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Philosophical Society

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

The next session of the Camden Philosophical Society reading and discussion group — on Tuesday, April 17 — will focus, through the prism of the work of 20thCentury philosopher Robert S Hartman, on the questions: How do we know goodness?  What is a good person?  A good society? A good anything? The discussions are from 4:00 – 6:00 pm in the Picker Room of the Camden Public Library. All are welcome.

Skye Hirst will be introducing the topic, discussing a paper of Hartman’s that provides an introduction to his theory of three dimensions of valuing: Intrinsic, Extrinsic and Systemic, with examples for application to the workplace, politics, and the spiritual. In this paper, Hartman also speaks of how these dimensions exhibit as living processes – intuitive (felt sense), practical, and theoretic. He shares his up-close and personal experience with Hitler and writes of the valuing dimensions that Hitler’s personality exhibited.  

The life work of Hartman (1910-1973), who lived in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power, resulted in his discovery  – The Structure of Value: Foundations of Scientific Axiology 1967. Hartman pursued G.E. Moore’s (1873-1958) inquiry, how can we know what goodness is?  “Goodness” is not a thing but has properties that can help us recognize and organize for it.

Hartman was also influenced by phenomenologist Edmund Husserl, whose work the group discussed last month.  While a student at MIT, Skye’s husband Norm Hirst (1932-2012) met Hartman, who was a professor in Humanities there, and they worked together for many years developing the theory. Although deeply Inspired by Hartman’s axiology, Hirst believed further grounding was required, and to do so required a process metaphysics building on Heraclitus, Whitehead and others. Valuing takes place as organisms live in constantly changing reality.

Please come with your lived experiences to share and explore through the lens of Hartman’s value hypothesis, as Skye invites the group to go beyond the analytical to the ineffable of living “isness” sensing into our Infinite “becomings” and how we use our embodied reasoning of valuing to do so.

Readings to be discussed are:

Hartman’s paper on The Individual in Management 

For those wishing to read further:

Norm Hirst – Towards Science of Life As Creative Organism 

Please email Sarah Miller at sarahmiller@usa.net if you need copies of the texts. 


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Tuesday, April 17, 2018
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Camden Public Library
55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States