Philosophy roundtable provides chance to connect with “sibling” campus

By Miranda Parrish

Elm Staff Writer

The Department of Philosophy and Religion and the Philosophy Club hosted a philosophy roundtable event on Wednesday, Nov. 9 in the Sophie Kerr Room in the Clifton M. Miller Library. 

The event included faculty, students, and several tutors from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md. 

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Interim Director of Justice, Law, and Society Dr. Matthew McCabe was one of the facilitators for the event. 

“[The purpose of the event is] to bring folks from all walks of college life together for a thoughtful and insightful discussion of a historically and philosophically significant reading. Every person’s contribution enriches the experience of the whole group. I think it also informs folks about our sibling college across the Bay and what they do over there,” Dr. McCabe said. 

The piece discussed this year was a debate transcript between William Buckley and James Baldwin in 1965 at the Cambridge Union in England. The proposed debate topic was that the American Dream came at the expense of African Americans. 

According to an email sent out by Dr. McCabe on Oct. 27, the text is intended to prompt questions of “metaphysics, ethics and social justice.” 

Dr. McCabe said that he feels having these discussions allow different populations to be heard. All Washington College students, staff, and faculty were welcome to attend, and attendees had equal opportunities to participate in discussion. 

“The roundtable is really unlike the standard ‘invited speaker’ type event. There is no lecturing, it is strictly dialogue where everyone’s participation and contribution to the discussion is encouraged and valued,” Dr. McCabe said. 

According to Dr. McCabe, the event gives the ability to share perspectives, as well as connect students to faculty from different departments.  

The first roundtable was hosted in 2003, when Tom May from St. John’s College visited. The other host, Matthew Holtzman, joined in 2013.

The recurring event has withstood the classes of now graduated students, which also displays a sample of teachings that the Department of Philosophy and Religion focuses on. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *