Book Discussion Group

Summer 2023 Book Reading Group

Fridays, 12:30-2:00 pm: 16 June, 30 June, 21 July, and 4 August
MCPS Library, 737 Heller Hall and on Zoom

Essays on Philosophical Subjects
by Adam Smith, edited by W.P.D. Wightman and J.C. Bryce.
Published by LibertyFund in 1982. Paperback.

~$15 for the LibertyFund version; 35% off coupon of SPRING2023 at checkout; expires June 30th;


June 16th: General Introduction, Introduction, History of Astronomy (pp. 1-47) pdf

June 30th: The History of Astronomy Cont’d (pp. 47-105)

July 21st: Ancient Physics and Logic (pp. 106-129), On the External Senses (pp. 134-168)

August 4th: On the Imitative Arts (pp. 171-213)

Please email Henri Chastain ( or for more information.


Previous Book Discussions

Fall 2022

Neal Jahren led a bi-weekly interdisciplinary discussion on Jessica M Wilson's recent book, Metaphysical Emergence (Oxford, 2021), which presents a systematic and unified approach to issues surrounding emergent properties and phenomena as being metaphysically distinct from the base phenomena on which they depend.  Her account is based on a causal powers metaphysics and draws primarily from physics.


September 23: Chapter 1 (pp. 1-38) Key issues and questions

October 7: Chapter 2 (pp. 39-74) Two schemas for metaphysical emergence

October 21: Chapter 3 (pp. 75-119) The viability of Weak emergence

November 4: Chapter 4 (pp. 120-154) The viability of Strong emergence

November 18: Chapter 7 (pp. 214-251) Consciousness

December 2: Chapter 8 (pp. 252-281) Free will

Summer 2022

Alan Love and Ben McMyler led a bi-weekly interdisciplinary discussion on Kim Sterelny's recent book, The Pleistocene Social Contract (April 2021), which presents a novel evolutionary framework for understanding the evolution of human cooperation and its evolutionary relationship to human cultural learning.


June 24: Chapter 1 (pp. 1-34)

July 8: Chapter 1 (pp. 34-53)

July 22: Chapter 2 (pp. 54-92)

August 5: Chapter 3 (pp. 93-123)