Group Leader: Nick Pal
Meeting once a month, the group started by looking at Plato and Aristotle, including reading one of Plato’s dialogues; the Meno, in which a slave boy appears to have knowledge of mathematics! Plato was trying to show that some knowledge is innate in all humans, but the questioning in this piece gives rise to some mathematical thinking in the boy, a process which today we generally call education. Here Plato’s particular argument does not hold water, but even now psychologists and philosophers still debate how much of our knowledge could possibly be innate.
We discussed Plato’s Republic, one of the greatest books of all time, with which Plato becomes the first person in the world to set out a structure by which a polis, or state, could be governed.
We looked briefly at the form an argument should take and how to construct a syllogism.
The monthly topics are now driven by the members and what interests them. Recently we have been looking at social contract theory with people like Rousseau setting the seeds for the French Revolution and John Locke who is regarded by many as the ‘Father of Liberalism’.
For the next few meetings we will be constructing our own citizens’ contract, which may come in useful if we populate other planets in the universe!