Society diversity

Philosophy Society Increases Intellectual Engagement – ​​Old Gold & Black

As students pass through Tribble Hall and up the stairs to the third floor of Wing B, they can find the Wake Forest Philosophy Library, a square room lined with walls of books by philosophers from Plato to Immanuel Kant.

Windows open to both sides of the room, overlooking the Z. Smith Reynolds Library and Benson University Center, providing spacious views of Tribble Court. Every Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m., a soft glow fills the room as students gather for Braswell Philosophy Society meetings.

It is here that the spirit of Wake Forest University’s motto, Pro Humanitate, comes to life through philosophical discussions.

Gathering over meals of wings, pizza, or May-Way, Braswell garners a diversity of opinions and backgrounds with students from diverse racial, religious, and political backgrounds.

Students gather in a circle to discuss topics not only in the philosophical field, but also political and social issues such as capitalism, transgender rights, different religious and moral dilemmas in various areas of life.

Junior Jordan Bramley, president of Braswell, started coming to Braswell meetings his first year.

As president, part of his goal is to ensure that the leadership team, an elected group of students who lead the discussion and choose the weekly topics, remain on an equal footing with the members, encouraging a spirit of openness of speech.

Bramley is committed to ensuring that Braswell is a space where people can engage with philosophy in an open yet focused way, ensuring that philosophical terms and language are explained and understood in all gatherings.

“We spend most of our time trying to make sure that even if you’ve never taken a philosophy class or picked up a single philosophy book, you can at least follow what’s going on here,” Bramley said.

Grace Benfield, a freshman and engineering major, says Braswell encouraged her to think outside of her major and grow through conversations and weekly meetings.

“It’s a cold environment to talk about something that I’m definitely not used to,” Benfield said.

Part of the beauty and challenge of Braswell comes from the difficult discussions within the walls of the library, especially during a recent conversation regarding Greek life on campus.

Braswell participants, many of whom are affiliated with Greece, debated class, racial and gender discrimination in Greek life.

“It was quite a fruitful conversation. I thought it was an opportunity for us to look at the issues of convenience on campus,” Bramley said. “About 50% of Braswell members are at least somewhat Greek-affiliated. And even if it was, almost everyone agreed that it was [Greek Life] was not a good thing for students on our campus the way it is now.

Bramley continued: “There were obviously varying degrees of agreement, but most people agreed that Greek life is pretty bad. I think it was really interesting to watch the fact that we always don’t do anything, or often when we leave the room and come back to actively support it.

Braswell provides an introductory and practice space for beginners and those experienced in philosophical discussion, ensuring that philosophy is not only engaged outside the classroom, but applied to students in their everyday life.

“When we look internationally and globally, one of the most important parts of academia around the world — and throughout history — has been philosophy,” Bramley said. “It’s been a really foundational concept both in where the rest of our fields are going and in rewiring a lot of our fields.”

Bramley continued: “I think a lot of the fundamentals of philosophy are also very beneficial for learning to live…Especially in a place like Wake Forest, where everyone is very focused on how their life is going to unfold economically. , it’s really important to remember to focus on living well,” Bramley said.

Sophomore and frequent attendee Seth Reid finds meaning in Braswell’s safe and open chatting space.

“Braswell is meaningful to me because it provides a space where people can share ideas and talk about them,” Reid said. “And they can do that without getting mad at each other when they disagree. It also provides a space for people to learn from perspectives other than their own, which is badly needed in today’s world. »

Braswell is a space for those who are both new and experienced in philosophy. At Braswell meetings, executive and experienced philosophy students help lead the focus groups – with the goal of challenging and questioning ideas or topics that arise.

“Not everyone at the club is fully educated in philosophy, but there are enough people to keep the topics lined up and give people references on where they should go,” Bramley said.

Participants have the freedom to engage with each other by asking questions about philosophical terminology or simply asking for an example regarding a certain ideology of ethics or morality.

“I think in many ways, spreading awareness of philosophy, within a society, especially a community like ours, is really important to spreading the experience of living well and spreading the experience of compassion,” Bramley said. “Because most people need to examine their lives to be able to wear these things really effectively.”

Braswell plans to engage with the wider Wake Forest community by hosting the second annual Moral and Political Philosophy Conference in conjunction with the Wake Forest Philosophy Department on April 24.

Students across campus can submit papers relating to philosophy in a variety of disciplines drawing on—but not limited to—topics concerning the social and political, ethics, or even metaphysics. The selected articles will be shared during the conference and the authors are invited to present their articles in front of the participants.

Each participant selected for the conference will receive a monetary prize and the “best paper” prize. The winner will receive a prize of $100.

Submissions will be accepted until April 2 and decisions for conference selection will be announced April 12. The purpose of the conference is to engage student perspectives while encouraging philosophical discourse on campus.

Braswell is a community where students who may have different beliefs and come from very different backgrounds come together to be challenged, challenged and intellectually shaped.

“I think it’s really nice to have a place where you can come and discuss how you feel about things, how you want to participate in the world, what you want to be in the world, and still have the ability to talk about it in an engaged and educated way,” Bramley said.

Those interested in the Braswell Philosophy Society and the Moral and Political Philosophy Conference can email Jordan Bramley at [email protected]

The Braswell Philosophy Society meets at the Tribble Philosophy Library on the third floor on Thursday evenings from 7-8 p.m.