Students create Philosophy Club

The Philosophy Club is a new Registered Student Organization at UNA that meets biweekly to bring students in all fields together to discuss broad topics in philosophy.

Philosophy is useful for everyone because it provides a chance to form beliefs on various topics, said Philosophy Club President Christopher Jackson.

“You learn to exercise your own argument,” he said.

The club covers topics from eternal life to capitalism, Jackson said.

The group meets every other Tuesday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Room 200 of the Guillot University Center and will meet Nov. 22 to discuss capitalism, Jackson said.

The club will continue to meet at the same time and place when school resumes in the spring semester. The final meeting before Christmas Break will be Dec. 6.

Having a place for students to discuss difficult topics is a good idea, said freshman Kat Hall.

“As long as everyone feels like their opinions are appreciated, I think it’s great,” Hall said.

A background in philosophy is not necessary to contribute to discussions, Jackson said. The club tries to avoid terms only those with philosophy knowledge would understand.

“All you need is an opinion,” he said.

At the end of every meeting, members suggest topics for the next, Jackson said. Members vote on topics after professors help them turn the topic into a question.

One thing setting the Philosophy Club apart from other RSOs is how involved the professors are, Jackson said.

“They really just gave us tips on what to do to keep the group going,” Jackson said. “They have been very supportive.”

Associate Professor of Philosophy Matthew Fitzsimmons said the group provides students with a chance to voice their opinions.

“The Philosophy Club is a great opportunity for students to come together and have a spirited and thought-provoking discussion about issues relevant to their lives,” Fitzsimmons said.

The club began when philosophy students started meeting after class to discuss various topics, he said.

Jackson said he decided to turn the group into an official campus organization because of his familiarity with the UNA RSO system through his involvement with the Secular Student Alliance.

The club started meeting spring 2016, but they were not an official university RSO until fall 2016, Jackson said.

In the past, before the Philosophy Club was an official organization, it was only available to those pursuing a philosophy minor, but now any student can join, Jackson said.

The Philosophy Club hopes having biweekly discussions will encourage more students to become involved in philosophy. They hope this leads to the department eventually offering a major in philosophy, Jackson said.

“The biggest hurdle to getting a philosophy major on campus is the number of students enrolled in the program (for the minor),” Fitzsimmons said. “We would have to see the number of students minoring in philosophy to double, perhaps even triple, before a major could be a viable option.”

The Philosophy Department currently consists of 10 to 12 students pursuing a philosophy minor and two professors. The department is like a family because of their small numbers, Jackson said.