Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cafe Philo in New York City meets on Thursday, 2/25: Who are we, where are we going?

Cafe Philo in New York City will meet this week on Thursday, February 25, 2010 with a discussion on the topic of "Who are we, where are we going?"

This is a wide open question. Maybe it seems too broad, but it does capture the current feeling of many people being concerned that "we" are "off track." So, who is "we", and what "track" do we think "we" is supposed to be on, anyway?
Incidentally, "Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?" is the name of a famous painting by Paul Gauguin. In French, it was "D'où venons-nous? / Que sommes-nous? / Où allons-nous?" Apparently, that title may have derived from his earlier catechism questions of  "Where does humanity come from?", "Where is it going to?", and "How does humanity proceed?"
In any case, we will take our own Cafe Philo approach to considering the pair of questions.
I also had a recent blog post entitled "Notes on who we are, where we are going, progress, etc."

I have been acting as moderator lately. Bernard Roy has been attending recently as a participant, including last week for the discussion of "Is dissent a form of optimism?" We had 7 people in attendence last Thursday, including Bernard.

Catch up with preparatory online discussions in the Yahoo! group for Cafe Philo NYC.

As usual, the meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the back room at Bamiyan Restaurant (Afghan food) at the northwest corner of Third Avenue and 26th Street in New York City. In exchange for free meeting space, it is expected that each attendee will purchase a minimum of $5 of food or drink. A glass of red wine can be had for $6 (plus tax and tip.)

After winding down our discussion, we entertain and vote on proposals for the topic question for the next meeting.

There is also usually some number of attendees who go across the street to McCormack's Bar for drinks and food and extended discussion after Cafe Philo, but not limited to the scheduled discussion topic.

There are a number of small groups in the U.S. and Europe who meet regularly to discuss topics related to philosophy. Some of these groups go by the name "Cafe Philo." There is one here in New York City that meets every two weeks, every other Thursday. It is organized and moderated by Bernard Roy, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Each meeting focuses on a specific topic which was suggested and voted on by the participants at the last meeting.

Also, there is an online discussion forum for the NYC Cafe Philo at:

There is also a new web site for NYC Cafe Philowww.nycafephilo.org.

I have been attending the NYC Cafe Philo off and on since 2004. Previously I had attended the Cafe Philo in Washington, D.C. starting in 2001.

-- Jack Krupansky


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