The Fresno State Philosophy Club meets every Thursday at 2 p.m. in “The Phil Zone” (Music 104) and discusses a variety of philosophical, religious, and legal topics and issues. Every Fresno State student, regardless of major, can join the club — or attend the club’s events and meetings. A theme, readings, and questions for each session are written on a whiteboard so that engaged students can prepare. However, the discussion is open to all attendees and visitors want to participate will likely find ways to engage.
“Philosophy Club is an academic club geared towards creating a space for inquisitive minds to engage in philosophical discourse and connect students who share the same interests,” said Daisy Underhill, Philosophy Club president. “We hold a weekly meeting revolving around a topic a student or faculty member presents, and then we discuss it.”
Debate and discussion lie at the center of the humanistic development. Students taking time to meet outside of a classroom setting to engage in discourse impacts their lives beyond the borders of the university. It shapes and hones the development of the mind, creating humanists who are sharper, confident, and passionate.
“As the Faculty Advisor, I can attest to the various ways in which Philosophy Club improves the students’ public speaking and intellectual creativity skills,” said Dr. James Rocha. “By engaging in philosophical debates with each other or by collaboratively engaging on abstract projects together — whether it is to determine the meaning behind some theoretical concept or to engage with and try to resolve some problematic tension in texts or theories — the students in Philosophy Club help each other improve as analytical thinkers.”
For the last two years, the philosophy club has attended the Pacific Coast conference of the American Philosophy Association (APA). Each conference featured over 100 sessions and gave club members the opportunity to connect with professionals in the field and foster networking skills.
For Spring 2019, the club hopes to take it a step further by attending the APA Central Conference in Denver.
“The APA is a national professional conference that promotes the professional development of philosophers at all levels to foster greater understanding and appreciation of the value of philosophical inquiry,” said Underhill.
Attending these events has inspired the club to help organize their own conference. In Fall 2019, the club is teaming up with Fresno City College to organize and host the Central Valley Philosophy Association Conference.
“It’s similar to the APA conference, but on a local level that encompasses the San Joaquin Valley,” said Underhill.
The Fresno State Philosophy Club was established in 1985 as a safe place for students to engage in philosophical discourse.