Week 5: “Reflecting on Symbols”

Hope you guys are hanging in there! This week, as a mental study break from all the critical inquiry you are engaging in for your midterms, we would like to engage in our philosophical creativity by having an impromptu reflection session. 

At the beginning of the meeting, we’ll do a brief check-in to see how you are holding up in terms of classes and academic workload. Then, we’ll begin our newest activity:

Ten images will be passed out. We’ll spend 10-15 minutes contemplating on the symbols at hand and on our thoughts. Then, we’ll spend the remainder of the meeting sharing. (NB: You will not be required to produce pedantic schemas.)

Free food and coffee will be provided!

Hope you guys can make it, and see you this Wednesday (10/30)Stuart 209, at 5:30 pm.


Week 4: “Moral Differences and Distances” by Cora Diamond

This week, we’ll be reading Cora Diamond’s “Moral Differences and Distances.” It’s 18 pages long, but 7 pages of that is directly excerpted from a newspaper, so it should go pretty quickly. Reading it is definitely worth your while — it’s one of my favorite essays in philosophy and is still resonating with me months after having read it the first time. It’s about how our own personal ethical schemas can come into conflict with what we find interesting, or humorous, or beautiful, and how that tension can manifest in popular media. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. (If you’re pinched for time, focus on pages 202-215. And if people are very interested but unable to get through it all, we can consider continuing the discussion next week.)

We will be meeting on Wednesday at 5:30 PM in Stuart 209. See you all there!

Week 3: “The Subjection of Women” by J.S. Mill

Happy third week! We’ll be discussing a feminist text by John Stuart Mill, The Subjection of WomenWe do not wish to bombard you with reading, so we are assigning only two sections (but feel free to read more if you like!):

+ Women in the arts and sciences (Ch. 3 – pg. 40)
+ Moral education of males (Ch. 4 – pg. 47) 

Pizza will be available to fuel our discussion, and our meeting will be at 5:30 pm, Wednesday October 16, in Stuart 209. Hope to see you there, and have a great week!

PS. In light of our discussion last week:

Imágenes integradas 1

Articles of Interest

Some of you were asking about the additional articles that came up in conversation this evening. One, “Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity,” was on the front page of the New York Times a few weeks ago and discusses the initiatives undertaken by the administration to produce an extremely rapid narrowing of the gender disparity. The other, “Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?,” recounts the personal experiences of a woman who chose not to go into academic physics. Both are highly interesting and pertinent to our ongoing conversation!

Second Week Meeting

We’d like to extend a welcome to all the new members we greeted at the RSO Fair last week! We will again be meeting on Wednesday this week, at 5:30 PM in Stuart 209. (For those of you who don’t know: this is the only classroom on the second floor of Stuart Hall.)

We didn’t end up discussing the NPR article we assigned last week, but this week we will be discussing similar themes, so the content of that article will still be relevant. This week, we’ll be turning our attention to the ongoing discussion in the New York Times on the Colin McGinn scandal, which, according to some commentators, has been a “turning-point” in the debate on low numbers of women and minorities in philosophy departments.

The first article we’ll discuss — “A Star Philosopher Falls, and a Debate Over Sexism Is Set Off” — landed on the front page of the New York Times over the summer and newly brought the problem of women in philosophy to mainstream attention. The scandal was followed by five days of commentary by female philosophers in the New York Times‘ philosophy blog, The Stone (brought to our attention by UWIP member Alaina Bompiedi!). All five columns are worth reading, but we will specifically be focusing on “What’s Wrong with Philosophy?” by Linda Martín Alcoff, “The Disappearing Women” by Rae Langton, and “The Double Bind” by Peg O’Connor. Each one is only a few paragraphs, and reading all three should take you less than half an hour.

Click the following for PDF versions:

Colin McGinn page 2

For those of you uninterested in discussing academic politics, don’t worry — next week, we’ll be assigning some philosophy.

Fall 2013 Meetings

Our preliminary meeting was tonight; in future weeks we will be meeting at 5:30 PM on Wednesdays in Stuart 209. The best way to get updates, however, is by signing up for our listhost. That’s where we circulate all our readings, information about events, and last-minute news. (If you can’t figure out how to sign yourself up, or if you run into any problems, just email Sabina at svbremner@gmail.com, and she can add you right away.)

In addition, we will be at the RSO Fair on the quads on Friday from 3-5. Look out for our table to talk to us, find out about UWIP and the new Philosophy Journal, and get treats.

Hope to see you all soon, and if you’re a new student here, welcome to the University of Chicago!