Unlike the discussions of the seminar room, or the study of reading groups, or the more formal presentations of the Colloquium, all of which tend toward narrower, more specific treatments of rather select topics, the Grove hopes to carve a place for conversations, for graduate students in philosophy and other fields, of a scope at once more general and—so it is hoped—more fundamental. Rather than setting itself to a particular text or line of analysis, the forum provides a place for regular conversation on topics and questions of the broadest import, spanning the disciplines of the sciences and the humanities, and without prejudice to any one field of study.
What We Discuss
The topics and themes for questions are, of course, up for suggestion, but below you will find a list of some of the kinds of questions (not exhaustive) currently being contemplated for discussion.
- Was “modernity” a mistake?
- Is political theory absent a “metaphysics” possible?
- Is there ever really a text (or author)?
- Is the natural world made or found?
- Can anything actually be lost in translation?
- Is the notion of “subjectivity” simply confused?
- Are the worries of the philosophy of language worth the trouble?
- Is philosophy the “queen of the sciences,” and ought it to be?
Although questions are ultimately selected by members of the Hammond Society, they are ordinarily up for deliberation by interested participants, who are encouraged to suggest and criticize choices as they like.
How We Discuss
Meetings of the Grove are assembled around a solitary question, usually worded somewhat laconically and loosely, and given at least a week in advance of each meeting (or with ample enough notice for consideration before the meeting). Because asked so broadly—“Is the object of science discovery or mastery?”, for example, or “Is ‘Being’ ever a legitimate subject of study?”—participants are at liberty to think through and pursue the question chosen for that week in whatever way and direction they think fit, relying on arguments and inspirations of any kind. There are, as a general rule, no introductory remarks given, nor any expectations of prior readings or study, and only slight moderation (for the sake of time, if needed).
Meetings are always open to all graduate students—and not necessarily just at Hopkins—and, when possible, light food and drink will be provided before and during discussions.
Schedule of Discussions