Philosophy Club: From News Headlines to Kanye West
College may be a time for learning big ideas, but it is also a time to interrogate them. And what better place to do so than Skidmore’s Philosophy Club? Every week, the Philosophy Club meets to try to answer big questions, ranging from the philosophy of love to the philosophy of Kanye West. Skidmore News sat down with Amanda Marlowe, club president, along with board members August Rosenberg, Maximillian Lowe and Meghan Tucker.
Students do not have to be philosophy majors to join the club; in fact, many of their members are from all different sorts of majors. “What I like about Philosophy Club is it’s like a little of a departure from real philosophy,” said Lowe. “Philosophy majors come occasionally, they usually provide a different perspective, but I’d say maybe some people have taken one philosophy class, or people don’t know anything and just come,” added Tucker.
How exactly do they come up with their different discussion topics? “Sometimes [we] pull from the headlines,” explained Lowe. Other times, however, the topics are a bit more out-there, like when they covered Kanye West in a past meeting.
The meetings generally start with a topic and a few discussion questions from the board, who then let the conversation flow freely with some moderation. Rosenberg explained that the club uses “gentle reminders” to keep the conversation flowing and to ensure everyone has a voice in the discussion.
“We don’t want to make it feel like we’re in some kind of straight-backed, academia classroom-tense space,” explained Marlowe. “We just want to make sure that if someone maybe is talking for a little bit too long, we’ll say ‘does anyone have something to add?’”
The Philosophy Club’s goals for the semester include becoming an official club, working on their partnerships with other clubs and increase their presence on campus. Despite the club’s existence for quite a long time, currently it is not ‘official’ — or, as Lowe put it: “It was a philosophical thing genuinely for a while.” Now, however, the e-board hopes to change that.
The club has some exciting partnerships coming up this semester. “In just a couple weeks we’re partnering with Feelgood, which is another club on campus that is working to end world hunger and do it in a sustainable fashion,” said Marlowe. The Philosophy Club is going to join Feelgood at their grilled cheese stand in Case and ask people about their decisions about where to spend their money, which will then lead into the following week’s discussion, “Why do we want to be good; is it selfless or selfish?”
The Philosophy Club meets on Mondays at 5:30 in Ladd 207. They’re always welcoming to newcomers, and you don’t need any background in philosophy to show up. “There’s no prerequisite of knowledge of any philosophy of philosophers, so we try to make it an open environment for anyone who wants to come and share their thoughts,” said Marlowe.