Port Macquarie Philosophy Forum is providing a variety of guest speakers to a public audience increasingly wanting stimulating conversation and discussion.
That's the opinion of one of the forum's founders and February guest speaker Gary Dowling.
The next forum is on Thursday February 21.
Mr Dowling said the forum organisers are both delighted and slightly bewildered by the response to the forums which started just 12 months ago.
"The forums through 2018 attracted up to 90 to 100 people and as low as 50 to 60 people," he said.
"But the lower numbers were related to the cooler weather.
"We provide 10 guest speakers from February to November and the program is already filled for this year.
"These are leaders in their particular field," he said.
"We knew there was some level of interest in philosophy through the successful U3A course. However most of the people at the forums are not from U3A. But they have a genuine interest."
Mr Dowling said the success of the forums could be traced to Port Macquarie's growth in attracting new residents boasting a professional background.
He says the forums have tapped into providing an intellectual stimulus for these newer residents.
As well, the forum provides a different topic each month and that provides a variety of discussion points.Gary Dowling
"As well, the forum provides a different topic each month and that provides a variety of discussion points," he added.
He said last year's October topic on atheism attracted some of the strongest questions and discussion.
"There were many questions from the floor that night which created quite a bit of interest and discussion," he said.
Mr Dowling’s February 21 topic is on contemporary intolerance to free speech and to confronting ideas in higher education.
"I want to speak about tolerance and its effect on social development,” he said.
"This subject would be of interest to anyone who is concerned about contemporary attacks on free speech.
"And that is evident in lots of ways, but particularly to do with the effects of identity politics, social media and political activity."
Mr Dowling said one of the downsides to philosophy is that it is all about dead white people.
"But this topic is particularly current and uses research and theories of philosophy from the inter-war period and applied to very contemporary issues," he added.
The Port Macquarie Philosophy Forum is at Port City Bowling Club, on February 21, 6pm to about 7.30pm.
Costs - $10 or $5 pensioner/concession.
For more information go to the website www.portmacquariephilosophyforum.com
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