The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR philosophy department establishes new Socratic club

By Joshua knopp/tr news editor

While Socrates is certainly a worthy patron, the Socratic Club, TR Campus’ philosophy club, didn’t choose its namesake in a vacuum.

Philosophy associate professor and group advisor Mark Anderson said that when the organization was founded, two names, Socratic Club and Plato’s Cave, had already been floated out as possibilities and a choice between the two of them wasn’t a choice at all.

Plato’s Cave comes from an allegory Plato related about the perception of reality. Inside the cave, people are chained and facing a wall onto which shadows are projected from puppeteers out of the prisoners’ line of vision. The prisoners believe this is reality, and Plato theorized that if they were released and saw what their captors were doing, they would reject this expansion of reality.

“Plato’s cave is somewhere you really don’t want to be,” Anderson said.

Despite Socrates’ passive path to becoming the club’s namesake, Anderson said the current crop of students have adopted Socrates.

“Philosophy discussions kind of break out,” Anderson said. “Some of the stuff that’s broken out on the [online discussion] board I’m actually using in my classes. When you have a good kind of in-depth discussion online, that can be very useful.”

The club extends beyond online discussions. Over the course of the semester, the club participated in the TR Trash Bash, sent seven students to Baylor University for a conference and established the Buddy Socrates Legacy Scholarship for one of its students.

Funding came from a pair of raffles. In one, an iPad 2 donated from Radio Shack was the prize. In the other, club president Russell Jones sold his own 42-inch flatscreen to the club, which was then auctioned off at a profit.

The TCC group was the only community college group at the Baylor conference, and Jones said the group seemed to get a little more out of it.

“In my opinion, we seemed like we were the only guys who went on purpose,” he said. “Everyone else seemed to be sent there.”

According to Maximilian Perry, who will be the next club president this spring, the Buddy Socrates Legacy scholarship will pay only for the recipient’s philosophy class this semester. However, the club hopes it will expand into paying for both class and book and eventually an entire semester. Tania McKinney is the first recipient.

“She’s a very smart person,” he said. “Personally, I’m satisfied with who we chose, but I would have been happy with anyone we chose because it feels good to give back to the school and help a student grow philosophically.”

McKinney teaches Middle Eastern belly dancing at TCU as a continuing education instructor. She has two children, one who has ADHD and one who is autistic. With these challenges, she’s been working toward her associate degree since fall 2007 and hails the scholarship as a “second wind.”

“I’m on the last leg of my time at TCC, and I really needed some wind in my sails,” she said. “Getting a degree was unfinished business for me.”

The club is currently teaming up with RadioShack for a food drive. To help, students may drop canned food into boxes on Main Street labeled Tarrant Area Food Bank.


What do you think philosophy’s role should be in 21st century society?

Club president Russell Jones:

“I personally feel that philosophy is being undermined, so to speak. Philosophy, to me, is trying to know the unknown, trying to figure out the unknown, and science does a good job of that. Science can tell me why the grass is green, but it can’t tell me why I care the grass is green.”

Spring president Maximilian Perry:

“I think philosophy’s role should be teaching a couple of different things — first and foremost is to think logically about things, and second is to recognize that your views may or may not be correct and extend that courtesy to other people.”

Scholarship winner Tania McKinney:

“In general, in 21st century America, what I see is a lot of humans doing and not a lot of humans being. I think … everybody getting a daily injection of philosophy from somewhere reminds us that we’re all human.”


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