To celebrate the new year, we kicked off our 2021 workshop series by looking at the questions: “What is philosophy? What does it involve, what does it do, and why should we care?” For this first ZOOM workshop led by philosopher David Nowakowski, we surveyed several approaches to the question, “What is philosophy?”, each of which raised its own further questions for reflection and discussion. We also took a quick tour of the major areas or divisions of philosophy, as they developed in Greece, India, and elsewhere. Access resources and reading recommendations here!
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!