This obvious clunkiness felt odd as before Phillips found his calling as a 'Johny Appleseed of Socrates Cafes' he was a journalist. Consider this passage for example: "'Why did you start Socrates Cafe? Even though it is quite warm inside, she has not removed her heavy blue wool coat, as if she might have to leave at any moment. She is among eighteen curious souls who have shown up for the first-ever Socrates Cafe I am inaugurating If we are to live lives as Socrates, we would do well to consider all the relevant sources on his life. To skim over Xenophon, whether by accident or intentionally, is a choice that must be defended, and Phillips offers no reason for doing so.
Regardless, I'm happy Phillips is sharing his understanding of Socrates with people, because from what he writes, it seems clear that its aiding people lead more fulfilled lives. We could all benefit from greater self awareness and keen questioning, which seems to be the point of Socrates Cafes. Shelves: philosophy. The book has inspired me to try and start a Socrates Cafe near the universities in Uptown New Orleans, once I get back to the city. I love philosophical discussion and yeah, getting to engage in dialog with people who will likely have a very different world-view then my own, would be most challenging for me and would help me expand my boundaries and grow in understanding.
View all 3 comments. Jun 12, Kate Woods Walker rated it really liked it.
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Accessible and readable, Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy by ex-journalist and philosophy booster Christopher Phillips tells the triune story of how he came to create the Socrates Cafe concept, what happens at a Socrates Cafe discussion, and how to start a philosophical discussion group of your own. This book, and the author's website at www. Especially inspiring were the tales of philosophical discussions among elementary students, and especially useful were the sections titled "What's It All About" and "How to Start Your Own Socrates Cafe.
Sep 16, Mallory rated it liked it. If you want to read this book for entertainment I suggest you find something else. Socrates is insightful and totally worth it to read but it is definitely something thick to wade through. At some points I had to make myself read the text out loud to keep my mind from wandering but at other points I was turning pages as quickly as a fiction novel.
This book has changed the way I view many things and most importantly it has taught me to question. I've learned from it that I can change something i If you want to read this book for entertainment I suggest you find something else. I've learned from it that I can change something if I'm not happy with it because I control my own future. This book will enrich your life greatly if you can only get through the boring parts. Oct 01, Jena added it Shelves: partly-read. I'm only on page 22, but so far this is one of the most boring, repetitive books I have ever read.
Possibly even more repetitive than Green Eggs and Ham. View 1 comment. Oct 11, Tim rated it liked it Shelves: , philosophy , nonfiction. This book was a mixture of two intertwined threads: a personal memoir and a meditation on the virtues of philosophy, particularly the socratic method. It deftly moved back and forth between the two, one moment describing the pivotal moment when the author decided to give up a cushy academic job to pursue his goal of leading informal discussion groups across the US the aforementioned Socrates cafe and the next providing a history of some particular aspect of philosophy for example, whether wha This book was a mixture of two intertwined threads: a personal memoir and a meditation on the virtues of philosophy, particularly the socratic method.
It deftly moved back and forth between the two, one moment describing the pivotal moment when the author decided to give up a cushy academic job to pursue his goal of leading informal discussion groups across the US the aforementioned Socrates cafe and the next providing a history of some particular aspect of philosophy for example, whether what passes for skepticism today is the same thing as the skepticism of the classical world. So what is a Socrates cafe?
The author describes it somewhat colourfully as 'church service for heretics. Here is a brief paragraph where he describes it: ' Socrates cafe-goers subject their beliefs, their worldviews, to cogent objections and alternatives. They recognize that philosophical inquiry requires each of us to evaluate radically and continually our beliefs, our lives, our selves, our place. They refuse to accept any class of so-called truths at face value.
They think it's always open to debate whether a certain set of beliefs is humane or rational, wise or good. And they clearly believe it is up to them to discover their place in the world. In practice, not so much. A bunch of people arrive at a predetermined location in the pages of this book locations were diverse: senior centres, elementary schools, prisons, bars, and coffee houses. The author records the freeflowing back and forth of a large number of these conversations — they probably comprise a good third of the book — and they are by far the best part of it.
Among the informal discussions included: What is community? What is the examined life? What is wisdom? What is friendship? What is belief? What is silence? What is love?
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What is equality? What is liberty? What does it mean to know yourself? What is subjectivity?
Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste Of Philosophy
How does it differ from objectivity? What types of things exist? What is curiosity? Is it possible to be too curious? What is ignorance? How does it differ from innocence? Do people have a right to be willfully ignorant? It was interesting reading the diverse answers different people came up with to these questions and occasionally being introduced to a perspective I hadn't considered. You can socratize your self, your siblings, your society, just about anything you can imagine.
This book was clearly written for a different audience than me: people who need to be convinced of the merits of philosophy in the modern world. As for myself, a lot of the material outside the lively discussions was already familiar to me, and I don't need to be convinced of the merits of philosophy. I wouldn't have any issue with it being part of the normal educational curriculum alongside such mainstays as mathematics and reading comprehension. This book is a good starting place for the curious. Jun 17, Rsoeffker rated it did not like it.
This book should be read if you fall into one or more of these categories: 1. You have never heard of philosophy and have never questioned anything in your life. You love hearing people gloat about themselves. This entire book is one giant collection of transcription from his chats.
Very little unique insight or ideas are in this book. The characters are typically social rejects who have serious mental psychosis. You will learn about many dull, pathetic characters such as: 1. The man in the renta This book should be read if you fall into one or more of these categories: 1. The man in the rental car company jacket. The purple haired girl who has deep thoughts despite her shallow appearance. The old woman who has nothing special to say.
And many more! Skip this mess and read actual philosophy. Jul 22, Marianna rated it liked it Shelves: books-read I honestly didn't finish this one. I reached a point where it started to seem redundant I love the idea of participating in a Socrates Cafe, but actually reading about them is a little dry. Dec 04, Ahmad rated it it was ok Recommends it for: Anyone studying philosophy. There are certain things I do not like about this book.
One of these is the writing style that the author chooses. It's amateurish to say the least in fact it reminds me of some of my recent attempts at prose. There is also an effort not to offend since one presumes that most people in this book do exist. That though makes it a tiring and all too polite read. And since when must a writer worry about not offending? Another fault is the avoidance of "real" issues at the cafes. Lots of talk on wha There are certain things I do not like about this book.
Lots of talk on what "what" is and if reality exists etc but nothing on real issues like politics, war, economics, morality and the like. You know the stuff that got Socrates killed in the first place. The writer also makes assumptions on certain issues which I completely agree with but which are not fitting for someone who claims to assume Socrates' mantle Socrates did question everything after all.
Another deficiency is that the book mentions many philosophers and philosophical theories but completely ignores non-Western philosophers there is no mention of ibn Rushd, ibn Sina, Ghazali, Maimonides, Farabi, Confucius etc and so it perpetuates the myth that philosophy is a solely Western preserve. In his effort to be "nice," I also think that the author is leaving out some details.
Despite the rosy theory painted, one can only imagine the type of raging religious and political dogmatics a Socrates Cafe would attract in practice. Having gotten that off my chest, I think the book is still worth reading. The idea is a noble one and there is much to gain from it.
Socrates Cafe also has tons of tidbits on philosophy theory and history which is invaluable to anyone doing an introductory course on the subject as I am. So despite its many failings, if you're into philosophy, it's well worth your time. If not, don't bother. Feb 03, Jamie Barringer Ravenmount rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction. I wasn't entirely thrilled with this book, maybe because of the constant theme of astonishment at the ability of ordinary people to provide interesting answers to philosophical questions, which felt awfully cynical and condescending to me.
Otherwise, though, this book champions an interesting concept, the development of philosophy clubs as a popular pastime. Getting people together to talk about stuff could certainly be a fantastic way to help improve communities, and the 'Socratic' question mod I wasn't entirely thrilled with this book, maybe because of the constant theme of astonishment at the ability of ordinary people to provide interesting answers to philosophical questions, which felt awfully cynical and condescending to me.
Getting people together to talk about stuff could certainly be a fantastic way to help improve communities, and the 'Socratic' question model that Phillips demonstrates in this book seems easy enough to adapt to any group's needs. It didn't seem genuine and it was just not something I could finish. Maybe I have read enough on the socratic method in other business books, and just knew the idea enough that all the examples wore me down. It just didn't seem genuine. Not saying it wasn't true, just that I never met anyone who would have all these details on appearance, location, topic, feelings, etc And who really cares if you had this type of person, or that type come up after the meetings.
It's the method and how it works, not a book to prove that all types of folks can benefit from it. If you never heard of the socratic method, and want a book that shows you a way to connect or solve your own inner issues or outer ones , give this a try. Some people may enjoy the way he tied the stories to people some might identify with.
I was looking for more meat on real world issues real people are talking about. To me, this is one of the rare times I have to give a book one star. Feb 09, Nicole rated it liked it. I liked this book. I'm sure each conversation was tweaked and improved a bit as per Phillips to make for better presentation. But regardless, I enjoyed it and found the dialogues interesting.
It's definitely great for the amateur philosopher, I liked this book. It's definitely great for the amateur philosopher, like myself. Jun 16, Divasaurus rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: people interested in philosophy, those who love thinking. Borrowed it from the library on a whim, and I loved it. It takes philosophy back to the masses, to the everyday people like you and I, and it gets us to think. If you love to think abstractly, this is a book for you.
If, however, you're one of those really academic types in regards to Philosophy, you might want to sit this one out since it's really for the layman. Unless Borrowed it from the library on a whim, and I loved it. Unless you'd like a fresh and simple approach.
Sep 16, Laine rated it did not like it. This is what happens when you pitch one line of a book to a publishing company and the author somehow stretches that single line into a page self help book. If I ever read another word about Socrates or how genius asking questions to learn is It was too much.
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I felt like i could have read the first paragraph and gotten the entire point of this "book" which really was a paragraph or so abstract of a page or so essay with a thousands of filler words. If you want to read this, read the back This is what happens when you pitch one line of a book to a publishing company and the author somehow stretches that single line into a page self help book. If you want to read this, read the back cover at the bookstore and go buy lunch instead.
Nov 09, Jason Robinson rated it really liked it. This is the second Philosophy book that I've read in the past two weeks that I have really enjoyed. Very accessible content for even the layman. Phillips describes the Socratic Method and how to set up philosophy discussion groups, which he has in many locales.
I attended my first meeting last night in Atlanta on some of the tenets discussed in the book and I was intellectually challenged and enjoyed it. Jul 01, Michelle rated it it was amazing. I am now fascinated by the concept of these Socrates "cafes" and will be in search to hopefully attend one in my area. I love that this book was written in a conversational way that makes for easy reading, yet was still done in a meaningful and thought-provoking way.
In an entertaining blend of memoir and philosophical reflection, a former journalist describes his adventures bringing philosophy to the masses through his Socrates Caf. Phillips travels the country starting philosophical discussion groups in caf s, schools, churches, community centers, prisons, hospices, nursing homes and senior centers. In each session, a question from a participant becomes the focus for free-flowing, sometimes contentious, communal inquiry. Questions spotlighted in this book include "What is insanity? These dialogues are lively and sometimes moving, particularly his account of how he met his wife.
But the quality of participants' opinions is often low, on the sophomoric level of such comments as "Communication is meaningless," and despite Phillips's efforts to probe, these dialogues yield few fresh insights. Phillips's own philosophical weakness is in romanticizing questioning as nearly an end in itself, claiming to run a "church service for heretics," even though his belief that "all so-called truths Nevertheless, as in the case of the usually silent fifth-grader who wonders out loud about the word "wonder" "I wonder what other kids think of me I wonder what they see, I wonder if they see a good person I thoroughly enjoyed reading Socrates Cafe and would recommend it to anyone who loves to think and read.
A great book. Worth reading.