Philosophy Club

The Student Philosophical Society



Next Meeting

Thursday September 18 in MAK B1-118!

Topic: Freedom of Speech and Civility

Topic: Free Speech within the University

Description: At Philosophy Club this week we will be discussing the topic of free speech in the university setting and the relationship of free speech to civil speech and civility. We will talk about the line between acceptable discourse and intimidating speech by faculty at a university, as well the potential implications this has for a university as a space allowing for multiple opinions. We will begin our discussion with the University of Illinois's recent un-hiring of Professor Steven Salaita on the basis of inflammatory remarks he made on his online Twitter account, but use this as an opportunity to consider the general educational and moral principles involved. 

This will likely include discussions of:

(i) The differences between free speech and hate speech;

(ii) An overview of J.S. Mill's Harm Principle as it pertains to hate speech;

(iii) The role of the university in the public life to allow for disparate opinions;

(iv) What role should faculty members play both within and outside of the classroom?

(v) Should any speech act be prohibited at or by a university?

Please note: there are some recommended but by no means required readings below. Also, YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A PHILOSOPHY MAJOR TO ATTEND. Interest in the topic of discussion is sufficient!

Links to relevant information (optional): 

(1) The New York Times article on the Salaita and University of Illinois story:

(2) An article from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Freedom of Speech (See especially the section Mill's Harm Principle and Hate Speech):




The Philosophy Club's regular meetings for fall 2014 will be

Thursdays from 5:30-7:00 PM in MAK B1-118!



The Philosophical Society of Grand Valley State University is a student organization that meets weekly to discuss philosophy and issues related to philosophy. The meetings are informal and everyone is welcome to attend Philosophical Society meetings. No special background in philosophy is required and it’s OK to just come for part of a meeting if that’s all that your schedule allows.

During the fall 2014 semester the Philosophy Club will be holding its regular meetings on Thursdays beginning at 5:30pm in Mackinac Hall B1-118 on the Allendale Campus. When there is a reading for a meeting it will be available in the Philosophy Main Office: Mackinac Hall B3-105. When we have a guest speaker meetings will be held on Fridays from 10:30 – 11:50 AM in Mackinac Hall B1-128. For this fall, speakers include:

* David Danks of Carnegie Mellon University on “Ethics of Mass Surveillance in the Electronic Age”, Friday September 26.
* Rachel Zuckert of Northwestern University on Kant and Aesthetics, Friday October 3.

* Christopher Shields of Notre Dame on Ancient Philosophy, in particular Aristotle, Friday November 21.

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Philosophy Club Fall 2014: Tentative Meeting and Topic Schedule


11th, Thursday-Kick off meeting, Introductions

18th, Thursday- TBA

**26th Friday-

10:30-11:50 David Danks of Carnegie Mellon University meeting with the Philosophy Club
 3:00  Danks Colloquium- “Ethics of Mass Surveillance in the Electronic Age”,


**3rd, Friday-

10:30-11:50 Rachel Zuckert of Northwestern University meeting with the Philosophy Club

3:00 Zuckert Colloquium- Kant and Aesthetics

9th, Thursday- Aesthetics/ ArtPrize Night: GVSU Professors’ guest lectures

16th, Thursday- TBA

23rd, Thursday- Philosophy and Political Science: Forerunner to Fukuyama lecture.


**6th, Thursday- Off campus: Francis Fukuyama Lecture 7:00 PM L.V. Eberhard Center, 2nd Floor, Pew Campus

**14th, Friday- TBA

10:30-11:50 Christopher Shields of Notre Dame meeting with the Philosophy Club
 3:00  Shields Colloquium- Ancient Philosophy, in particular Aristotle

20th, Thursday- Philosophy and Psychology

27th, Thursday- Thanksgiving Day, no meeting


4th, Thursday- Last Meeting before Christmas- Off-campus.

** denotes special meeting times. We will not meet at the regularly scheduled Thursday time on these weeks.


Page last modified September 16, 2014