Philosophers’ Café

 

Having recently participated in a lively philosophers’ café I started thinking about the history of these informal gatherings which are aimed at a broad public for the discussion of social issues, moral problems, epistemology and the like. I suppose in some way they are a spinoff from Old Socrates who walked around Athens engaging citizens in philosophical discussions.

I have been involved since my SFU days when, with Dale Beyerstein, I participated in a few on the mainland. And then we had several over the years at VIU. [ Here, or here] In BC it looks like SFU is the mother of the cafés:

SFU’s Philosophers’ Café is a series of informal public discussions in the heart of our communities. Since 1998, this award-winning program has engaged the interests of scholars, seniors, students, philosophers, and non-philosophers through stimulating dialogue and the passionate exchange of ideas.

All cafés are free to attend. No registration is required.

A search on Google yields this: an article from “The Globe and Mail“, a link to SFU, and a piece in Wikipedia:

Café philosophique (“cafe-philo”) is a grassroots forum for philosophical discussion, founded by philosopher Marc Sautet in Paris, France, on December 13, 1992.

Here in Nanaimo we also have a long (fairly long) history of using these cafés to engage our community. Go here to learn more about current, future and past events.

And they are FUN.