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February 9, 2023
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Downtown Library
100 W 10th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97401
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Community Philosophy Circle: Kindness

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Gather for a facilitated exploration on the topic of "Kindness."

Explore big philosophical questions in a community conversation facilitated by philosopher-educators Paul Bodin and Caroline Lundquist.  This month, the topic is Kindness. 

This monthly forum for people of all ages and backgrounds offers an opportunity to  share opinions and ideas in a structured setting to explore challenging topics with civility and consideration. With a different theme each month, the conversations will address deep and universal questions about life, identity, community, and responsibility.  

Community Philosophy Circles will take place on the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. through March.


About the February topic:

Should we try to be kind?  Most people would probably agree with the claims “kindness is important,” and “we should try to be kind”. Many would go further and claim that kindness is the most important personal characteristic someone can have; it’s no wonder that in surveys about the most valued traits in a partner or friend, kindness often tops the list. But do we really know what kindness is, and what it means to be a kind person? 

The aim of this discussion is to delve below surface-level claims about kindness and think together about what kindness is, how it manifests, and if or why it matters personally and politically. In this dynamic and far-ranging discussion of kindness, we’ll consider questions  like: 

What is kindness? Is it a mindset, an emotion, a behavior, a virtue, a policy, or…?  

What does kindness demand of us in our daily lives, and over the course of a lifetime? 

Is cruelty the opposite of kindness, or is the relationship between the two more complicated? Can the same action be cruel or kind depending on the context?  

Who decides if an action is kind?  Is a kind intention enough to make an act kind, or must the recipient also perceive the act as kind? 

Can kindness help or heal people who have suffered from cruel treatment? Can anyone be kind? Is kindness possible in any situation? 

Can political ideologies, social structures and/or laws enact kindness? What would kind public policies look like or involve? 

What would it be like to live in a kind society? Do our current institutions make it more difficult for people to be kind? 

How does kindness relate to honesty? Must we choose between honesty and kindness, or can the two go together?

 Can we be kind to nonhuman animals and/or to the earth, or can we only be kind to other people? 

Should we be kind to ourselves? If so, what does that mean?

Is there a difference between being kind and taking pity?

Is it harder to be kind to people who are strangers to us? Is it harder to be kind to people who are different from us? 

Is kindness hardwired into us as humans? Or is the quality of being kind something we learn from others? 

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