Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Reminder: Cafe Philo in New York City this week, Thursday, 9/9: The value of being wrong

This is just a reminder that Cafe Philo in New York City will meet this week on Thursday, September 9, 2010 with a discussion on the topic of "The value of being wrong." Ron Gross suggested the topic and provided this description:

To err is human. Yet most of us go through life tacitly assuming (and sometimes noisily insisting) that we are right about nearly everything, from the origins of the universe to how to load the dishwasher. If being wrong is so natural, why are we all so bad at imagining that our beliefs could be mistaken -- and why do we typically react to our errors with surprise, denial, defensiveness and shame?

Why do  we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how does this attitude toward error effect  our relationships -- whether between family members, colleagues, neighbors, or nations?

In her recently-published and widely acclaimed book BEING WRONG, Kathryn Schulz  takes us on a fascinating tour of human fallibility (the gist of her book is available on her entertaining website, www.beingwrongbook.com, which also features  confessions about being wrong from renowned folks from every field, from Google's Peter Norvig to maverick food critic Anthony Bourdain).  Of course you can obtain other "takes" on her book by Googling "Being Wrong".

I have been acting as guest moderator lately. Bernard Roy has been attending this year as a participant, but is spending the summer in France, as usual.

As usual, the meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the back room at Bamiyan Afghan Restaurant 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 are also usually some attendees who go across the street to McCormack's Pub 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.

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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