At Socrates Café people explore questions from their lives through public, non-academic dialogue. There are no prerequisites, and no reading or other preparation is required. At the beginning of each meeting, participants suggest questions, from which the topic question for the evening is determined by popular vote. Recently suggested questions include: What is the best religion? How is education different from indoctrination? How does language influence thought? What are war memorials for? Why have Socrates Café?
In Little Rock the Central Arkansas Library System (http://www.cals.lib.ar.us/) sponsors the following monthly Cafés:
2nd Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. at McMath Library (http://www.cals.lib.ar.us/about/locations/mcmath.aspx), Little Rock
3rd Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. at Terry Library (http://www.cals.lib.ar.us/about/locations/terry.aspx), Little Rock
4th Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. at Fletcher Library (http://www.cals.lib.ar.us/about/locations/fletcher.aspx), Little Rock
See also http://www.facebook.com/SocratesCafeLittleRock
The idea to explore philosophy using non-academic, public conversation was promoted in the book Socrates Cafe by Christopher Phillips. From the book:
"While an undergraduate college student, I took a number of philosophy courses. I was disappointed to no end that my professors did not encourage their students to see ourselves as co-inquisitors who were there to engage with the professors in the types of impassioned dialogues Socrates and his cohorts held. They tended to treat philosophy like a museum piece that only they, the experts, could discuss with authority. All too often they employed an inaccessible jargon that left students intimidated and bewildered, and vowing never again to take another philosophy course once they had satisfied their degree requirements."
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