Skye & Massimo's Philosophy Cafe: The Dark Side of Generosity

Monday, November 5, 2018 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Ceremonial Hall, 4th Floor
$5 Nonmembers

The Café is run by philosophers Skye Cleary ( and Massimo Pigliucci ( It is based on the principle of the Socratic dialogue. Every meeting has a simple theme (e.g., should we be afraid of death? What's the ethics of eating?), which is introduced by Skye and Massimo on the basis of short, accessible, suggested (but not mandatory!) readings. The rest of the meeting then features an open discussion among participants, facilitated by Skye and Massimo, aiming at sharpening our thinking about whatever subject matter is being examined.

Topic: The Dark Side of Generosity

The holidays are supposed to be about reconnecting with family, generosity, and gratefulness. For others, it’s supposed to be about the rededication of, and to, a sacred temple. But it’s often not. Instead, all too often it’s a dreaded chore, filled with stressful shopping, hidden disappointment, feigned joy, or loneliness. Zombie-like feeding of the consumerist monster is the standard objection to holiday gift-giving. Yet there’s another, darker side to generosity: when it’s used as means of exercising power over another. We are expected to be appreciative of gifts, regardless of whether they’re wanted or thoughtful. In celebration of the upcoming holiday period, we’ll discuss the good, the bad and the ugly sides of generosity.

Suggested readings: and

For more information, visit the Cafe's Meetup page:

Meeting dates subject to change.