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In Person & On Zoom: Camden Philosophical Society Meeting

Tuesday, December 20, 2022 @ 3:30 pm 5:30 pm

The Camden Philosophical Society meets on the third Tuesday of each month for reading and discussion. This meeting will be happening in person as well as on Zoom. Contact Sarah Miller at sarahmiller@usa.net to let her know how you plan to attend and to receive a Zoom link.

The Camden Philosophical Society’s next regularly scheduled reading and discussion group is at 3:30 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 20. Our reading selection will be from Jean Jacques Rousseau’s Second Discourse. 

During the past two months, we have been discussing David Graeber and David Wengrow’s recent book, The Dawn of Everything. In it, they provide an extended critique of Rousseau’s notion of the “noble savage” and how it has been put to use in the Western philosophical tradition. According to Graeber and Wengrow, Rousseau’s et al. use of this term is at best in error and at worst a gross misunderstanding of the complexity of actual indigenous social/communal organization throughout history.

In order for us to better understand both Rousseau’s original use and Graeber and Wengrow’s subsequent critique, it is incumbent on us to take a look at the work of Rousseau. For our next discussion, we will consider Rousseau’s Second Discourse (Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men) written in 1755. The essential parts of this reading are Rousseau’s Preface and the Second Part. These give an adequate sense of what Rousseau had in mind as he laid out his notion of humans living in a state of nature vs civilization. Of course, feel free to read the First Part also, if you are so inclined. Below is a link to an online version of the essay. 


This session will be held as a continuation of our open discussions, in which there is no designated discussion leader and participants are asked to direct the group’s attention to parts of the reading that they find particularly compelling. 

The meeting will be a hybrid combination of in-person at the Picker Room of the Camden Public Library or Zoom. All are welcome to attend by either mode. If you wish to participate via Zoom, please let us know by return email (Reply All). You will receive a Zoom invitation on the morning of the meeting, Click on the “Join Zoom Meeting” link in that invitation at the time of the event.

55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States