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:  2016-17

Nov. 12: Plato, “The Republic.” “The Republic is the first great work of political philosophy in the Western canon; it examines the concept of justice and rejects democracy in favor of rule by ‘philosopher kings.’ It is still relevant to questions about the political organization of societies that we face today.
Dec. 10: the Huai Nan Tzu. This set of sacred  Chinese texts attributed to Liu An, written in the 2nd century BCE, reflects the strong in fluency of Laozi (6th c. BCE)< the father of Taoism: Topics: the cosmos, life and soul, yin and yang, natural law and more.
Jan. 14: Edmund Burke, “Reflections on the Revolution in France.” Best known as a parliamentarian, one sympathetic to American critics of British colonial rule, Burke became critical of the French Revolution as it turned into the Terror. Not only a work of historical analysis, “Reflections is a major work of political philosophy seeking to balance competing claims of liberty, equality and order.
Feb. 11: Martha Nussbaum, “Objectification.” Nussbaum takes issue with radical feminists who hold a negative view of sexual objectification. In doing so, she conducts an open philosophical exploration of this aspect of human experience.
March 11: Sarah Worth, “Narrative Understanding & Understanding Narrative.” Worth argues that we order our experience of the world — the discursive and the narrative — and that only by understanding the relationship between the two can we understand the paradox of fiction, in which powerful emotions are generated despite our recognition of the fictional nature of the story.
Past meetings have focused on the following topics:
Rawls, Nozick & Sen on economic justice.
Albert Camus, “The Fall
Arthur Schopenhauer.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, “Philosophical Investigations.”

Eve Kosovsky Sedgwick, “Between Men”: introduction to the 5th chapter of “Queer Theory”

William James, “The Will to Believe”

Aristotle, “Poetics.”

Eric Fromm.

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”