The invisible pink unicorn: Philosophy at HSU

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 “Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle, Hobbes was fond of his dram and Rene Descartes was a drunken fart. ‘I drink, therefore I am.’”

-Monty Python, The Philosopher’s Song 

The philosophy club began about five years ago with around 30 students. Since then, numbers have declined. The group is now an informal club which meets to watch movies, eat pizza, and discuss philosophy. One of the purposes of the club is to build interest in the philosophy minor. 

Steven Todd, associate professor of philosophy, advises the group. He said the students started the group and he only steps in when they want advice. He expressed concern that philosophy, the mother of all disciplines, has become underrated and seen as irrelevant. 

Tyler Reeves, alumna, said the critical thinking skills learned in philosophy can be beneficial to anyone. She described how the minor helped in her business management major. “Philosophy and business connect in a lot of ways that people don’t necessarily see on the surface,” Reeves said. “It taught me to think for myself. It gives you a sustainable competitive advantage.” 

Todd said that it’s important for students to learn to see things from more than one angle and be able to reevaluate their own beliefs. He feels that more students should have the philosophy minor suggested to them. 

Emily Wetzlar, senior elementary education major and head of the philosophy club, said the role of the club is to provide academic support for those with a philosophy minor. It’s not all about work, though. Every Monday night the club gets together to watch movies. People are welcome to stick around for intellectual conversation centered around the movie and current topics in society. 

Wetzlar recommended the philosophy minor particularly to those pursuing degrees in pre-law or political science as it will help to create valid and sound arguments. “My philosophy minor has challenged me to use logical reasoning and information to form my opinion,” Wetzlar said. “As a future teacher, this is a vital skill my students need in the world of misinformation.” 

Wetzlar said Todd is an amazing professor who is invested in his students and will go above and beyond to help them. She smiled widely while describing his pink unicorn theory. “He’ll take it out, set it on a desk and say, ‘this is my invisible pink unicorn and who are you to tell me she isn’t real,’” Wetzlar said. 

Todd said the unicorn was used to illustrate how truth is linked with assumption. He elaborated by saying when someone says, “that is a desk,” that’s clearly true, but when someone says, “there’s an invisible pink unicorn,” truth and assumption become a debate. 

“It’s true,” Todd said. “She’s there. You just don’t see her until you join the philosophy club with a minor in philosophy.”

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The invisible pink unicorn: Philosophy at HSU