Welcome to the Philosophy Forum

For over 15 years the Forum has provided the LGBT community and its friends an open opportunity to gather and informally discuss important works of philosophy. We meet monthly on the second Saturday, from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m. The texts to be discussed (up to 50 pages) or links to the texts can be found on this site.  Our meeting locations vary, check below. All are welcome. We hope you will join us.

PROGRAM:  2015-16

Dec. 12: Eric Fromm. (Muhlenberg Library)

Jan. 9: Aristotle, “Poetics.” Aristotle’s “Poetics” (c. 335 BCE) is the earliest surviving work of aesthetics in Western philosophy and is arguably the most influential work in the philosophy of art. We will be examining key concepts in the “Poetics” such as ‘mimesis’ and ‘catharsis’ and their relevance for contemporary aesthetics and our assessment of all of the arts.
Feb. 13: William James, “The Will to Believe”
March 12: Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick, “Queer Theory.”
April 10: Ludwig Wittgenstein, “Philosophical Investigations.” Wittgenstein was arguably the most important philosopher of the 20th century and the PI was possibly the most influential work of philosophy of the last century, the foundation for the analytic school which is now dominant in the academy. We’ll be assessing his celebrated private language argument as well as other important excerpts from the PI.
May 14: Arthur Schopenhauer.
June 11: TBD.
Past meetings have focused on the following topics:

Thomas Paine, “The Age of Reason

Alison Gopnik, “The Philosophical Baby”

David Seiple, “The New Atheists”

Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Man

John Stuart Mill, ’”On Individuality

John Locke, “Some Thoughts Concerning Education” (1692)

Carl Jung, “Approaching the Unconscious”

John Dewey, “Democracy and Education“ (1916)

Sam Harris, “Free Will.”

Simone de Beauvoir, “The Ethics of Ambiguity

Bernard Williams, “Truth & Truthfulness”

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Philosophy of History”

Niccolo Machiavelli, “The Prince” (excerpts)

Rainer Maria Rilke letter on sexuality.

Paul Baghossian & Douglas Dempster on the philosophy of music

Walter Benjamin, “The Arcades Project” (tr. Howard Eiland & Kevin McLaughlin).

Martin Heidegger, “Poetry, Language, Thought”: chapter 2 on “The Origin of the Work of Art” (pp. 15-87).

Karl Marx, “Critique of Feuerbach”; Theodor Adorno, “On Lyric Poetry & Society”

David Hume,  ”An Abstract of ‘A Treatise of Human Nature” and “Why Cause is Always Necessary”

Martin Heidegger, “On the Essence of Truth”

John Joughin, “Shakespeare’s Genius: ‘Hamlet,’ Adaptation & the Work of Following”; Marjorie Garber, “Shakespeare & Modern Culture”

Christoph Menke, “Ability & Faith: On the Possibility of Justice”

Dorothy Dinnerstein, “The Mermaid & the Minotaur”

Erik Erikson, “Gandhi’s Truth”

Jurgen Habermas on religion in the public sphere

Noam Chomsky, “Linguistics &  Brain Science”

Benedict de Spinoza,”The Ethics”

Hannah Arendt on “Truth & Politics”

Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations”

Henry David Thoreau, “Life without Principle”

Martha Nussbaum, “A Right to Marry? Same-Sex Marriage & Constitutional Law”

Plotinus, “Enneads” (excerpts)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “Phenomenology of Perception”

Jane Flax, “Thinking Fragments: Psychoanalysis, Feminism & Postmodernism in the contemporary West” (excerpts)

Plato, “Phaedrus”

Eckhardt Tolle & Byron Katie

Alexis de Tocqueville, “Democracy in America” (excerpts)

Michel Foucault, “Politics” & “The Eye of Power”

Michel Foucault, “Governmentality”; Monique Devaux, “Feminism & Empowerment: A Critical Reading of Foucault”

Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus”

Soren Kierkegaard, “The Sickness Unto Death”

Bertell Ollman, “What is Political Science? What Should It Be?”

Larry M. Bartels, “What’s the Matter with What’s the Matter With Kansas?”; Thomas Frank, “Class is Dismissed”

Leslie Fiedler, “Cross the Border — Close the Gap”

George Lakoff

Laozi, Tao Te Ching

Zhuangzi, Seven Inner Chapters; Mark Berkson, “Language: The Guest of Reality — Zhuangzi and Derrida on Language, Reality, and Skillfulness,” from “Essays on Skepticism, Relativism, and Ethics in the Zhuangzi,” edited by Paul Kjellberg & Philip J. Ivanhoe

Dennis Wrong, “Power: Its Forms, Bases , and Uses”; Lewis Mumford, “The Pentagon of Power”

Immanuel Kant

Madison, Hamilton & Jay: The Federalist Papers

A Course in Miracles

Montaigne, “That We Should Not Judge of Our Happinesse Until After Our Death”

Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass”

Slavoj Zizek, “You May”

Robert Eaglestone, “Critical Knowledge, Scientific Knowledge, and the Truth of Literature”

Richard Rorty, “Method, Social Science & Social Hope”