About Cafe Philosophy

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What

CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY is participatory public philosophy. It is dialogue rather than debate, convivial rather than academic, and exploratory, not hortatory. It is shared inquiry, but individual inquisitiveness is on display in myriad ways. Immediate social contact with your neighbors, CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY offers intellectual stimulation, congenial society and great fun.

Read this What Cafe Philosophy Means to Me,an article by Cafe Philosophy host.

How

Individuals have their say on their own terms. A cordless microphone is circulated through the room, and offered to any one willing to speak. Just raise your hand and, when you get the mic, start off by giving your name. People share experiences and reflections, learning more about the topic, but even more about different ways to think, and most of all about each other.

Café conversation jumps from the profound to the funny, from the personal to the cosmic, from politics to spirituality. Regulars and newcomers mingle and wrangle over pressing and perennial issues in a spirit of convivial controversy.

For ideas on how to contribute at CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY check out THREE MOVES

Who

People who attend CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY come from diverse backgrounds. Men and women attend in approximately equal numbers. We get teenagers, university students, working people and the elderly. There are artists, therapists, PhDs and cabdrivers. There are spiritualists, the scientifically-inclined, believers and skeptics.

CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY is a thriving community of minds. It has gone on weekly for over ten years, and held over 460 sessions. Average attendance per session in 2006 was 34, up 17% from the 2005 average of 29. So far in 2007 average attendance has been even higher, at over 40 people per session.

Après

CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY ends at the Solstice Café at 9:15 (participants are asked to vacate by 9:30 to allow Solstice staff to close down and clean up). But for several years now we have carried on an après-café nearby. Ask and ye shall be invited!

See the Après photo gallery

Voting

Topics for discussion are suggested by participants and determined by popular vote. Topics suggestions are put forward by participants, these find their way onto a ballot, and this is presented each season to determine the topic line for the subsequent season. This method has ensured wide and egalitarian participation in topic selection for several years. Soon, participants will be able to suggest future topics and even vote via this website.