Cafe Philo in New York City in two weeks, Thursday, 11/4: Did William James kill Buridan's ass?
Cafe Philo in New York City will meet in two weeks, Thursday, November 4, 2010 with a discussion on the topic of "Did William James kill Buridan's ass?" The topic was suggested originally by Bernard Roy. It represents a philosophical conundrum about rational choice and whether William James resolved the conundrum. See the Wikipedia article on Buridan's ass for a summary of the conundrum, but not William James' solution.
The suggested topics for the upcoming meeting and their votes (out of 7 attendees):
- Does determinism entail predestination? (2)
- Why is rhetoric more appealing than reason? (3)
- Did William James kill Buridan's ass? (5) *
- What will be the most important elements shaping our future? (3)
- What is it that draws us to philosophy? (2)
- Would dueling have a salutary effect on society? (2)
- What is the relationship between philosophy and art? (4)
I have been acting as guest moderator lately. Bernard Roy has been attending as a participant.
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 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.
Also, there is an online discussion forum for the NYC Cafe Philo at:
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.