As the Fall semester began, the very existence of the Philosophical Society was in doubt. Today, however, the Society is making a big splash as one of the most involved student groups on campus.
Standing room only
The Oct. 1 debate on abortion, like all the Society debates so far, saw a great turnout with standing room only. Students and faculty gathered for a discussion on the morality of abortion that was both profound and civil.
"The event was a great success!" said Society Secretary Megan Mosley, who opened that night defending the "pro-life" position.
"Everyone was surprised at how we could take such a controversial topic and make logical and understandable arguments about it, especially when this particular topic can cause such extreme emotions," said Mosely, "Many people don't realize that there are strong, logical, factual reasons to support a pro-life position, and it was a huge honor to present some of these arguments to the students at AWC."
"I found the experience very exciting," said Society Vice President Rosalba Medina, who offered a critique of Mosley's view at the event. "I learned a little bit more about myself during the research process of this debate.
"I think the thing that worried me the most was the Q and A section of the debate," said Medina, adding that "it is hard to prepare for the unknown. I tried to learn the most I could about the subject at hand so that I could answer whichever question was thrown at me."
Dressing the part
On Oct. 31 outside of Starbucks on campus, Rafael Encinas and Haggeo Cadenas held a humorous and intellectually rigorous debate on whether morality is real. Since Rafael was arguing that morality does not exist, he dressed up as a devil; Haggeo, arguing for morality, dressed up as an angel.
At one point, when the wind was working against Haggeo and blowing his wings around, he said "I've been touched by an angel" in reference to the popular TV show.
"Haggeo was well rehearsed," Encinas said. "There was real passion behind his points.
"During the question and response portion of the debate, the audience had insightful questions and seemed very engaged," he added. "I felt no negativity. This is important, for it showcases how individuals can have a respectful dialogue in all facets of academic thought and inquiry."
The Philosophical Society has never been so vibrant. November is expected to see a debate on whether the soul exists, and the Society is considering repeating the above mentioned debates during Family Night on the 21st of the month. Also, at the meetings this month guests will speak on evolution and creation.
Those who enjoy thinking about life's deepest questions with respectful peers, are invited to attend any meeting or debates, or like the Facebook page @awcphilosophicalsociety.
"AWC has proven its scholarly atmosphere by coming to our controversial debates, keeping the uncivil emotions out and addressing the issues with an open mind," says Cadenas.
"Scholarly and collegial debate is what higher education is all about," adds David Burris, professor of philosophy and religious studies at AWC. "The presentation and juxtaposing of competing viewpoints, critical reflection and subsequent revision is how knowledge increases.
"When students and faculty attend and participate in one our debates, the collective brain power of all attendees is harnessed."