The Dialectic Dining Club appears to be the "brainchild" of one Gregory Garretson. Not much is known about him except that he seems to spend an inordinate amount of time skulking around the cafes of Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is not clear whether he is affiliated with the university, or indeed, whether he is employed at all. He seems pretty harmless, though. More information may be gleaned here.

The Club is inspired by other such clubs around North America, notably one in Toronto started back in the 1990s (remember them?) with the impressive ambition of eating in every restaurant listed in the Toronto phone book. This club is not quite that ambitious (besides, Toronto is pretty far), but it does adopt the idea of a rotating venue.


This project is dedicated to the spirit of Heraclitus, a philosopher who lived around 500 BC in Chelsea, Michigan, or perhaps it was Ephesus, in Asia Minor. He was, in the words of the the great scholar Wikipdedia, "the first person in the history of the western world to have put forward a robust philosophical system." He is recognized as one of the earliest of the dialectal philosophers.

The term dialectic, according to the great scholar, refers to "an exchange of propositions and counter-propositions resulting in a synthesis of the opposing assertions, or at least a qualitative transformation in the direction of the dialogue." Such reconciliation of opposing views makes for great dinner conversation, and leaves everyone wiser, if occasionally a bit peeved.

The central idea of Heraclitus' philosophy is that change is constant, and stability is illusory. He is best known among philosophers for the quote:

Everything flows and nothing stands still.

But he is probably best known among non-philosophers for the modern adaptation of one of his quotes:

One cannot step in the same river twice.

Heraclitus believed that the polarity of opposites was necessary to bring about change, as expressed in this way:

Opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony.

You may be wondering what the hell this has to do with a dinner club. Well, these ideas form a neat background to the main components of this project: Conversation, which is a sort of working-out of different sides of issues, a continually changing location, and (hopefully) a gradual rotation of participants. It may well turn out to be a lot of fun.