Argumentation increases club members? knowledge

Hanan Salem

Time travel, existentialism and the link between reality and science are a few of the Philosophy Club’s hottest topics.

This club welcomes students of all intellects to showcase their academic skills, argue and make a good time of it.

Carol Radkins, senior philosophy major, said the club is based on academia and is essentially “the knowledge club.”

“It’s not like there’s a philosophy that we all agree with. I mean you have 10 philosophers in the room, which means 12 different opinions,” Radkins said. “Philosophy is a mind-expanding field. It’s not like you focus on something that’s specific and quantifiable.”

Members said because they promote free thought, they in turn find satisfaction in disagreement.

“Everybody is curious about everything,” said Amanda Muncill, senior philosophy major. “I think the general goal is embracing knowledge and just enriching ourselves with just as much as we can get it. We embrace all subjects. It’s not just philosophy. It is everything.”

Moreover, members said they encourage students to go beyond what they normally learn in philosophy-based classes.

“We encourage extremism. We want to hear each other’s views. We love to argue. We have a lot of fun,” said Richard Edwards, senior philosophy major and club president.

Muncill said much like the nature of the club, the weekly meetings are disorderly, spirited and yet highly intellectual.

“I think they’re fun. They are chaotic because everyone wants to talk all at once,” Muncill said.

Radkins, the club’s moderator, said she thinks everyone appreciates her efforts to maintain order.

“Philosophers are full of ideas and they all want to speak their ideas all the time, so it’s hard to keep people focused on a single thread of a conversation,” Radkins said. “Philosophy is such a varied field, it’s difficult to keep the club focused.”

To break the ice among new members, meetings are kicked-off with witty “roll-call” questions, Edwards said.

One model roll-call question is: How much would it cost for you to kill someone convicted of murder and what would you pay to be the executioner of that criminal?

“For that question, rarely does a dollar amount get brought up,” Edwards said, laughing. “Incredibly elaborate answers are totally acceptable.”

Edwards also said their weekly discussions may inspire undergraduates and those with undeclared majors.

“People expect that philosophy majors would be like stoners and slackers. It’s really not the case. The group is academic; students either want to be professors or are trying to figure out what they want to do,” Edwards said. “Myself, I don’t think I’ll be in philosophy forever. But it took philosophy for me to figure out what I wanted to do.”

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