Whether a concentrator in philosophy or poli sci, Middle Eastern studies or mathematics, practically everyone at Brown has had one of those crazy four-hour-long conversations that they barely even remember starting. These engrossing discussions not only provide the opportunity to delve deeper into a topic you learned about in class or get to the truth of an issue you’re curious about; they also fortify Brown as an intellectual community. Here are some of the conversations you should be prepared to have after midnight on any given Wednesday:
Diverging Interpretations of Kantian Ethics
As if straight out of a history textbook, anyone participating in this debate will heatedly use phrases like “post-modernism”, “universalizability”, and “No, I have no idea why my friends stopped hanging out with me”. It may seem tempting to get involved because you like the idea that some 18th century philosopher says it’s morally acceptable that you cheated on your reading quiz, but we all know that once you go enter this conversation, you can never come out.
Why The Ratty Not Being Open Past 7:30 is Cruel and Unusual Punishment
This conversation, frequently interjected by loud stomach grumblings, is one of the most common moral conundrums to be analyzed at Brown. One side often brings up that having access to mediocre buffet-style is among the basic human rights of today’s world, along with food, water, shelter, and YouTube. The other side traditionally counters with the fact that although such a closure is cruel, it is far too common on today’s college campuses, and thus cannot fall under the cruel and unusual category. You might see this conversation end with one party complaining about the trivializations of real human rights issues, or, more frequently, a brisk walk to Jo’s.
Oh Fuck, Humanity is Doomed
Maybe you heard about something or other that Trump just did, or perhaps you watched someone you respect make a horrible ethical decision. It’s possible that you read an article about climate change, or heard about a new advancement in artificial intelligence that’s supposed to eliminate a couple million more jobs. The most likely scenario, however, is that you just witnessed your friend steal one of your mozzarella sticks as you were coming back from getting water. (@Jessica, you better pay me back.)
(Alternatively…) Science is Awesome and the Future Will Be Amazing
Perhaps you have a friend who’s always up to date on neat new scientific discoveries, from LIGO’s colliding neutron stars to the fact that the T. Rex’s puny arms are actually used for slashing. They see the bright side of all new advancements, and love delving into the permutations, implications, and combinations of what could come next. These are the people you will be proud to have known in 50 years, and you could listen to them talk forever about how great things are going to be in the future. Thankfully, you’ll never be at a loss for these types of impassioned conversations—until you graduate, that is. Then you’ll realize that although technology is pretty cool, your personal future is less so.
I Got a B In My Class and Now My Life is Over!
Just kidding, this isn’t Harvard.