Ontological miscreants have rights, too

Ontology (on-TOL”a-jee): (n.) The study of the concept of being.

Ontological anarchist(s) (on-TOLOG-ikal AN-ark-ist): (n.) Students on campus who want to challenge the traditional concepts of being. See also, Aporia.

Aporia (A-pOOr-ee-a): (n.) The perpetual, ironic situation in which certainties are masked as uncertainties. (n.) Existing without a path. (n.) The nature of Aporia may get caught between democratic impulse and elitist concepts. It is best to keep things small and intimate. (n.) A new club on campus offering alternative insights to the traditional teachings of the UAA philosophy department and philosophy club.

If those definitions via the words of Aporia president Sol Neely didn”t make much sense, don”t worry. It”s not just you.

Neely urges that to understand Aporia, interested people would have to experience the new club, which was admitted into the university”s Club Council this spring. The club is sponsored by philosophy professor Dan Kline, Ph.D., and some familiar faces from other campus ‘thinking’ groups stand in the ranks — philosophy club president Nick Flutey is vice president of Aporia.

‘The nature of Aporia emerged from the failures of the humanities in American academia,’ Neely said. ‘There are other thinkers we want to study who aren”t studied in school.’

Perhaps stranger than the definition of Aporia is the ironic situation in which it was organized as a club. Conforming to the regulations to maintain club status at UAA and simultaneously trying to represent and encourage challenging conventional systems and ideologies may make for quite a first-year challenge for these self-proclaimed ‘ontological anarchists.’

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For example, Neely said that Aporia will not actively solicit for membership. In fact, they aren”t really going to be holding meetings in the traditional club sense. In order to be a member, a group must be composed of six or more students and have at least monthly meetings, according to the bylaws of Club Council.

Neely”s solution to uphold those mandates while not actively encouraging membership or attendance is to hold monthly critical reading discussions.

First up for the intellectual chopping block is Herbert Marcuze”s ‘One-Dimensional Man.’ Marcuze and Martin Hidegarr are some of the ‘more subversive’ thinkers that Aporia will examine instead of the more popular Sarte, Socrates or Plato. This non-traditional approach is what makes Aporia different from other philosophy clubs.

‘Traditional academia has failed. We wanted to open up a new space for struggle,’ Neely said.

Aporia members and interested participants are welcome to attend this discussion scheduled for Sept. 24.

But at the heart of it all, both Neely and Club Council business manager Ken Hardy agree that Aporia is another opportunity for free thinkers to get together and discuss philosophical issues.

For more information about Aporia, email aporia@uaa.alaska.edu.