This meetup is meant for anyone who loves to philosophize and who thrives on the experience of philosophizing together in an informal setting. Philosophy lives not only in the written word, but also in the spoken word.
The spirit of these meetups is to explore broadly and deeply themes and topics we might consider to be important and meaningful, using the tools of critical and creative thinking.
Although some/many of us may have studied philosophy at university or elsewhere, this meetup group presupposes no formal study of philosophy or of the history of philosophy. Ideas of great thinkers of past and present will and do however end up naturally in our talks and these of course always serve as valuable material during our discussions.
Note: although we use English as common language, it is not at all necessary to speak it perfectly. 90% of our participants speak English as a 2nd language. Our meetups have proven to be wonderful opportunities to meet philosophical others from many diverse backgrounds!
Follow our group also on Facebook: “The Brussels Philosophy Meetup”
Another period of 365 days has recently begun, this particular duration of time which by chance and convention we call “2023”… And each and everyone of us, during the course of this year, if we’re lucky to be still living, will experience a day that we may call our “birthday”.
A personal question: How important to you is your birthday (both your date of birth and subsequent anniversaries of it)? How meaningful in the context of your life is your age to you? How would your answer compare to what society says about you? Does “ageism” exist in our culture?
Although the term “ageism” is commonly used in a rather narrow sense to refer to discrimination against older people, the concept of ageism is actually much broader, encompassing for example:
- age stereotyping
- perceiving a person’s age as a main aspect of their identity
- overvaluing the factor of people’s ages when attempting to understand or interpret circumstances or dynamics between people
- positive or negative discrimination towards people of particular ages or age groups
- a negative attitude in general towards ageing
- expectations of particular milestones to be met at particular ages
Do any, or all, of these forms lead to unethical behaviour and unfair treatment of people? Or is such apparent “age discrimination” totally normal, realistic and morally unproblematic?
If whether one has the right to vote, drive, drink, marry, carry firearms, etc is determined by age rather than competence, can we justifiably criticize such policies as being ageist?
If parents worry that their 35-year-old daughter is unmarried and has no children, is their worry as understandable and justifiable as the worry parents might feel if their 2-year-old is not yet talking?
If you introduce a friend to your family and they always refer to him as your “Asian friend”, might you not feel slightly uncomfortable? – why must they always specifically mention your friend’s “Asian-ness”?
In another scenario, if you introduce your 6-month-old daughter to friends, and they consistently refer to her as your “baby daughter”, might you also experience this uncomfortably, i.e. why they always mention “baby” and not simply “daughter”?
If these two scenarios are different, how can this be explained or justified?
Might negative discrimination against elderly people in fact actually be a consequence of “lookism” (see our meetup session of 13/3/2021), or even broader, “sexy-ism” (the tendency to favour those who are sexier – not to be confused with “sexism”)? Can it not be argued that ageing is simply not sexy, and thus the root cause of discrimination against the elderly is in fact sexyism?
Two major questions we can address during this session:
Is ageism a form of prejudice or discrimination and thus by definition unethical, or is it purely a natural and socio-biological phenomenon, like the ageing process itself, and thus not a bad thing at all?
What would a non-ageist world be like? How would it function? How would everyone experience it?
The Age of Adeline