The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

‘Ask a philosopher’ event encourages questions, shares wisdom with students

‘Ask a philosopher’ event encourages questions, shares wisdom with students - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Dr. Merritt Rehn-DeBraal,Instructional Associate Professor of Philosophy and coordinator for the philosophy program , Dr. Harris Bechtol, Lecturer , and Prof. Matthew Mangum,clinical associate professor , under the shade in CAB courtyard. The three hosted “Ask a Philosopher'' for students to learn more about philosophy. Photo by Dearius Cuellar

In the courtyard of the Central Academic Building, two philosophers stood under a shaded canopy as a line of students waited patiently to ask their questions — and get pizza. 

The philosophy program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio held an “Ask a Philosopher” event April 4 on campus. 

Dr. Merritt Rehn-DeBraal, Instructional Associate Professor of Philosophy and coordinator for the philosophy program said students can learn it’s good to ask questions and what classes the program has to offer.

Organizers passed out pizza and bottled water to attendees.Whether it was for their personal interest, pizza cravings or  in the common interest of their current classes, students of different majors attended.

Business management  sophmore Mika Mikhail, who came to the event because of his Intro to Ethics class, shared his perspective on philosophy after attending the event. 

“I really like philosophy because it gets you to open your mind by asking questions,” Mikhail said. “When you stop asking questions you stop exploring.”

Philosophy Lecturer Dr. Harris Bechtol and Rehn-Debraal shared insights on what philosophy is to them. 

Bechtol said philosophy is a way to understand the meaning of existence by asking questions such as “Where does meaning come from?” and “What is real?” 

Philosophy is “being curious,” said Rehn-DeBraal. “Socrates said that ‘Philosophy begins with wonder,’’ so it starts with asking questions and wondering about the world.

The event helped students learn more about not just how to  ask questions but also another field of study that they might not have known about beforehand. 

Bechtol said the most interesting question asked by a student at the event was, “Are the mind and body related in any way?”

Bechtol simply responded with a “Yes”.

He laughed and described the rest of his response to the student.

“There’s a distinction between the two, but to see the mind and body as separate is wrong,” he said.

The Ask a Philosopher provided a safe space for students to find answers to philosophical questions or whatever questions came to mind. The philosophers welcomed all questions with open ears and insightful answers. Some questions were even answered with more questions.

The philosophy program hopes to hold more events like this in the future. Bechtol and Rehn-Debraal said they hope to make “Ask a Philosopher” an annual event.

For more information about the philosophy program, visit 

About the Author

Dearius Cuellar
Dearius Cuellar is a senior majoring in Communications at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. He received his associate of arts from Palo Alto College and is a San Antonio native. In his down time he hosts a section in the student-run radio station and enjoys making music of his own. After graduation he plans to open his own restaurant and pursue a career in public relations or reporting.

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