10/18 Update!

Hello, well-kneaded friends and family! Every week I become qualitatively sleepier. I have a few updates, and I’m going to number them so navigating between each is easier.

1) We will be meeting this Thursday (10/18), 3PM-4:20PM, at KH C2096A. We’ve spent many weeks talking about AI, and so we’re shifting topic. Hayley will be presenting on “Awesome Kabbalistic Sex, Six Genders, and Consent: Sex and Sexuality through the Jewish Lens.” Here’s her own description of the presentation: “At its best, we tend to believe that religion is silent on issues of sex, sexuality, and gender identity. At its worst, we believe it demonizes sexuality; treating the subject as shameful or taboo. This “no-holds barred” conversation about sex, sexuality, and gender identity will utilize stories from the Hebrew Bible, laws of the Talmud, and the Esoteric Wisdom Kabbalah to weave together an understanding of sensuality from the Jewish perspective.” There are no readings for this week; just come prepared to think new things!

2) Our own Mark Balaguer’s going to give a presentation at the Math Club on the philosophy of mathematics! It’ll be this Wednesday (10/17), 3:15-4:15PM, in the Math Conference Room in Simpson Tower. Mark will talk about what kinds of theories philosophers of mathematics put forward, about the methodology of philosophy of mathematics, about the relationship between mathematics and the philosophy of mathematics, and about probability. Go support him, and go learn more about math! Math is good. Trust me.

3) The AI debate happened on October 11th last week, and it went well! Thank you to all of you who came and participated. You’ll notice that there was no email update about the AI debate; for whatever reason, Gmail decided to block all my attempts at sending the email out, and I’m not sure why. I’m ready to file a Title IX complaint. Hopefully the same issue won’t haunt me next semester for the next installment of the AI debate: do robots have rights? Anyway, the AI debate was recorded, and we’ll try and put that up on Youtube soon so that you can watch from home.

I’m going to now send my soul to sleep. She needs rest.

Best,
Sakib

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10/4 Meeting!

Good evening, nocturnal and diurnal friends and family! What’s your opinion on sweat? I’m curious.

We will be meeting this Thursday (10/4), 3PM-4:20PM, at KH C2096A. Continuing our discussion from last week, we’ll be getting more into the nitty gritty of philosophical issues of AI and consciousness. Searle’s Chinese room thought experiment was brought up last week, and we discussed it in the context of trying to define just what consciousness is. So, we’ll be looking at that thought experiment and one of Dennett’s responses to it this upcoming Thursday. I’ve attached the relevant papers to this message. This way, we can try working with a specific concept of consciousness, and we’ll have a better time evaluating it (positively or negatively). Again, we’ll be having another group discussion, so try your best to come prepared with the material! Don’t fret if you cannot; it’s midterm season, and I’m also sending out this message later than usual. I’ll give an overview of both papers on Thursday so that we can get a discussion started between all of us. Just be ready to think!

I just hate the fact that our skin produces saltwater to such a great degree. This shouldn’t be allowed. I wish I could be a sweatless, ensouled sack of meat.

Best,
Sakib

9/27 Meeting!

Hello, bold and brassy friends and family! I’m currently having a really spicy lunch at the library basement.

Some of my email audience members already know of this because word of mouth spreads quickly, but we have a cool, big AI debate event coming up that we’re co-sponsoring with the Philosophy department! I won’t include many details here, because I want to reserve a proper post for it. However, do save the event details! It will be on October 11th, 2018, from 3PM-5:30PM, in the University Student Union, Los Angeles Room C. Stay tuned for more details in a future post!

Because of this upcoming event, we are gonna spend the next couple weeks talking about AI! We will be meeting this Thursday (9/27), 3PM-4:20PM, at KH C2096A. We’ll be holding a group discussion on AI; in particular, we’ll look at positive arguments in favor of the existence of artificial intelligence. Last week’s group discussion went really well, so I’m real excited for this next one! I am attaching some resources for you to peruse according to your own will. Linked are the SEP page on artificial intelligence and the IEP page on artificial intelligence. These both have nice overviews of arguments on any side regarding AI. I am also attaching Alan Turing’s paper “Computing Machinery and Intelligence (1950),” which may be interesting to read before the meeting if you have extra free time.

That’s all! I still haven’t finished my spicy lunch. This curry rice is really good.

Best,
Sakib

9/20 Meeting Update!

Hello, mitochondrial friends and family! I’m starting to run out of adjectives to insert before friends and family.

We’ll be meeting this Thursday (9/20), 3PM-4:20PM, at KH C2096A. Mark brought up an idea he had concerning how we can go about teaching philosophy to kids earlier than when they usually first learn about philosophy. So, we’ll be holding a group discussion on teaching philosophy to kids earlier than when they usually first learn about philosophy! All of us are going to come to the meeting with one idea for how to go about teaching philosophy to younger folks. No required readings this time; just brainstorm before you get to the meeting!

Despite me JUST saying there won’t be readings this time, I am attaching a link to the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO) web page. PLATO offers many resources and lesson plans for those who want to talk about philosophy with younger students. They specialize their lesson plans in terms of grade level as well; there are lessons intended for students in elementary school and high school alike. You get the gist. It’s a cool resource for anyone interested in teaching philosophy! Peruse the site if you’re interested. Peruse is a weird word.

That’s all for now! In the immortal words of Dinco D, base in the space means peace, see ya later!

Best,
Sakib

9/13 Meeting Update!

Hello, electrically well-grounded friends and family! Your weekly club meeting update is finally here.

We will be meeting this Thursday (9/13), 3PM-4:20PM, at KH C2096A. Sakib (who is she?) will be talking about two different ways of watching movies, using Ryan Coogler’s movies Black Panther (2018) and Fruitvale Station (2013) as reference points. Sakib will talk about how there seem to be two philosophically-distinct tendencies regarding watching movies: 1) assigning meanings to a movie such that the movie is made to represent something outside it, and 2) taking in the movie literally and making sense of it in terms of its parts and internal logic.

Most people have seen Black Panther by now, so most people don’t have to do any movie homework! You should watch Fruitvale Station whenever you get the chance, whether before or after the meeting; I highly recommend it. You will likely cry, so be warned. I’ve attached a short interview done with Gilles Deleuze titled “Portrait of the Philosopher as a Moviegoer,” where Deleuze briefly discusses the above tendencies. If you have the time, do read it before the meeting. Don’t worry if you can’t get to it; Sakib will both go over the basics of the interview on Thursday and bring in some other supplementary content for the discussion.

That’s all for now! Be sure to always say hello to your local trees and plant-life.

Best,
Sakib
PS: But really, who is she?

9/6 Meeting Update!

Hello, necessary and contingent friends and family! I have a few updates for you.

1) We’ve brainstormed many themes for the semester! Said many themes include Philosophy and Film (which will be the theme that we start with!), Philosophy and Feminism, Philosophy and Religion, Philosophy and AI, Morality and Ethics, Political Philosophy, and whether or not Islamic philosophy is a thing (We all think it is, but can we really be sure?).

(If you’re concerned about the political correctness of that joke, note that this is a reference to a joke made last meeting; furthermore, I don’t actually think the existence of Islamic philosophy is in any serious doubt. If you are in doubt about the existence or legitimacy of Islamic philosophy, here are some links to get you started on learning about Islamic philosophy).

As I mentioned, we’ll start with Philosophy and Film as our first theme, and we’ll do that for three weeks. Rather than set the themes in stone for the rest of the semester, all of us at the last meeting agreed it would be better to play it by ear and collectively figure out what themes to do next as we go.
Speaking of starting with Philosophy and Film as our first theme,
2) We will be meeting this Thursday, 3PM-4:20PM, at KH C2096A. Jacee will be presenting on the representation of angels in Win Wenders’ film, Wings of Desire. Applying Kant’s moral theory of the categorical imperative to this representation, Jacee will show how the angels of Wings of Desire ethically violate humanity by the ways they interact with humans. Exciting stuff, hopefully no matter how you feel about angels!
I’ve attached the paper Jacee is basing this presentation on here: Wings of Desire and Kant. I’ve also attached a NY Times Critics Choice video on Wings of Desire that explains the plot of the movie pretty well. It’s only four minutes, so watch it if you can! We will still watch the video at the beginning of the meeting so that everyone’s in the loop.
Tangentially speaking of everyone being in the loop,
3) We’re excited to announce the CSULA Philosophy Club Forums! One of our club members, Hayley Silvers, has been working on creating a space where we can keep discussing unfinished topics that came up during meetings and other philosophy-related stuff online. It would also be a place where we could post summaries of what happened during the meetings, because I know there are quite a few people who want to be at the meetings but cannot because of other obligations. That way, you can also participate in the discussion!
I know we already have our WordPress page, and though WordPress is good for updates and general information, it doesn’t lend itself as easily to discussion. We won’t be taking the WordPress page down! However, we want to try and see whether the forums end up being a nice thing to have for club members, both those still attending CSULA and those who’ve graduated, moved on, or ran away. Do sign up on the forums! You only need a name and email and password, and you won’t receive a bunch of trash notification emails. I’m excited for this!
Speaking of being excited for this,
4) We had many members attending last meeting! It’s the most packed a club meeting has been in a few years. We have exciting themes and events coming up (events that I will write about in a separate, future, not-too-far-away update), and so I want to say, please spread the word about the club! Tell your friends, peers, and anyone you think would be excited and interested in this about it. We’d like more people to know there’s a space to talk about theory and philosophy on campus, especially people outside the philosophy department. Again, spread the word! Invite your friends, and bring them along to the meetings! We’ll have a lovely time.
Speaking of having a lovely time,
5) I hope you had a lovely Labor Day weekend! If you’re working but didn’t have the day off, I hope you got a bonus for working on Labor Day!
Best,
Sakib

Meeting 2/13 + ACP Reading Group + Gentrification + OOO

This Tuesday we’ll be meeting in KH B2011 @3:00.

Fernando will give a short presentation on Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks.

Please read the introduction.​

Timothy Morton will be coming to speak on his book Humankind: Solidarity With Non-Human People on 4/13/18. In anticipation, the ACP will be hosing two reading groups. One is this Friday.
Reading Group

I also urge you all to attend GENTRIFICATION, INDIGENEITY, AND GENDER this Thursday.
Gentrification, Indigeneity, and Gender

Lastly, I wanted to give you a heads up Graham Harman’s lecture Wednesday, February 21, 2018. (I don’t expect Zizek to be there and derail the conversation on Harman’s Object Oriented Ontology as he did last time.)
Nonhumans In/As Human Social Space
Have a great week