Cal State LA’s philosophy club invites students from all majors

Students don’t have to be philosophers to attend Cal State LA’s philosophy club meetings. In fact,  club President Edie Markovich says their space is an open-environment where all students are welcome.

The club hopes to collaborate with other clubs and majors because Markovich said philosophy can be combined with different subjects.

“Philosophy can be a very niche subject so we’re trying to extend it to other clubs or other departments,” Markovich said. “Philosophy intertwined with different subjects can really bring something new to the table.”

During meetings, they have philosophical discussions, bring in speakers and open up their discussions to students who are both familiar and unfamiliar with philosophy.

The club meets every Thursday at 3 p.m. Meetings are held in the department library in the engineering and technology building or in a graduate room in the library. They don’t have a strict schedule, according to Markovich.

Eric Phipps, a club member and philosophy major, said that he enjoys attending the meetings because it allows him to apply the theories he learns in class to a discussion with other members. His classes are ‘reading-heavy’ and focus on learning theories, rather than discussing them with classmates.

Phipps explained he likes philosophy because it can be applied to all subjects.

According to him, Socrates, Plato and other ancient philosophers often come up in the club’s talks. They have also discussed French philosopher, Gilles Deleuze.

“We’re trying to establish an official Minorities and Philosophy chapter here which hasn’t been done before,” said Markovich. Last week, their club meeting focused on the subject.

 “It’s an opportunity to advocate for people of all different backgrounds,” said Phipps.

Phipps said the club wants to question the issues that keep minorities out of participating in philosophical discourse. They plan to read Fredrick Douglas as philosophy and would also like to review work by Latin-American philosophers.

Last semester, the club worked on the “Get Out the Vote” campaign with the College of Arts and Letters. The on-campus event was held to encourage Golden Eagles to go out and cast their vote during the election.

Students, philosophers and faculty members bring in their work to club meetings and open themselves up to critique. Markovich said this helps to get an opinion from those who are unfamiliar with philosophy and  it “helps writers establish a firmer grasp on what they’re trying to say.”

“Those who share their work appreciate opinions from both the general audience and philosophy experts,” Markovich added. “We usually co-sponsor lectures or events that the department itself is hosting but we’re trying to establish more concrete lectures and talks.”

In March, feminist philosopher Andrea Pitts came in to discuss issues surrounding incarceration and advocated for Latina activists, according to Phipps. In May 2022, Australian philosopher David J. Chalmers gave a talk on the metaverse. Phipps said his favorite lecture hosted by the club was the talk Pitts gave.

If you’re interested in learning more about Cal State LA’s philosophy club, students, faculty and staff can contact Markovich by emailing [email protected] or by messaging the club’s Instagram, @csulaphilosophyclub.