Philosophy Club delves into thought

Graphic+by+Caroline+Dinh
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Philosophy Club delves into thought

Graphic by Caroline Dinh

Graphic by Caroline Dinh

Graphic by Caroline Dinh

Graphic by Caroline Dinh

Paris Ye, Features Writer

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During their Thursday lunches, students gather in room 220 to discuss texts from classical philosophers and expand their view of the world. This is not a study session initiated by a teacher or a requirement for a class, but rather a club created by fellow RM students.

Senior Nestor Aranibar, junior Justin Posner, and junior Reed Foley founded the philosophy club to address the absence of clubs that discussed their common interest: philosophy. “Justin and I would always read philosophy together, and we noticed that there wasn’t a club, that there wasn’t a space for people to develop this skill that philosophy gives to us, you know, critical thinking, ways of analyzing stuff,” Aranibar said. 

Although there were previous iterations of this club at RM, they wanted to create a philosophy club that was specifically more inclusive and accessible to beginners. “The club was never about Justin and I, it was always about reaching for more people, making it something for everyone to enjoy,” Aranibar said. The people have become one of Aranibar’s favorite aspects of the club saying, “What I love most about [the philosophy club] is being able to interact with everyone. And I also have to have an excuse to read more philosophy.”

During their club meetings, they read texts from classical philosophers such as the Apology of Socrates and the Republic by Plato, and then they discuss philosophical concepts in relation with the text. Freshman Jake Lee, a new member of the club, especially enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the club: “Philosophy Club is definitely a better way of thinking about what we know and don’t know, rather than just doing it all on our own.”

Lee discovered and joined the philosophy club to satisfy his long-time curiosity of philosophy. Despite this, he believes that anyone could enjoy and reap the benefits of discussing philosophy. “I think that others that might not even be as interested in philosophy should join, simply because of the reflection and thought that goes into really understanding how it is that we live in our society,” Lee said.

Philosophy Club is definitely a better way of thinking about what we know and don’t know, rather than just doing it all on our own.”

— Jake Lee

To ensure the analyses of the text are discussions rather than leaving the focus on the founders or sponsor, members of the club are able to conduct the discussion themselves and change the direction of the conversation. “Students are going to be able themselves to pose [philosophical] questions—in other words, it’s not just going to be me or Nestor or Mr. Posner or Reed or any one person, but that the process of questioning is going to be shared, and that there will be an opportunity for that,” Robert Thomas, their club sponsor, said.

Mr. Thomas volunteers his Thursdays to help direct these discussions and help solicit a diverse range of perspectives within the student conversation. “I really enjoy working with young people and exploring these ideas with them, which is a very great pleasure. The process always allows anyone engaged in it to grow, and I include myself in that category,” Mr. Thomas said.

This club originated last year, but the stark differences between the two years make the club essentially new. “I think that if you were to compare the club last year with the club right now, you could even consider them two different clubs because last year, we didn’t do our fair share of marketing, so we had like five people. But this year, by our first meeting we had a little bit over 20 people,” Aranibar said.

Today, the reinvigorated club allows RM students to listen and contribute to a community of diverse voices, united over a common love of wisdom. To those who want to join, Aranibar said, “You can always come to our club meetings and we’ll welcome you … we would enjoy it if more people would try and self discover themselves a little bit more.”