His experience, his writing, his method, his hopes.
Dr. Michael Picard has studied philosophy in Canada, Germany and the US as well as made a philosophical pilgrimage of sorts to India. He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at MIT, having written on the philosophical foundations of mathematics. For the last eleven years, in addition to various teaching posts and writing projects, he has facilitated dialogue at CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY in Victoria, BC, Canada. He has hosted close to 500 of these dialogue sessions.
Dr. Picard undertook CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY out of a love of philosophy, frustrated after failing to be confined to the narrow halls of academe. Most weeks he writes essays on the upcoming topic, and distributes them to interested participants and regular readers. The essays are NOT required reading, and they are rarely the focus of dialogue. But they do stimulate thought in advance of the weekly topic. (You can receive these essays, and a timely topic reminder by first registering on www.cafe-philosophy.com, and then subscribing to the CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY Weekly Circular.)
You can find out more about him in the media articles pertaining to CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY, and also on his other websites, www.philosophy-shop.com and www.zendog.ca. (The latter is currently a disaster undergoing construction, but will be transformed soon.) Picard is author of This is Not a Book (2007), published in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and the UK.
At CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY sessions, Picard passes a wireless microphone around the room, soliciting and responding to comments made by participants. For the most part, his comments generally seek to recap or elucidate what speakers have contributed, or to contrast it with opposing ideas that others have expressed. He cultivates diversity of opinion and clarity of thought, rather than uniform agreement or polemical victory.
Picard believes that CAFÉ PHILOSOPHY will be more successful when yet more diversity, and yet more divergent opinions are represented in our dialogues, and when people of many ages, walks of life, ethnicities and political stripes feel they can all be present and be heard in the tolerant spirit of free inquiry that pervades our conversations. To that end, he invites young and old, students and the retired, Canadians and foreigners (ESL Students welcome!), believers and non-believers, people of all religions, visitors and people from all cultures, as well as locals from all over, to join in the philosophical fun.