The Philosophy Club
Butler University’s Philosophy Club is a student-run organization meant to encourage philosophical discussion outside the classroom and to reflect the genuine interest of our Philosophy majors and minors, and Ethics minors (as well as of many other members of the Butler community) in a wide range of philosophical problems. There are roughly three meetings every semester and discussion is held in a generally lively and informal atmosphere.
Our meetings have focused on topics as diverse as justice understood as fairness, Buddhism—between philosophy and religion, philosophy as a lifestyle, and the nature of political freedom. Occasionally the Philosophy Club holds its meetings jointly with similar organizations (e.g., when focusing on debates about political theories or religious issues) or cosponsors talks given by various philosophers.
Delaney Beh (mailto:email@example.com), is the Philosophy Club President for 2022–2023. Kyle Furlane (mailto:kfurlane@butler,edu) is the faculty advisor of the Philosophy Club.
Some of our recent meetings were devoted to discussing philosophical aspects of parenthood, the aesthetics of jokes, the ethical implications of the Occupy movement, the(im)possibility of amoralism etc. Announcements about the Club’s meetings are posted in the Butler Today announcements and in other physical and virtual venues. Students are encouraged to suggest topics for the upcoming meetings of the club.
For more information, contact Claudia Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org), Administrative Specialist in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.
Philosophy Club Meetings 2022–2023
5:15pm April 6, 2023 – (Jordan Hall 307) – ‘Our First Election!’
This meeting is extra exciting because we will be having our first official election! We are well on our way to becoming an official student organization which will provide the club with many new opportunities in the coming year. Anyone interested in serving as a club executive (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Social Media Chair) for the 2023-2024 year should attend.
5:15pm March 2, 2023 – (Jordan Hall 307) – ‘Video Games’
Join us as we discuss the ethics of depicting violence in video games, controversial character designs, concerns over virtual reality, and more!
5:15pm February 2, 2023 – (Jordan Hall 307) – ‘Taboo’
Taboo includes any topic, practice, person, place, or thing that is broadly understood to be socially forbidden or at least frowned upon. Join us as we discuss what makes something ‘taboo’ and whether or not they are justified, as well as think through some common taboos in American society, such as: obscene words/gestures, eating habits, and more!
5pm December 1, 2022 – (JH 201) – ‘Game Night!’
To hopefully alleviate some of the stress of gearing up for finals during this time, Philosophy Club is hosting a game night.
5pm October 27, 2022 – (Jordan Hall 201) – ‘Meaning and Motivation’
We will discuss what motivates our own lives, imbues us with purpose, and what, if anything, ought to give us meaning. Weather permitting, we may take a “walk and talk” if all are interested after having a bite to eat and introductions.
5pm September 29, 2022 – (Jordan Hall 201) – Ethics!!!
Bring your ethical questions, conundrums, or anything interesting you’ve learned so far in the semester for a laidback, open discussion.
Philosophy Club Meetings 2021–2022
5pm April 5, 2022 – (Jordan Hall 203) – Choose Your Own Adventure
We’ll be having a “choose your own adventure” discussion, which means everyone should bring their own questions, thoughts, and topics for us to choose from and talk about!
3:30pm February 25, 2022 – (Jordan Hall 201) – Education Legislation
We will be discussing the pressing topic of educational legislation that is currently being entertained in several states at the moment.
4pm November 5, 2021 – Walk & Talk (from Atherton Starbucks) – ‘Well-Being’
We will be discussing the topic of well-being and what better way to do so than with a walk-and-talk! Discussing questions such as:
- What is well-being?
- What elements are essential to a good life?
- Is the idea of well-being something that can be universalized?
This article may be helpful in understanding some philosophical approaches to this matter:
4pm September 28, 2021 – (Jordan Hall 201) – ‘Censorship’
Discussing questions such as:
- What is the truth?
- Do people have a right to speak about anything and everything?
- Do Social Media companies have a moral obligation to censor certain material?
Articles that will be helpful on the subject:
Philosophy Club Meetings 2020-2021
4pm April 23, 2021 – Virtual Meeting (Butler) ‘FACTS: Metaphysically Speaking’
- What are facts?
- Can you dispute the facts?
- When do features of the world become facts?
- Do facts exist in the world? Or in our ideas/minds?
- What is the difference between scientific and moral facts?
- What can we truly know? Can we know the truth? The facts?
4pm March 26, 2021 – Walk & Talk (from Atherton Starbucks) ‘Art and Morality’
Should Art be Moral?
- What makes art valuable?
- When is art moral/immoral?
- Can good art be oppressive/immoral?
- Can good comedy be insensitive?
- Is a moral flaw an aesthetic flaw?
4pm February 26, 2021 – Virtual Meeting (Butler) ‘Metaphilosophy’
We will be discussing the idea of philosophy broadly, asking questions such as:
- What is philosophy?
- What is the purpose of philosophy? What should be its purpose?
- How should we do philosophy?
- Where should we do philosophy? (Universities, an armchair, everywhere?)
- Who can (or should be able) to do philosophy?
- Can philosophy be distinguished from other fields like science and religion?
- Is philosophy valuable?
- Is philosophy a certain way of thinking? Or an academic discipline?
October 30, 2020 – Walk & Talk (from Atherton Starbucks) ‘Participating in the Political’
This meeting is strategically timed for the election on Tuesday November 3. We will be discussing government, political participation, and democracy. Below are a few questions and topics to initiate the discussion.
- Is voting a right or more of a duty or obligation? (Or something else entirely?)
- Follow up: Is it ever morally permissible not to vote? What about in this election?
- Should there be a distinction between political, legal, and civil obligations?
- Do we have an obligation to obey laws? What kind of obligation? Why?
- When is it okay not to obey laws?
- Does a political obligation require consent on the part of the individual? (In other words, it seems like we’re just thrown into a sort of social contract, through birth, whether we like it or not. This seems one sided…)
- How should the government be conceived?
- The same thing as a nation/country?
- A particular subset of the country? Which?
- The people of a nation? Or a representation of the people? Delegates (listen to constituents) vs trustees (make their own decisions)
- What should be the government’s obligations or responsibility to its people?
- Corona virus – Freedom vs Public welfare/safety vs equality
- What is the difference between natural and non-natural (political/legal) rights? Is there grey area here?
- What’s the deal with the electoral college?!
September 25, 2020 Virtual Meeting (Butler) ‘Immortality and The Meaning of Life’
Sample arguments and discussion questions:
(Any religious connotations below should be considered secondary to the philosophical points)
Leo Tolstoy’s argument (taken from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, or SEP):
- In order for life to be meaningful, something must be worth doing
- Nothing is worth doing if nothing one does makes a permanent impact on the world
- Therefore, meaning requires an immortal self
Is this argument valid? Sound? Do you accept this conclusion? Are there any problems with this argument?
Another argument (from SEP):
- Justice (in an ultimate/biblical sense) is required for meaning (without it, the “bad guys” might win and the “good guys” might lose- this is nonsensical, devoid of meaning)
- An immortal soul is required for Justice (ex: the “good guys” get to go to heaven; the bad guys will be punished in the next life through Karma; etc.)
- Therefore, an immortal soul is required for meaning
Are you convinced? Are there problems with this argument? Premises, conclusion?
A different argument (my own):
- A meaningful life is one in which we value discrete moments of our experience (each day, “the little things”)
- It is only possible to value discrete moments of our experience if there is a finite number of them (in other words, it is impossible to value discrete moments of our life if there is an infinite number of them) .
- Therefore, a meaningful life is one which is mortal
Are you convinced? Are there problems with this argument? Premises, conclusion?
- What do you think gives life meaning?
- Does meaning have anything to do with im/mortality?
- How are meaning and im/mortality related, if at all?
- Is anything in the universe immortal or infinite? (Is this just a concept or is it a real thing?)
- Imagine living forever. Could this facilitate a good life?
- If not, why do we strive to extend our lives, through medical enhancements, for example?