Rationalists of East Tennessee Newsletter

June 2021 


First Sunday Meeting

June 6 Sunday 10:30 - 12:30 EDT 

Video conference meeting using Zoom

JOHN RAWLS, A THEORY OF JUSTICE presented by Marty Carcieri

John Rawls' work may be the state of the art in western political theory. He transformed the discipline in 1971 with A THEORY OF JUSTICE and spent the next thirty years refining his theory in response to the most able critiques from across the political spectrum. As Harvard professor Michael Sandel has written, A THEORY OF JUSTICE  "is a powerful, deep, subtle, wide ranging, systematic work in political and moral philosophy which has not seen its like since the writings of John Stuart Mill, if then. It is a fountain of illuminating ideas, integrated together into a lovely whole. Political philosophers now must either work within Rawls' theory or explain why not."

RET veteran Marty Carcieri is Professor of Political Science Emeritus at San Francisco State University. He is the author of  Applying Rawls in the Twenty-First Century: Race, Gender, the Drug War, and the Right to Die.


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RET Skeptic Book Club


June 13     Sunday         4:00 – 6:00 pm                    

Video conference meeting using Zoom

The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker.

In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution.


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Third Sunday Meeting

June 20 Sunday 10:30 - 12:30 

Video conference meeting using Zoom

Bring Your Own Topic

What subject would you like to discuss with other RET members?  This is your chance!

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Reflections Sunday Meeting

June 27 Sunday 4:30-6:00 PM EDT

Video conference meeting using Zoom

June Reflections: What is patriotism? 

As we near the annual Independence Day celebration, the topic of patriotism is prominent. What do we mean when we talk about being patriotic? 

Some links to generate ideas for discussion:

https://www.exploringtheproblemspace.com/new-blog/2020/10/30/what-patriotism-means-depends-on-whether-one-feels-it

And

http://www.therepublic.com/2018/11/30/what_does_it_really_mean_to_be_patriotic

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Save the Date!

July 18 Sunday 10:30-12:30 EDT

"Stoicism as a secular philosophy for modern life"

presented by Lifetime RET Member

Massimo Pigliucci

Video conference meeting using Zoom


Summary: What, exactly, is a philosophy of life? Who needs it, and why? In this talk I answer these questions beginning with a story that happened 23 centuries ago, and which resulted in the articulation of one of the most influential philosophies of antiquity, Stoicism. That philosophy is experiencing a comeback in the 21st century, for the simple reasons that it resonates with fundamentals of the human condition, and that it works in practice. We will see how Stoicism can offer a compass to navigate life, to set priorities for what is important, and to become better citizens of the world.


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Camp Quest Smoky Mountains

Message from Meredith PorterCamp Director, Camp Quest Smoky Mountains:

I'm the Camp Director of a volunteer-run secular humanist camp in the Smokies east of Knoxville. I'm trying to get in touch with area groups, as we're looking for volunteers for this summer's camp session (July 17th-24th). We're an affiliate of Camp Quest, an organization dedicated to fun, friends, and freethought by providing kids a safe, inclusive, and welcoming space to be themselves. We're a lot like a typical camp (minus the religious aspect of many camps), but add in fun secular activities like Socrates Café or science experiments. 

We are staffed by adult volunteers (ages 18 and up) who take a week off of work or school to guide, challenge, listen to, chase after, and play outside with a big group of energetic, freethinking kids (and adults!). Most Camp Quest volunteers love the experience so much that they keep coming back year after year. We provide housing (in air-conditioned dorms) and meals for the duration of training and camp. 

You can check us out at https://www.cqsmokymountains.org/volunteer as well. 

We are accepting staff applications at campquest.configio.com

2021 National Day of Reason

The East Tennessee Chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation organized a rally to recognize the National Day of Reason, May 6, 2021. Members of the Rationalists of East Tennessee and members of the Atheist Society of Knoxville joined Freedom From Religion folks for a rally in downtown Knoxville. We received positive feedback from passers-by.  People were pleasantly surprised to learn that our organizations existed here in Knoxville.

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Contact email: info@rationalists.org
Edited by Sharron King: newsletter@rationalists.org.
Opinions expressed are those of authors and/or editors and are not necessarily the opinions of RET.



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