Just ask the philosophy club, whose members not only expound on famous philosophers, but offer opinions on topics such as analytical philosophy, emotions and the concept of beauty.
“It’s the one place where ways of studying philosophy and thinking about the world actually get to interact with the things we are concerned about in ordinary life,” said Ben Pierce, a senior in philosophy and treasurer of the organization.
The club works with the Auburn chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, a philosophy honors society, and meets to discuss philosophy topics guided by speakers or students.
They also sponsor an ongoing film and philosophy series, where club members and their guests watch provoking films and discuss them.
“Recently, we just began philosophy club at the Gnu’s Room. This is an informal meeting in which a few students and professors discuss different topics,” said Amanda Hale,co-president and Auburn alumna.
Professors and GTAs, both from Auburn and other universities, are involved with the organization as well.
“The access we get to professors in our department and from other universities meet with us and explain what they’re up to,” Pierce said. “I certainly haven’t earned the privilege to discuss those things with a Ph.D. It’s an experience I never thought I’d get to have.”
The philosophy department brings in professors from other universities or has one of Auburn’s own professors deliver a speech on various philosophical topics several times a month.
The philosophy club gets the exclusive opportunity to meet with these speakers before the presentation to go over the background information and discuss the topic at hand.
Hale explained how these meetings and interactions with student and faculty build a close community in the philosophy department.
“I enjoy how involved in the club many of the students and faculty in the philosophy department are,” Hale said. “In the past, we have gone on trips together, had parties at professors’ homes, and eaten countless dinners together. During my time involved with the club over the past couple of years, I have learned nearly as much about philosophy as I did inside the classroom.”
Rob Wallis, co-president and a senior in philosophy and economics, also cited the close community as an important aspect of the organization, but said they are also working on reaching Auburn and the community at large.
“This semester we’ve been working on outreach, like going to high schools to run critical thinking workshops,” Wallis said.
Wallis also encouraged students outside of the philosophy department to attend meetings and participate in club activities.
“You don’t have to be a philosophy major to be involved, many students aren’t,” Wallis said.
The club meets every other week either to watch a film, interact with a speaker or informally discuss current and hot-button issues about which students are concerned.
The next event will be Friday, Sept. 18 with Michael Watkins, an Auburn professor lecturing on “Optimism and the Casual Theory of Properties.”
For more information visit http://media.cla.auburn.edu/philosophy/club.cfm.