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Topics for Our Events

The topics for our events are derived from the main intentions of our group; to create a safe and fun atmosphere for practical philosophical discussions. We define 'practical philosophical discussions' as inclusive conversations involving everyday challenges and opportunities relating to self-awareness, wisdom and happiness in relation to philosophical theories and concepts available to us from the great thinkers of our time and from the past.
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There are many philosophical book clubs and discussion groups which do not have a primary focus on making philosophy practical. In contrast, one of the main intentions behind our events (aside from having fun) is to discuss how philosophy can be used as a practical tool to help us gain a more enriched understanding of ourselves and the world around us. It's not so much about knowing which specific philosopher said what or which theory is right or wrong; it's about how we can integrate intriguing principals, and how we can pose thought-provoking questions to one another for the purpose of sharing insights in order bring more happiness and wisdom to our lives. According to our members this format seems to be working out very well.

Click here to view feedback from members

 

Topics for 2014

January Truth & Honesty
February Love
March Self-awareness
April Ethics & Morals
May (no events scheduled for this month - required break time for coordinator)
June Freedom
July The Philosophy of Art
August Church and State
September (no events schedule due to the development of new Member Preferences upgrade)
October Death and Transcendence
November Apathy and Activism 2.0
December Apathy and Activism 2.0
January (2015) Liberty and Anarchy - click here for some food for thought
 

Suggest a Topic

If you'd like to suggest a topic for an upcoming event which incorporates the practical side of philosophy then please send an email with the description of your topic to:

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Please note: If haven't yet received an event announcement (via email) for the Philosophy Dinners Meetup group in your city, this is likely because the event has been announced already (but you turned off your Meetup notifications in your Meetup account), the event was announced before you joined the group, or it will be announced very soon. Click here to find your group

 

New for 2014:
The Philosophy Dinners Facebook Group

The purpose of the Philosophy Dinners Facebook group is to cultivate the global citizen mindset; by enriching our perspectives through the sharing of insights before and after the events take place in our individual cities.

Click here to join the Philosophy Dinners Facebook Group

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Previous & Repeating Topics

What you see below is a portion of the topics which have been covered so far at our events in some of our groups around the world. Each of these topics is associated with Food for Thought pages and thought-provoking questions to fuel the discussions (via discussion notes). All of these topics have already been covered in our Toronto group and they will be repeated every once in a while if you missed them. If you've got a topic which you think would fit in well with the overall intentions of Philosophy Dinners, please contact us here

Self-actualization

PhilosophyDinners LogoInstead of dedicating your life to actualize a concept of what you should be like, ACTUALIZE YOURSELF. - Bruce Lee

  • What does it mean to actualize yourself?

  • How can you know when you're being authentic?

  • What are the connections between self-actualization, wisdom and happiness?

 

This event will focus on areas involving self-actualization and self-realization and the overlapping of these areas in the realm of practical philosophy. This event will be an opportunity for us to explore wisdom and insights from some of the great philosophers of the past and present, as well as a forum for us to share our insights, theories, thoughts, and experiences. (As usual, thought-provoking questions and quotes will be provided to our discussion facilitators).

 


Managing Emotions

PhilosophyDinners Logo"I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them." - Oscar Wilde

  • What is your relationship to your emotions?

  • Are you a slave or a master when it comes to managing your emotions?

  • What are the connections between emotional mastery, freedom, wisdom and happiness?

There has been so much great work done on empowering oneself through the mastery of emotions that I thought this would be an ideal topic for our group. This event will be an opportunity for us to explore wisdom and insights from some of the great philosophers of the past and present, as well as a forum for us to share our insights, theories, thoughts, and experiences. (As usual, thought-provoking questions and quotes will be provided to our discussion facilitators).

 


Meaning and Purpose

What is the meaning and purpose of life?

Has your answer to this question changed over time?

Are you still working on your answer? If so, rest assured you are not alone.  :)

This event will be an opportunity for us to share our insights, theories, thoughts, and experiences with regards to this topic, and explore what some of the great philosophers of the past and present have to say as well. (As usual, further questions and quotes will be provided to the discussion facilitators).

 

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Detachment

PhilosophyDinners LogoHow much does your life weigh?

Detachment (also expressed as non-attachment) is a popular and important theme in the realm of philosophy. Freeing oneself from one's attachments can be liberating, but is it more easily said than done?

 

Some questions start to arise such as: 

  • How realistic is the notion of detachment?

  • What (or whom) are we attached to?

  • How attached are you to technology (i.e. your cell phone)?

  • How attached are you to your expectations of others (or of yourself)?

  • How attached are you to your ideas that you present to others?

  • How attached are you to your relationships?

  • What is the difference between an attachment and love?

  • How can the practice of detachment lead to increased happiness?


As usual, this should be a fun and entertaining evening as we share our insights with regards to this conundrum. I will be providing our
discussion facilitators with more questions to pose to our group, as well as some brief facts and quotes taken from various backgrounds such as Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism. No formal philosophy experience is required to participate in any of our events. All that is required is that you are open-minded and respectful of your fellow guests.

 


Learning from Religion

PhilosophyDinners LogoShould the life-enriching activities and practices included in religions be limited to the religious? Can some of these practices transcend the 'faith barrier'?

Some other questions start to arise such as:

  • Can atheists replace scripture with culture in order to obtain insights in the areas of morality, guidance, and consolation?

  • Should art be didactic or do you believe in art for art's sake?

  • Should sermons be limited to churches?

  • What can the secular world learn from the act of the pilgrimage?


This event was inspired by Alain de Botton's TED lecture entitled: Atheism 2.0

Click here to view this TED lecture (or dare I say, TED sermon) Atheism 2.0

Just so there is no confusion, this event is not intended specifically for atheists, nor for those of faith. As in the case of all of our events, this event is intended for all of our members.


The Art of Happiness

PhilosophyDinners LogoEveryone wants to be happy. Yet, as Aristotle pointed out, when it comes to defining happiness most people disagree on what it actually is.

In this event we will address the following question:

What is happiness, and what are the components of a flourishing life?

For Aristotle, those who understand what happiness is will be like archers who have a clear mark to aim at and thus be more likely to hit their target. As per usual, our discussion facilitators will be providing some thought-provoking research and questions which will serve as the initial sparks to our conversations.

 


Transhumanism

Whether we like it or not, technology is becoming more and more prevalent and ubiquitous in our daily lives. The line between human and machine will continue to become more and more blurred as technology continues to supplement and even substitute our various senses and faculties.

We live in an unprecedented era where our species is able to manipulate the very building blocks of life towards God-like capabilities - but, towards what end?

Can philosophy help to keep us grounded during these transitions?

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Some other questions start to arise such as:

  • how far should we collectively or individually indulge in technology?
  • what is "natural" and what is sacred in this context?
  • how much are you currently connected and online?
  • have you increased your level of wisdom and happiness as a result of technology?

 Click here to hear what Jason Silva has to say about 'The Singularity'

 


The Identity Conundrum

One might say that it's necessary and quite normal to have multiple identities in order to manage our various interactions in our personal and work lives.

If this is true then can practical philosophy help us to better identify, consolidate or harmonize these identities in order to achieve more authenticity and more happiness in our lives?

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Many other questions start to arise such as:
  • how many identities do we have?
  • are certain identities evolving and other ones not?
  • are they in conflict or in harmony?
  • to what degree do your different identities affect your actions and reactions?
  • do you consciously pigeonhole new people that you meet based on their professions or interests?

For the purposes of our discussions, please try to bring all of your various identities to this meetup event, just in case.  ;)


History and Legacy

PhilosophyDinners LogoHow important is our connections to our history and to our legacy?

How can we know where we are going if we don't know where we've been? What is your relationship with world history? (i.e. impressive, selective, foggy, don't ask)

Are you self-conscious about the gaping holes in your knowledge of world history which most of us have but may not volunteer to admit? You're not alone.

What do philosophers of the past and present say about our connections to history and legacy?

On the legacy side, if you got run over by a bus tomorrow, would you have established your legacy as an individual?

What should our legacy be as individuals, as a society or even as a species?

The topic for this event was inspired by the popularity of a few of our previous themes as well as a series of though-provoking and entertaining YouTube videos called Crash Course World History.

Click here to view the first video in the series


The Habit Conundrum

One might say that much of our thoughts and actions in life are based on the habits that we accumulate, but what are the implications of these automatic behaviours?

Is there such a thing as a virtuous habit? Aristotle believed that "moral excellence comes about as a result of habit". However, Immanuel Kant advocated that a virtue is only a real virtue if itís a result of a conscious choice. Are you able to identify and separate yourself from your habits? What is the relationship between habits and happiness?

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The Good Citizen
  • What does it really mean to be a good citizen?
  • What do the great philosophers of the past and present say about our duties, obligations, and responsibilities as citizens?
  • How do we measure what it means to be a good citizen in our city in our modern day?
  • Do you consciously make any connections between your relationship with your neighbours and the act of voting?
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Aligning Thoughts, Words and Actions

One might say that how we go about aligning our thoughts, words, and actions can help to define our sense of pride or hypocrisy. Nobody's perfect though, so how high should we raise the bar?

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Living with Uncertainty

Whether it's the state of the economy, the state of the planet, or aspects of our own personal lives - how can we learn to live with all of the uncertainty that surrounds us?

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What is your world view and how does it shape your actions?

You might say that one's world view can change, grow, and narrow through time, but it nevertheless shapes our everyday actions. Can we manage or tweak it or is it out of our control?

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Calopia GlenBrauer.com


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