In his Handbook, the Stoic philosopher Epictetus tells us that “the appropriate actions for us to do are usually measured out for us by our relations.” Epictetus suggests that we can see how to act fittingly in any given situation, based on how we are related to the other people involved, whether as family members, friends, fellow citizens, enemies, or in whatever other way. In this reading & discussion, we’ll use some extended quotations from Simplicius’ commentary as a springboard for reflecting on friendship, and on the appropriate actions that arise from our relationships more generally. Learn more & RSVP here.
In this installment of “How Did We Get Here?”, we’ll consider the intellectual history of the idea of “planet” with mathematician, physicist, and astrophysicist Kelly Cline. We’ll start with the ancient Greeks, move to Copernicus, and then sashay into the 20th century. Along the way we’ll learn about how scientific words and their definitions serve as a specific lens through which we can view the world. By scientifically defining words so that they most closely match real categories that exist in physical reality, this makes it easier for us to understand, investigate, and make sense of the universe. As such, this installment of HDWGH and the evolution of how we understand and use the word planet will give us important insights into the nature of science and the foundations of our modern civilization. Learn more & RSVP here.
Philosophical and spiritual texts from India, like the Bhagavad Gita, often present a choice — or even a conflict — between three lives, or three different ways that we humans might organize and structure our lives: action, knowledge, and devotion. In this workshop, we’ll use a few short selections from important philosophical texts, East and West, as a springboard for understanding each life, both on its own terms, and in conflict or dialogue with the others. Learn more & RSVP here.
Most of us have the basic intuition that, because the truth “always is what it is”then there shouldn’t really be different “kinds” of knowing: we either know, or we don’t know, and that’s that. Knowledge, like truth, should be objective and invariable. Yet many of us also have another intuition: sometimes, there really does seem to be “something different” about knowing, or about acquiring knowledge, in different ways. In this workshop we’ll apply some traditional tools, along with our own careful analytic skill, to see what we can salvage from both intuitions. We’ll identify, as best we can, what each intuition gets right, as well as how they fit together in a coherent way. Critically, we’ll learn to appreciate the difference between knowing, as an activity that we do, and knowledge, as a thing that we have. Learn more & RSVP here.