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Philosophy Club Promotes Engaging Dialogue

By: Cami Wheeler Shield Editor

The idea for NRCA’s Philosophy Club originated with Megan Lin, a 2023 graduate. She conceived of creating a philosophy club in her sophomore year; however, when she proposed her idea to the administration, the timing was off for adding new clubs.   


During her senior year, Lin met Haley Lee, then a sophomore. When they realized they were both interested in philosophy, the idea of a philosophy club arose again. “We bonded through our shared interest in philosophy, and at some point, [Megan] shared her idea of having a discussion-based philosophy club and asked if I wanted to take part in this project. With Mr. Huffman as the advisor, the administration approved [Philosophy Club] this time, and we launch the club in the spring of 2023,” Lee, a junior, said.  


From the beginning, the purpose behind the club was to have students engage in enriching conversations. “[Imagine] you are with a friend expressing with honesty and humility your ideas and in turn listening to or opening yourself up to what the other has to say. Such experiences, which I had many with Megan, are invaluable. Despite the brevity of lunchtime and the amount of people participating in the conversation on a club level, we wanted to create a space for the activity,” Lee said.  


For the 2023-2024 school year, the club focused on group discussions led by student presenters. “This year, we have run with student presentations. Every two months or so, we will have a vote on which topics we would like to discuss. The chosen topics are presented at each meeting by the members who proposed them. We present, question, and discuss ideas. Some of the topics our members presented this year are the following: societal effects of consumerism, ethics of xenotransplantation, conceivability of philosophical zombies, and ethics of human cloning,” Lee said.   


One of the discussions was led by junior Natalie Massengill, who presented on the conceivability of philosophical zombies. “The suggestion started as a joke, [but once] I started researching, [it] was pretty interesting. Philosophical zombies are a thought experiment, which is an experiment played out within the imagination, but something that is considered because when answered, it illuminates the answer to another. In this case, the answer relates to a mind or body problem or the question of how the body relates to the mind. A philosophical zombie is absolutely identical to a human, including behavior. The only distinction is that philosophical zombies have no consciousness. So given that definition, the question is whether they are conceivable,” Massengill said.  


Members of the Philosophy Club are looking forward to possible new additions in the future. “We would love to create a publication, assembling and editing student papers not only in the field of philosophy but also literature and politics. Symposiums presenting and critiquing those papers also sound awesome. During the club meetings, we are planning on watching public debates or inviting philosophy graduate students or professors outside of the school to speak to the club,” Lee said.  


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