By Sarah Richards
The Philosophy Club isn’t just a bunch of dusty old philosophers sitting around, discussing abstract ideas that don’t apply to everyday life, but are made up of students, still figuring it all out—students whose participation extends beyond the classroom.
Such activities include the United Way Day of Caring. In past years, the Philosophy Club has sponsored the One Billion Rising at Pensacola State College which brings attention to the issue of violence against women; currently, Active Minds has taken over sponsoring that, but they offer assistance in planning activities. They also sponsor a donation drive for Favor House in the spring semester. Helping other humans is part of the philosophy of the club. “It allows us to catch a glimpse of the lives of the others that we serve making us more aware of the human condition,” Dr. Matt Stanfill, History/Languages/Social Sciences Assistant Professor and advisor for the club along with Professor John Holder, said.
Philosophy is about asking questions.
Everyone has their own reasons for joining. Zachary Huot, a History major, said, “I took philosophy class senior year,” which he said was one-sided; he wanted to get reintroduced. “I read a lot of philosophy. I’m really into the world around me…it’s helped me understand how I think.”
Stanfill said, “I think that philosophy encourages everyone to be aware of our ideas (on a personal and group level) and provides tools so that we can evaluate the trustworthiness of those ideas. When we apply those tools to our own ideas and the ideas of others, we widen the scope of experience and opportunity. Thus enriching our lives.”
Jessica Leleux, the President of the club, who is majoring in paralegal studies, said, her high school teacher made her like the idea of philosophy. “I find it entertaining and I have free time, and it sounded like something fun,” Leleux said. The club isn’t just about learning, but having fun and connecting with others of diverse interests.
Shakespeare stated, “To thine own self be true,” but how do we find ourselves? Philosophy helps us get there by seeing the world through a different set of eyes. Sometimes, getting to know others, we get to know ourselves better.
The primary goal of the club is to “make an impact on the college and in the community…we want to represent it [PSC] well,” Professor John Holder, History/Languages/Philosophy
Assistant Professor, says. One of the club’s goals is “to explore new ideas and ways in which we can go about finding wisdom to live by…to help ourselves be better thinkers, work toward being better people.” Studying philosophy helps one become a better person by helping them “learn how to understand things even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.” (People, too.) “…Any discourse that encourages you to think clearly and ask questions is going to make you at least question why you do the things you do…it can lead to an epiphany as to why you do what you do.”
Diversity is celebrated in the club. “There is individuality…I am who I am because of my rearing, my environment, my biology, but I’m not only that…not everything is reducible to biology,” Holder said. We are more than the sum of our imperfect parts. “Excellence is something we can hope to achieve; perfectionism is not.”
For those interested in joining the Philosophy Club, contact Professor John Holder at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meetings are every Monday, 3:30-5:00, in Rm. 1444.