Philosophical Society Open to All Students Who Like to Think, Discuss Life

Tori Gantz, Staff Writer, Journalism I

The Philosophical Society began with the dream of a passionate teacher and his enthusiastic students. It is the result of speculative individuals that sought philosophical exposure for more than 52 minutes a day.

 Mr. Chris Gray, philosophy instructor and Philosophical Society moderator, initially started the club to reflect on the question: Why are we here?

 “The general consensus was to be lovers of wisdom,” he said.

 As the great philosopher Socrates notes, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

 In the club Gray’s philosophy students are able to cultivate their own beliefs outside of the classroom.

 Despite the sophisticated name, Philosophical Society is non-exclusive, thus open to all NDA students who are connected to philosophy class.

 There is no class requirement. However, the club functions as a continuation of philosophy for students who do not have another year in the academic course itself.

 Gray emphasized, “The Philosophical Society is a co-curricular organization. What that means is its purpose is to supplement Philosophy class. Its primary function is to be an extension of the course.”

 In essence, if you are philosophical and can hold your own in the society– join.

 Co-president of the 2018 Philosophical Society, Payton Van Pelt, notes that “the extra year of coursework gives you a knowledgeable grounding in the stimulus and the discussions that we have.”

 The extracurricular could be overwhelming if you do not have the in-class experience.

 Topics of discussion include the self, rationalism vs. empiricism, freedom, the political man, phenomenology and religion.

 Philosophical Society offers many opportunities to achieve vision. Its primary concern is to “challenge students insofar as to understand that they are not the center of the universe,” said Gray.

 The club was built to help students understand that learning is not about what happens in the classroom; it’s what happens everyday throughout our lives.

 The real purpose of philosophy, according to members of the group, is a lifelong journey.

 Ireland Sweeney, 2017 co-president, said, “Philosophical Society was important to me and so many others because it was a place for freedom of expression–freedom of different ideas, perspectives and thoughts.”

 As a community of open-minded thinkers, the co-curricular allows for spontaneous experiences of learning through a broad range of intellectual activities.

 Each meeting differs based on the thought stimulus that has been prepared by Mr. Gray and the leadership staff.

 The co-presidents of the 2017 Philosophical Society are seniors Van Pelt and IB Diploma candidate Delaney Butterfield.

 “We make thinking an art in this club. People don’t always see thinking as important,” said Van Pelt, “but in Philosophical Society it is thought that we get creative with.”

 Although the elective course of philosophy will force students to grow as thinkers, NDA’s Philosophical Society encourages each individual to grow as a member of a clear-minded community.