A warm “welcome back” to Philosophy Club

Student restarts club 6 years after its closing

Aidan Nill, Freelance Reporter

If a club ends, then starts up again, is it the same club? Or is it a different club with the same name? This is a thought experiment called “the ship of Theseus,” an ontological argument often heard around Philosophy Club. It’s especially pertinent, as the club’s reincarnation took place an entire 6 years after its founding.

“Everyone is welcome to Philosophy Club: to think; to speak; to listen; to absorb; to meditate,” the 2016 edition of the club’s website said. “Philosophy Club creates a warm environment to discuss conflicts, philosophical differences, and possible solutions.”

Though the club’s mission initially piqued the interest of the student body, interest began to wane mid-year. By the end of 2016, the first incarnation of the Philosophy Club was shuttered.

Then entered Sophia Jiotis ‘24, a self-proclaimed lifelong pursuer of knowledge.

“When I was joining clubs my sophomore year, I stumbled upon the Philosophy Club on the school website,” she said. 

She ran into an immediate complication, she said. 

“I began searching for the sponsor, inquiring how I could join,” Joitis said. “Little did I know, the website wasn’t updated and the club no longer existed.”

Despite this, she persisted. Rather than wait around for the club to spark back to life, she went ahead and did it herself.

“When I learned [the club had disbanded], I eagerly began my journey to restart the club,” Jiotis said. “I have been interested in philosophy since seventh grade— Since then, I have pretty much only read philosophy.”

Her love of philosophy specifically began when reading Republic, a political manifesto authored by the Athenian teacher Plato, she said. Republic is the famous originator of the “allegory of the cave,” a thought experiment which brings into question how knowledge and circumstances influences one’s ability to perceive reality. 

“How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?” says a fictionalized Socrates to Plato’s brother, Glaucon.

“It is the task of the enlightened not only to ascend to learning and to see the good, but to be willing to descend again to those prisoners and to share their troubles and their honors, whether they are worth having or not.”

As Plato credits Socrates for his pursuit of wisdom, Jiotis credits her deda (grandfather) for her pursuit of wisdom; he fills their conversations with his proverbial knowledge and his unique experiences— as a father, a grandfather, and as an immigrant.

Jiotis herself now does the same for others. With the founding of the new Philosophy Club, Jiotis introduces a new generation of knowledge-seekers to her chosen topics through games.

“It has been an honor watching Sophia build the Philosophy club back up this year, allowing it to provide students a space to come together, sharing their similar kinds of curiosity,” philosophy teacher and the club sponsor, Molly Snyder said.

“Every other Monday after school, students engage in a wide variety of activities having to do with philosophers and philosophical ideas,” Snyder said. “From discussions to movies and games, Sophia plans each meeting to meet the interests and outlooks of students in the club.”

“[We] typically start with an introduction to a philosophical topic or philosopher,” Joitis said. “And then an activity that aligns with that lecture. So far we have done debate and game-style activities about ethics and political philosophy. Our first meeting got quite heated as we debated the value of one life over another.”

Jiotis’s meticulous planning of each week’s meeting is explicitly designed to entrance newcomers, and keep day-one attendees coming back, Snyder says.

“Every week there are new faces, as new members are always welcome,” Snyder said.

With an Instagram (lths_philosophy_club) and Twitter (@lths_philosophy) run by Deanna Nikolic ‘25, a consistent group of attendees, and a shared love of knowledge both intrinsic and learned, Philosophy Club is gearing up for an interesting junior year.