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"What does it mean to exist?" discussion on Thur. May 15th in Portland

Is your race a part of your identity?
bdehler

Have you ever wondered what it means to exist? What are you, just a material object... or is there some sort of supernatural spiritual component? Those are the things we will discuss on Thur. May 15th. Details for the event can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/mgjy332 . For those who can't get the book, there are some suggested links, so these stories can be read online for free at your own convenience.

To give us a starting point, we will read and discuss three very short stories that illustrate three different ways of looking at the situation. One way is to consider a transporter beam, such as in Star Trek. Does that kill the old "you," and make a new "you" at a different place? Where are "you" in the midst of travel? Another aspect is considering reincarnation. If it is true you could have lived previously as a different person, and even have had a different sex (male or female), then what does it really mean to be "you" when so many critical components have changed? Finally, consider the idea of what it would be like if we could be like a worm, that regenerates body parts that are cut off. If our brain were cut into two, and each re-formed into a full brain, would that make two of us? Which one would be the "real me?"

These stories come from the book "The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher," available from Amazon at this link: http://tinyurl.com/neoba6a . Like Barack Obama wrote, to some large degree we can choose to be who we want to be:

My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn't, couldn't end there. At least that's what I would choose to believe.
~Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

To learn more about The Center for Philosophical Naturalism, an organization devoted to help teach the naturalist worldview, click on our Facebook page here: http://tinyurl.com/pjnjfup . Our meetup event page can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/l6rd4sl . Our website is here: http://tinyurl.com/pbtcg5w .

If you are interested in other similar events; other Portland-area community, secular, and philosophical groups can also be found at meetup.com, such as these:
-- Westside Science & Religion Disc.: http://tinyurl.com/bkmhdl5
-- Sunday Assembly: http://tinyurl.com/kkc8nyw
-- Center for Inquiry: http://tinyurl.com/mps923r
-- Humanists of Greater Portland: http://tinyurl.com/kmbmt57
-- Atheists Etcetera: http://tinyurl.com/nhjr3ha
-- Philosophy Workshop: http://tinyurl.com/pzs4ajc
-- The Center for Philosophical Naturalism: http://tinyurl.com/l6rd4sl