Philosophy Club: community of critical thinking and listening

Baylor's Philosophy Club offers a place for deep thinkers to discuss interesting questions about life. Photo courtesy of CNBC

By Mariah Bennett | Staff Writer

Baylor’s Philosophy Club hosts meetings at 5 p.m. every Wednesday, mainly in Morrison 102. The organization was founded in fall 2019, but it was charted this semester.

Philosophy Club not only seeks to “enrich students’ academic understanding of philosophy” but also has the goal of creating a community of people invested in both critical thinking skills and listening skills. The organization currently has 30 official members.

Tyler senior and club founder Caitlin Banks said the club was present at Late Night and received an excited response.

“People were really excited to have an open place where they can talk about philosophy … a place where like-minded and different people could talk about philosophy with them,” Banks said.

In the past, the club has discussed topics like Nietzsche, comparisons of Aristotle to yoga philosophy and even Bo Burnham’s Netflix special “Inside.” These discussions have included professors, graduate students and chosen speakers who specialize in the topic.

Dr. Anne Marie Schultz — club adviser, philosophy professor and undergraduate program director — said that she was involved with an iteration of the club that existed at Baylor in the mid 90s and that the current club is extremely student-led.

“I think the student involvement level is much, much higher,” Schultz said. “This is a totally student-led group.”

In fact, iterations of the club have existed at Baylor multiple times throughout the years. The current iteration has received huge growth since its start in 2019.

“We used to be just eight of us upstairs in Morrison in a circle,” Banks said. “Now, we actually have to reserve a big classroom. It’s more than tripled.”

Banks said the club’s members include students studying finance, business, English and medical humanities.

“Just a lot of people who are critical thinkers who enjoy reading philosophy,” Banks said. “Or they just feel like sharing their thoughts with people — mainly just people who like to listen, talk and problem solve.”

But according to its connect, Philosophy Club isn’t just a student organization.

“It is a community of all kinds of different people united by the love of wisdom,” its Connect page reads.

Banks said the largest success of the club was its promotion and encouragement of understanding, kind conversation and listening — both inside and outside of Philosophy Club.

“We are encouraging people to be understanding of each other’s perspectives and willing to let their peers encourage them to think critically about their own opinions,” Banks said. “It’s also building strong relationships based on that practice of critical thinking.”

Banks said the friendships made when discussing philosophy was also a big success of the club.

“It really fulfills my heart to see people genuinely enjoying just having a discussion … where they can just forget about all the other stuff that they have to do, just talk philosophy for the sake of just philosophy,” Banks said.