With the holiday season upon us, the many clubs and councils on campus are put on hold until the new year, including the Philosophers’ Cafe, which had its last invigorating session earlier this month. Led by Mr. Jake Humphries, the club provides a casual atmosphere for interested students to come together to debate some of the questions that inquiring minds have examined for centuries.
“The discussions have a life of their own,” says Mr. Humphries, who earned his first degree in philosophy at the University of Victoria. The Philosophers’ Café at SMUS is part of a world-wide idea of the same name, which includes any and all opportunities for free debate and intellectual discovery by anyone interested in philosophical topics.
At their last session of the term, the students took on the question “Does the Universe have a Purpose?” In preparation, Mr. Humphries prepared a sampling of readings from the John Templeton Foundation which included perspectives from physicists, theologians and astrobiologists.
“The question itself is something that everyone would want to have an opinion on,” says Mr. Humphries.
As a discipline, philosophy is known for promoting critical thinking and analytical skill, through its requirements for articulating and dissecting complex arguments and ideas. Both Oxford and Cambridge have tripartite programmes that include philosophy as well as economics and political science.
If interest is high enough, Mr. Humphries would like to see a philosophy class come to the school, both to prepare students interested in these programmes and to open up the ideas of philosophy to all students.