Survival, humanity discussed in philosophy group

Cafe Athena, first meeting

SUN PHOTO BY TOM CHANG Tammie Diehl (middle left) and Joann Reed (middle right) moderated the first meeting of Café Athena on Wednesday at the Elsie Quirk Library conference room. Also seated (from left) were James Lane, Denise McLaughlin, and Betty Kopp. The event was filled to capacity at 15. The next meeting will be on Jan. 16.

ENGLEWOOD — If you were in a lifeboat with 50 people and 100 others were swimming toward it, who else would you let on board and why?

Joann Reed and Tammy Diehl led an inaugural discussion of the new philosophy group, Café Athena, Wednesday at the Elsie Quirk Library. The topic was Adrift in a Moral Sea, a passage from “Lifeboat Ethics: the Case Against Helping the Poor” by Garrett Hardin.

Survival and humanity were the primary themes. The discussion focused on the value of helping the less fortunate. Participants discussed assisting Hurricane Sandy victims and compared that with helping the impoverished in the Third World, particularly in Africa. They talked about whether efforts should be focused internationally or domestically.

They also discussed the impact humans have on the planet and how much the consumption of resources affects their natural surroundings.

“My main goal is to contribute and I always learn,” said Roger Glain, an Englewood resident who attended the meeting. “There’s always something someone says from a different point of view, but I’m a problem solver. I always look at things as something to be tackled and solved, to discuss them without saying, ‘Well, what could we do about that? What can we do about that? What should we do about that?’ To me, it’s kind of hopeless if you discuss the past without dealing with today and the future.”

Among the attendees were Sam Levin, 97, and Betty Kopp, friends of Diehl and Reed who met through other philosophy groups.

Reed said she was pleased and surprised at the turnout — the group was maxed out at 15.

With the name of Café Athena, Reed said she wasn’t sure the group would attract men. Her fears were unfounded.

The group’s name was inspired by Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.

“She’s very independent and we wanted independent thinkers,” Diehl said in an earlier Sun report.

The next Café Athena meeting is slated for Jan. 16 with the time to be announced.

For more information, call 941-473-4031.


About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News,, and Tampa Tribune.
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