Some may consider philosophy to be a quest for wisdom, or a pursuit of knowledge. In reality, it is simply the act of thinking. At Ouachita Baptist University, this ancient activity is encouraged by the Philosophy Club. The organization, which is open to all Ouachita students, is dedicated to promoting philosophical thought and deep thinking on campus.
“Philosophy Club is a registered OBU club that seeks to create an environment where free, analytical and critical thinking can be proliferated on a variety of topics,” said Al Lashley, president of the Philosophy Club. “Philosophy as a whole is translated in Greek as the love of wisdom.”
The Philosophy Club strives to accomplish the ultimate goal of bringing together students from all disciplines and majors in order facilitate open-minded discussions. These discussions not only promote alternate perspectives, but they encourage critical thinking in a judgement free zone. There are no limits to the club’s discussions.
New topics are introduced at each meeting, and the subjects are suggested by one of the ten club members.
“As long as people can speak there will be people ready to listen,” Lashley said. “The atmosphere is one of learning and the notion of being unteachable is not a part of the club at all.
The idea of philosophy dates back centuries, and some may recognize the names of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates among the great philosophers. While students may connect philosophy to their history classes, philosophers are still present today, thinking of new topics and ideas to share with the world.
“Unfortunately there is a stigma surrounding philosophy that it is a pretentious and outdated discipline, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Lashley said. “Philosophy, and the club, wants to answer the questions that are at the furthest reaches of one’s mind and within the human condition as a whole.”
When it comes to philosophy, it is important to note that the major theme of this activity is to ask questions. The main goal is not necessarily to answer the question, but to exercise your mind trying to obtain a conclusion.
“It is more often the case that no answers are reached at all, but it is in the asking of the question that growth is obtained and perspective gained,” Lashley said.
Philosophy majors may find this club particularly interesting, but students of all majors and classifications can benefit from the world of philosophy. This club is beneficial to all students ranging from freshman looking for a group to help build relationships to seniors looking for some lasting insight before graduation.
“As a freshman the idea of having an avenue to grow and learn from my peers seemed invaluable. Little did I know, it would be more than that,” Lashley said. “It gave me an academic niche that I could be proud of, and it helped to promote the need for knowledge in my own life.”
For those looking for a club that does not require a high level of commitment, Philosophy Club offers the perfect outlet. Members meet once a week, usually on Tuesday, but days are subject to change based on everyone’s schedule. Meetings are held in the Berry Bible Building Loft or the president of the club’s apartment. The gathering provides a relaxed environment, along with snacks and drinks.
Faculty sponsors include; Matt Douglas, assistant to vice president for academic affairs; Byron Eubanks, department of philosophy chair and Tully Borland, assistant professor of philosophy. It is not uncommon for these sponsors to sit in on a discussion and offer diverse perspectives, insight and wisdom.
At Ouachita, it is strongly encouraged to establish relationships with mentors. There is no limit to the wealth of information students can learn from someone who has experienced the season of life they are about to endure. Philosophy Club provides a venue where students can talk about the numerous questions of life among seasoned professors.
“This club actively seeks to better its members and to facilitate growth,” Lashley said. “It’s amazing what simple philosophical conversation can do for one’s mental state.”
The Philosophy Club’s involvement is mainly internal this semester, but members are hoping to provide campus wide events such as intellectual movie nights.
Philosophy Club provides a place for students to challenge their deepest thoughts and talk about them alongside their peers and mentors. It is important to step outside of the classroom norms, and discuss topics that are not always common.
“Philosophy Club challenges people to better themselves for the love of wisdom,” Lashley said. “It is simply, to gain perspective.”
For more information about Philosophy Club, contact Al Lashley at email@example.com.
By Ali Kinsey