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Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Topic for Spring

Music has charms to run a mental marathon?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Assignment for Spring 2017

It has been suggested in our final meeting of 2016 that we read one or two books for discussion when we start again in the Spring term.

The books are:

  • Faster by James Gleick, and/or 
  • The Control of Nature by John McPhee.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Meeting Notice for December 16

Well, we will be meeting for the last time in 2016 this Friday, December 16.  We will pick up with the review of cognitive bias that we began last Friday.

We will, as usual, meet at the Eastside Branch of the Lexington Public Library at 9:45am.  The room will be posted by the library staff.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Meeting Notice for December 9

We will have our penultimate meeting for 2016 December 9 at the Eastside Branch of the Lexington Public Library.  Deliberations start at 9:45am.

Let's consider discussing one or more of the cognitive biases presented (linked) on the SIG web page at

 You may also want to look at the Wikipedia article on cognitive bias. 

Further, you may want to browse the results of a search for the term "cognitive bias" at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Year-end Run Begins -- Another Suggestion

We will meet at the regular time this coming Friday (9:45 am), at the Eastside Branch (LPL), to discuss philosophy your way.

Here are a few prompts:
 -- what role do sports play in society (hint: you may wish to read up about the plot lines of

 -- which is your favorite sports-themed work of art?
 -- what is your philosophical take on last Saturday's UK/U of L barn-burner?
 -- Tell a story of a great vicarious thrill.
 -- Tell a story of a great catharthis.

A search of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for the term "sports."

Other suggestions, however, if you have reached a seasonal saturation of sports, are encouraged.

Friday, November 18, 2016

D. Boone Sez

I can't say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.

-- Daniel Boone

Black Friday Hiatus

We will NOT have a meeting on Black Friday, November 25, 2016.

I'll see you on Friday, December 2 at 9:45 am at the Eastside Branch of the Lexington Public Library.

Historical Myopia

"The rhetoric of decline is wrong because it portrays a past that never was, a present that isn't and a future that probably won't be"  (Charles Wolf Jr.)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Working Assumption

Another 2000+ Libertarian Quotes

Hi Jim.  You mentioned you have a FB page with quotes.  Can you tell me how to find it or send a link?  I've been collecting quotes since the '70s, from all walks of life - famous people, the bible, family members, baseball players, others.  In fact, I used some of the quotes for the OLLI SIG session I led the first week you were out.

On Facebook, search for "Another 2000+ Libertarian Quotes"

I am a philosophical libertarian, a classical liberal in the tradition of John Locke, Adam Smith, and Thomas Jefferson.  I am apolitical -- a "small L" libertarian.

Some of the posters/members of the A2K+LQ page are political.  I take them with a grain of salt as long as they are posting something philosophical.

The link below takes you to Another 2000+ Libertarian Quotes
Jim Carigan to Another 2000+ Libertarian Quotes
11 hrs
Benjamin Franklin did a great many notable things for his country, and made her young name to be honored in many lands as the mother of such a son. It is not the idea of this memoir to ignore that or cover it up. No; the simple idea of it is to snub those pretentious maxims of his, which he worked up with a great show of originality out of truisms that had become wearisome platitudes as early as the dispersion from Babel.
-- Mark Twain

Last week, this week, topics

We had an excellent meeting last week.  We discussed whether laughter was the best medicine.  We also explored the idea that seemingly bad news on the health front is not necessarily the end of life, ohilosophy, and laughter.

Over the weeks, I have sent out suggestions for topics.  This week we will review those we may have skipped, and of course we will address any other topics you may bring with you.

Reminder -- meeting at Eastside Branch, Lexington Public Library on November 18, 2016.  The times are 9:45 to 11:45 am.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Confucian Philosophy

Another suggestion:

The influential Confucian philosopher you’ve never heard of | Aeon Essays



Meeting November 11, 2016


This will be our last change of venue for some time.

Place:  Good Foods Co-op, Southland Drive, Lexington
Time:   9am -- 11am

Call me at the number shown on the OLLI web page, if you need more detailed directions.

A member brings the following to our attention:
 -- Can there be anything good in the experience of illness? | Aeon Essays

Does that include being sick of politics?  Just kidding.

Please send along other ideas.

Best philosophical regards
Jim Carigan

Friday, October 28, 2016

Plato's View(s) On What Happens When We Die

After discussing at length the disparity between the soul and the body, we Googled "What Happens When We Die" and came up with this web page --

Plato's View(s) On What Happens When We Die

To our Western minds, everything comes back to Plato and Socrates, eh?  Click on the link and learn.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Math -- Look around: you can see it

A dozen eggs can be arranged in cartons of 6 × 2 or 3 × 4, but eggs are not sold in lots of 11 or 13 because there is no neat way of organising 11 or 13 of them into an eggbox: ...

-- James Franklin

Mind vs Body

Another topic for discussion, recommended by a SIG member:

In Bioethics, Unlike Game of Thrones, Decapitation Doesn't Always Mean Death - The Atlantic

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Message from Waddy, KY

Dear Lifelong Philosophers,

I am back from Ireland, and I am loaded with new philosophical queries.  What I found most fascinating was how many early settlements and towns had walled cities within them.  Now the walls are just remnants that can be pointed out from a tour bus.  What is happening here?

In any event, I will be with you on Friday, given the luck of the Irish.  We will meet from 9:45 until 11:45 am at the Eastside Branch of the Lexington Public Library.  Ask at the front desk for info on which of the meeting rooms we will occupy.

So, I suggested a topic above, but there are others to consider, as well. 
  • Do you ever wonder why the feverish screaming of politicians, seeming to disqualify both their opponents and themselves, makes any connection with the need for civilization?
  • What is the mystery of language, and what is the purpose of the melange with which we try to struggle by?
  • What burning issues have we passed by, or never approached?
  • Are there hot topics with which we need to spend more time?

Maybe you have already proposed a new topic.  If so, someone let me know, so I can try to find some good related material on the Internet.  Either reply to the email, or post a comment to this thread on this website,

I look forward to seeing each of you again.

Best regards
Jim Carigan

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Message from Ireland

Today, in Dublin, Ireland, I encountered a church with a sign out front with a motto very similar to "the unexamined life is not worth living."  I said to myself, this philosophy thing, it's getting around.

One more Friday before I will rejoin you.  Remember, you are continuing to meet in my absence!

In the meantime here's an article to be thinking about, an interview with futurist, Kevin Kelly --

Further in that vein is an interview podcast of Startalk (Neil Degrasse Tyson) with Ray Kurzweil --

Futurism is not philosophy, but philosophy must concern itself with the future.  True or false?

Best regards from Donnybrook
Jim Carigan

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Future Meeting Sites

Meeting Place, Lifelong Philosophy SIG

On October 7, we will return to the Northside Branch of the Lexington Public Library, but after that it looks 
like we will settle down at the Eastside Branch for awhile:

October  7 -- Northside Branch
October 14 -- Eastside Branch
October 21 -- Eastside Branch
October 28 -- Eastside Branch
November  4 -- Eastside Branch
 ... TBA

November 11 -- We need an alternate site for this date, the Eastside Branch will be closed for
organizational purposes.  Let's discuss in the upcoming meeting.

November 18 -- Eastside Branch
November 25 -- No meeting, Thanksgiving weekend
December 2 -- Eastside Branch
December 9 -- Eastside Branch
December 16 -- Eastside Branch (If we decide to meet this date)


PLEASE NOTE LOCATION!  This will be our last time at Northside in the foreseeable future.  We will be at Eastside Branch semi-permanently, starting on October 14.

This is a meeting Reminder for October 7, at the Northside Branch of the Lexington Public Library, 9:45am-11:45am.

Missing Links

Some time, in adding new material, we lost old material -- the collection of links to other philosophy web sites and headlines related to "Philosophy."  I will be searching for these, if any remnants exist, or replacing these, if they are lost in the galactic interstices.

Discussion for October 7, 2016

One of our members sent in this idea for discussion:

Click on the Picture to go to the Web Page

Friday, September 30, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Religiosity Quotes

Meeting Notice


We will meet tomorrow at 9:45 am (until 11:45 am) at the EASTSIDE branch of the LEXINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY, in the Medium Conference Room.  The Eastside Branch is off of Palumbo between Man o' War and Todds Road (the former site of James Motor Company).

Give me a call if you have questions (see phone numbers at OLLI Course Catalog)

Best philosophical regards
Jim Carigan

Friday, September 23, 2016

Report on Meeting #2, September 23, 2016

We had a lively discussion today, with enthusiastic participation all around.  Following through on our intent to discuss The Pursuit of Happiness, we touched on many related ideas, such as

  • Hypocrisy,
  • Integrity,
  • Harmony,
  • South Park,
  • Some ground rules:
    1. No more dependence solely on the facilitator -- If Jim Carigan can't be here, then the group will become a self-organizing phenomenon.
    2. No discussion of Politics, in specifics.  No advocacy. -- Abstract and conceptual discussion is OK.
    3. No discussion of Religion, in specifics.  No advocacy. No recruiting. -- Abstract and conceptual discussion is OK.
Topic for next time, Friday, September 30, at Eastside Branch of Lexington Public Library:


    Wednesday, September 21, 2016

    Lifelong Philosophy, Meeting Info for 9/23

    Lifelong Philosophy, Meeting Info


    This Friday, we will meet at the Northside Branch of the Lexington Public Library on Russell Cave Road.  We will start at 9:45 am,  until 11:45 am.

    I apologize for this short notice, as well as the precipitous cancellation last week.  I'll fill you in Friday.

    We had planned to discuss the pursuit of happiness last time, so we will consider this topic this time.

    Something to think about - how do you pursue happiness, and what happens when you catch it?

    Northside Branch --

    Thursday, September 8, 2016

    OLLI: Lifelong Philosophy SIG First Meet -- Fall 2016

    We meet tomorrow (9/9/2016) at 9:30-ish am, at the Eastside Branch of the Lexington Public Library.  I hope to post signs inside the building to guide you to the meeting room. -- Eastside Branch

    The first link above is to the library branch itself, and the second link is to a map.  The new branch is where James Motor Co. used to be (Jaguar Dealer) at Palumbo and Man O'War.  There is plenty of parking!

    The "medium" meeting room is up the stairs leading from the lobby and front desh.  At the head of the stairs, on the right, go through the "large" meeting room to our meeting room.

    Since the library opens at 9:30 am, we may take a few moments to set up, and we will begin the meeting about 9:45 am.

    Best regards
    Jim Carigan

    PS -- Please be sure to check the group web page at

    Any questions? email me or call Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UK, UK Ligon House, 658 South Limestone Lexington, KY 40506-0442 OLLI Office: (859) 257-2656

    Thursday, September 1, 2016

    Location Information

    Our first meeting is looming closer, and we have confirmed with the Lexington Public Library, Eastside Branch, for 9:30am on September 9.  The street address is 3000 Blake James Drive, Lexington 40509.

    Map, Library Location Page

    I will put up signs to the meeting room.

    If you haven't seen a communication from me already, this is to inform you that unless there is a clamor for an alternate topic, we will be discussing, to start the first gathering, long life, longevity, and perhaps if we have enough optimists, immortality.  Come prepared to participate in your own unique way.

    Call me (see email for number), if you need info or if you have something to share in advance.

    Friday, August 19, 2016

    Welcome for Fall 2016

    I'll be sending out the link to this site soon to the members of the SIG for Fall 2016.  Other readers are welcomed as well.

    Here's a topic to be thinking about, Longevity.  I have a good cyberfriend on Facebook who, in her 50s, is quite concerned about longevity, even so far as immortality.

    Last Spring, we addressed the idea that mankind is the only species with recognition of its own mortality.  It's a natural that we would be concerned, perhaps even obsessed, with the notion.

    Check out this web site, Longevity for All.


    Monday, May 16, 2016

    Short Term vs Long Term

    I learned a great lesson, while I was away from home at college, from my father. Perhaps it was the best lesson during my college years.

    Dad was a Division Director in the state Highway Department. In those days, if not still, the political party occupying the governor's mansion would subsidize the continuing campaigns du jour by requiring division directors to sell fish fry tickets to 100% of the employees in the division. Dad refused. He went so far as to say that he would fire any employee who asked him to sell a ticket to them. They could go elsewhere to buy a ticket.

    For that act, Dad had the division taken away from him, and his desk was moved into the elevator lobby. He went to work, with no assignment, at the expense of the tax payer, so the hierarchy could pretend they had put his head on a pike.

    I am gratified to report that he held his head high for three years in that situation. When a new regime came in, he ascended to a higher station.

    Next Meeting May 20, 2016 -- The Pursuit of Happiness

    We will be meeting for the last Spring meeting this Friday.  Same place same time.

    Diana has recommended that we consider the topic, the pursuit of happiness.  I'm all in!  If you also find this a pleasing prospective topic,do a tiny bit of homework the prep for defining these terms and the whole expression.

    This should be a fine session.  From what I have seen, we are all experts in the pursuit of happiness.

    Best regards
    Jim Carigan

    Thursday, May 5, 2016


    Next Meeting -- War and Peace?

    Just a reminder.  Tomorrow May 6.  9:30am in Conference Room C on the 4th floor at the Central Branch of Lexington Public Library.

    Last meeting Clint suggested we talk next about War and Peace.  If you have other ideas to suggest, we will decide together at the meeting.

    Best regards
    Jim Carigan

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016

    Upcoming Meeting Prompt -- World Enough, and Time ...

    Our next meeting will take place at 9:30 am, April 22, at the Central Branch of the Lexington Public Library. The room will be the same, Conference Room C on the 4th floor.

    First. let me say that our last meeting was fantastic, in my view.  I hope everybody else there got as much out of it as I did.  Maybe the secret is to talk about our personal views on our own philosophies.

    In that light, I have been inspired again by Sallie Prewitt's OLLI group, Living in the Moment.

    Sallie brought to me this news clip about billionaire think tank creators, and a new instance of the phenomenon [Nicholas Berggruen*].  Well-known examples would be Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie, and Alfred Nobel.

    It caused me to wonder, if I had world enough, and time, what one thing would I do first to implement my own philosophy and its degree of adoption in the real world?

    * The NY Times article is a bit weak, perhaps a bit like Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.  Hi!  We caught up with Johnny Depp at the Cannes Film Festival, and we managed to ask him about "Kites for Whirled Peas."  But philosophically I like the mental exercise of putting myself in Berggruen's shoes.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016

    Meeting April 8, 2016

    Lifelong Philosophy SIG -- Meeting April 8

    We have philosophically dodged both April Fools' Day and the IRS Filing Rush.

    We will be meeting this Friday, April 8, in Room C on the 4th Floor of the Central Library (Lexington Public).  Discussion will commence around 9:30am.

    I picked up a good idea this week in another OLLI group (Living in the Moment).  Let's each bring to our group, over the next two meetings, short lists of resources that have influenced you philosophically over your life.

    Or you can post your lists here in the "Comment" section below.

    Tuesday, March 29, 2016

    Saturday, March 26, 2016


    I ran across this article today, and to me, it provided an interesting alternate (not adversarial) view of the Twitter phenomenon.  Maybe we can consider some of the points made, at our next meeting, April 8th.

    Friday, March 18, 2016

    Great Ideas of Philosophy X -- Free Will vs Determinism

    "By definition exercising conscience means that one is willfully choosing through free will for themselves right action over wrong action. The concept of following orders is completely polar opposite to the concept of exercising conscience."~Passio

    Written in the Stars

    I am here to tell you we can never meet again
    Simple really, isn't it, a word or two and then?
    A lifetime of not knowing where or how or why or when
    You think of me or speak of me or wonder what befell
    The someone you once loved, so long ago, so well
    Never wonder what I'll feel as living shuffles by
    You don't have to ask me and I need not reply
    Every moment of my life from now until I die
    I will think or dream of you and fail to understand
    How a perfect love can be confounded out of hand
    Is it written in the stars, are we paying for some crime?
    Is that all that we are good for, just a stretch of mortal time?
    Is this God's experiment in which we had no say?
    In which we're given paradise but only for a day?
    Nothing can be altered, oh, there is nothing to decide
    No escape, no change of heart, nor any place to hide
    You are all I'll ever want, but this I am denied
    Sometimes in my darkest thoughts, I wish I'd never learned
    What it is to be in love and have that love returned
    Is it written in the stars, are we paying for some crime?
    Is that all that we are good for, just a stretch of mortal time?
    Is this God's experiment in which we had no say?
    In which we're given paradise but only for a day?
    (Is it written in the stars, are we paying for some crime?)
    (Is that all that we are good for, just a stretch of mortal time?)
    Is this God's experiment in which we have no say?
    In which we're given paradise but only for a day?

    Sunday, March 13, 2016

    Great Ideas of Philosophy VII -- Philosophy
    "It’s worse to fear philosophy than to fail at philosophy. Making mistakes in one’s reasoning is not as bad as running away from reflection because of a fear of making mistakes in one’s reasoning. Critical thinking takes courage. Ideas can’t be improved if we insist on avoiding the possibility of having them disproved." - T. K. Coleman

    Thanks to my great friend, Skyler Collins.

    Thursday, March 10, 2016

    Great Ideas of Philosophy VI -- Existentialism, To be or Not to Be

    What makes this current of inquiry distinct is not its concern with “existence” in general, but rather its claim that thinking about human existence requires new categories not found in the conceptual repertoire of ancient or modern thought; human beings can be understood neither as substances with fixed properties, nor as subjects interacting with a world of objects.