Philosophy Club members gather weekly to practice critical thinking

Every Thursday night at 5 p.m. Philosophy Club members gather together to discuss anything and everything that involves critical thinking. Centered around philosophical conversation, the members discuss, debate, and deliberate concepts of all kinds.

What is the Philosophy Club?

The Philosophy club is a group of students who come together to think critically about different topics that are or have been present in society.  Nathan Conard, English junior and president of the club, said the interaction between members is what makes the club distinct.

“It’s really a unique environment where you have people who are willing to listen to you and you can feel like you’re really engaging with them on serious topics,” Conard said. “Philosophy is about the big questions. It’s really an environment of an eagerness to ask questions and investigate and inquire.”

What are the requirements to be a member?

The Philosophy Club is free to students and has no requirements to become a member. Students who join are encouraged to come and go as they please. Tyler Williams, assistant professor and adviser to the club, said that although the group is relatively small, the value is largely practical.

“Even though the Philosophy Club is very small, philosophy itself is directly relevant to just about everything that gets done on campus,” Williams said. “Therefore, the Philosophy Club exists to promote the inherent value of philosophy as a discipline and way of life.”

Williams said no formal background or knowledge of philosophy is required to participate, however, open-mindedness is expected.

“The club’s organization lives up to the idea that doing philosophy is an inherently social endeavor. For this reason, it has no prerequisites or expected familiarity with the history of philosophy. All are welcome, provided that they’re willing to think openly, honestly and without prejudice,” Williams said.

What does a general meeting look like?

Philosophy Club meetings are based largely on open discussion. Williams said students are encouraged to bring topics and questions as subject for the meeting’s discussion.

“It’s informal and very social. Sometimes there are administrative decisions to make, such as what sort of activities the club wants to sponsor/host. Most of the time, the club gathers to discuss topics of philosophical significance,” Williams said. “Sometimes the topic comes from an idea that a student has encountered while reading a philosophy text. Sometimes it’s pulled from the current headlines. Sometimes it’s a thought experiment or debate circling the internet.”

Conard said the group rarely shys away from discussing any topic.

“The biggest thing is just talking about philosophy. It’s very informal and very open ended. We are always willing to discuss all kinds of crazy things,” Conard said.

Why should students join?

Williams said due to the school’s liberal arts nature, the club proves to be a useful and practical extra-curricular.

“Every MSU student should consider joining the Philosophy Club because every MSU student is officially a member of the only public liberal arts university in the whole state of Texas,” Williams said. “Philosophy is one of the most foundational, if not the most foundational disciplines in the ‘liberal arts,’ historically-speaking, which makes the cultivation of philosophical thinking a large component of MSU’s educational identity.”

Nathaniel Shawber, biology junior, said joining the Philosophy Club allows access and provides a unique exposure to the viewpoints of others.

“Even though a single person has the potential to have so much knowledge and intelligence, each new perspective you get from a different person is a perspective and knowledge you would be incapable of getting otherwise. Every new person is a new perspective and therefore our knowledge and perspectives get that much bigger with each new person that joins,” Shawber said.