The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

Philosophy club flourishes with thought provoking conversations

Photo by Dom Slaughter
Mr. Weiss stands deep in thought as he ponders the latest philosophical issue. He has been teaching the class for the past 22 years.

It is an early morning before school, club organizer and advisor Michael Weiss brought breakfast, the philosophy club has met once again.

Preparing their arguments about current issues, Club president and senior Sam Young rummages through his bag, grabbing his extensive notes as he begins to mediate the conversation. This has become the norm, meeting around twice a month to discuss current events and debate issues plaguing society.

“There’s a lot of discussion, a lot of ideas, and it always seems we run out of time” Weiss said, who has been teaching philosophy, economics and coaching wide receivers for the past 22 years, believes it to be a crucial class, preparing students for a college environment.

“Philosophy begins in wonder,” Weiss said. “You have to think like a little kid all over again, asking questions and not always getting an answer.”

The group is student led, each member bringing a presentation, notes and their opinions on whatever the predetermined topic of the meeting is. Recently the topic of choice is ethics and dilemmas, deciding right from wrong, moral from immoral.

An example of this could be the famous trolley problem, recently gaining large scale interest over the internet. The topic has sparked somewhat of a new-age movement in modern philosophy on social media. The trolley problem asks the reader if they would or would not pull a lever, diverting a trolley to run over one person to save five, or letting it be and letting the trolley hit the five people to save yourself from the blood being on your hands. A morbid question, asking if they would “kill” makes the person question their consciousness and guilt of being directly involved with the action.

You have to think like a little kid all over again, asking questions and not always getting an answer.”

— Michael Weiss

“My favorite part of the club is the community we have, we all get along really well and all enjoy talking and thinking together,” senior John Dieterle said.

Another topic of discussion in the club and the class is ancient Greek philosopher Plato and his allegory of the cave. It talks about a sort of oppression and reality, describing people stuck, chained inside a cave unable to look beyond the shadows cast upon the wall behind them. They believe these shadows are reality because they have not experienced anything but the distorted, shimmering, shadows upon the wall. It is used by Plato to illustrate the difficulty of looking at the truth. An example of this can be gossip about someone behind their back, only hearing a distorted, dark version of the person without looking past the shadows and seeing them for who they are.

“We never have enough time, they get so deep into their conversations that it pains me to stop them to start the school day,” Weiss said about the passion of the club members.

It is incredibly important for students to be able to talk and debate in a setting where thinking is encouraged, preparing them for college settings where they will need to use their critical thinking and its important to develop that as early as possible.

With social media, AI and large corporations becoming more prevalent in our society by the day, it gets easier and easier to be told how to think. Resisting this, looking at the philosophers of old, reading their ideas and applying them to daily life is a surefire way to improve our society by a large margin.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

The Pony Express intends for this area to be used to foster healthy thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to the standards of the Pony Express and to be respectful and constructive. Furthermore, we do not permit any of the following inappropriate content including: Libel or defamatory statements, any copyrighted, trademarked, or intellectual property of others, the use of profanity and foul language or personal attacks. All comments are reviewed and approved by staff to ensure that they meet the standards of this publication. The Pony Express does not allow anonymous comments. We require a name and valid email address submitted. This email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Online comments that are found in violation of these policies will be removed as quickly as possible.
All The Pony Express Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • P

    PhilMar 24, 2024 at 9:46 am

    Quite interested in observing and perhaps joining in discussion. I do keep coming back to Dr. Strange and sone of the philosophies supporting its notions. Anyway, love to find a congenial group to join periodically.