UNH’s Socratic Society, an organization run by the philosophy department, met to discuss the philosophy of art in the Freedom Café on Friday, Feb. 10 as part of their weekly discussion meetings.
Subtopics included what is classified as art and how it has changed over time, how art is valued, the differences culture brings to art and more. The respectful, flowing conversation bounced between students with very few silent moments and a variety of contributions. Questions were posed during the discussion, which kept the conversation going. The major focus of this particular conversation was centered on whether or not artists need talent or creativity to create art. Though other discussion topics were brought up, including education, the existence or nonexistence of alternative facts and millennials.
For several years, the Socratic Society was not a recognized organization on campus. It was not until juniors Andrew Ware and Eden Suoth persisted on its acknowledgment that it was fully established November 2016.
Originally, the society met in the basement of Hamilton Smith Hall, but once construction on the academic building began, the meetings moved to the Freedom Café, where students were offered pastries and beverages courtesy of the philosophy department. Overall, students expressed enjoyment in conducting the meetings there, though common complaints were the distracting noises of the music, other conversations and beverage machines. However, students make do and continue to attend these discussions.
Ware and Suoth, the unofficial leaders of the Socratic Society, emphasized at the end of the discussion that the organization welcomes all students, regardless of major, even though it is associated with the philosophy department. They plan on keeping the meetings in the Freedom Café, even after the renovations of Hamilton Smith Hall are complete.
The Socratic Society meets on Friday afternoons in the Freedom Café from 2:10 to 3:30 p.m., although the conversations often extend past this time due to the exuberance of students, student availability on Friday afternoons and enthusiasm about the topics.
For more information on the organization, visit their page Wildcat Link or the Facebook group, “UNH Socratic Society (2016 – 2017).” They can also be seen advertising on flyers around campus. The next discussion, on Friday, Feb. 17, will be about cultural globalization: the concept that one day, world cultures will converge into one single culture of the entire human population.