel’s famous “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” (and Halloween, of course), this year we explored the world through the eyes of four different creatures: a bat, a dinosaur, a bird, and an octopus! Check out pictures & all the things we explored here!
Can utopianism be salvaged? Should it be? For many, the answer is no. But there are reasons to suggest, claims philosopher Espen Hammer, that a fully modern society cannot live without a utopian consciousness. But even if we were to adopt this stance, we must do this with caution. What preoccupies our utopian imagination is of utmost importance.