What we're about

Café Philo is a way of meeting interesting, inquiring people who enjoy talking about life's big issues and conundrums in a convivial atmosphere in the Bristol and Bath area.

We discuss all manner of topics. Some are profound, others are decidedly not. We aim to have one topic per month, we hold events to discuss this topic in a number locations, often with two separate discussions in each venue - we limit numbers to 12 for each discussion (usually less in practice). Each discussion goes in its own direction, depending on the people around the table. A facilitator gently steers the discussion to help keep things moving, interesting and balanced.

Our discussions are non-party-political and free of religious or ideological dogma (most of the time at least). We encourage a healthy mix of the serious and humourous, so you can be guaranteed a lively, stimulating evening.

We're not academics or experts - just ordinary people from a variety of backgrounds who share a common interest in exchanging ideas about things which matter in life and meeting like-minded people.

If you're a heavy-duty philosopher you may find this group a bit lightweight. For anybody else, come along and get stuck into a decent conversation over a coffee or beer.

In addition to our discussions we hold some social events and occasionally arrange to meet for public talks.

Upcoming events (4)

Video talks, Discussion and Social get together

To be communicated

We'll watch a few TED talks or similar short, provocative or otherwise interesting videos. In between we'll allow time for discussion and chat. How it works: 1) Please send suggestions of videos IN ADVANCE by noon on Monday by private message or as a comment. 2) On arrival, select 3 video choices from the menu of suggestions 3) We'll watch and discuss videos in order of popularity - starting with the most popular. 4) Please bring drinks and light nibbles to share. (By "light nibbles" I mean things like crisps / nuts / grapes / biscuits that require NO preparation.) This event is in a private house close to number 3 bus route. I'll email the exact address to attendees.

How does our behaviour change when we are online? How does that affect us all?

CAFE PHILO IN THE AFTERNOON: We will be in the back room at tables 10& 11. Please purchase something before u you come in, we need to support this wonderful venue, as we do not pay anything to use the room, except what we buy . EASY TO GET TO: buses 44& 45, as well as 37, will stop right near to where we are. By car, go to Fire Engine Pub on the corner down a few feet and turn right into the parking lot We seem to be spending more and more of our social time communicating through electronic devices. Increasingly we are meeting people for the first time online – often never meeting face to face. How do the ways we present ourselves online differ from the ways we interact with people face to face? Why do they differ (if they do)? Which behaviour is a better reflection of our "true" selves? Is the opportunity to create/explore an alternative identity a good or a bad thing? Why is this easier to do online than face-to-face? How do you represent yourself on a dating site? In a chatroom or forum? In the world of gaming? On Facebook et. al.? Are your levels of truthfulness different from face-to-face – overplaying the positive and hiding the negative perhaps, or outright lying about your age, health, appearance, level of happiness…? What does it mean to be "genuine" in on and off line interactions? If you choose an avatar, what does your avatar say about yourself? Does it represent your true “profile” or is it an opportunity to explore another personality altogether? (The Proteus effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteus_effect ) Would you say things to people in an online chat or forum that you would find it difficult to say to people close to you in your daily life? Is it easier to “bond” with someone you have never met in person? This can be due to online disinhibition, which leads some people to reveal very personal information behind the shield of “anonymity” and leads others to use aggressive or negative language – it can even result in threats or cyberbullying. Is allowing anonymity just too dangerous to be allowed free reign? Or is it an essential safeguard for vulnerable people? What if you could only use the internet (or substantial parts of it) as a verified real person? Would that change things for better or worse? [Maybe call it the "light web" in contrast with the "dark web"? :-) ] How can we protect ourselves and those we love from Internet predators? How have our relationships with other people changed due to our close relationships with electronic devices? https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/is-social-media-messing-with-our-emotions/p065sprc In what ways can close on-line relationships with people we have never met affect our face-to-face relationships? What does the appeal of such relationships tell us about our face-to-face relationships? Are we spending too much time on the Internet to the detriment of “real-world” relationships? There is a label for this now: Pathological Internet Use or Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)! So tear yourself away from your screen for a few hours and come for a nice chat with real, live people. You’ll be glad you did!

How does our behaviour change when we are online? How does that affect us all?

NOTE: The Fishponds discussion has moved to MONDAY We seem to be spending more and more of our social time communicating through electronic devices. Increasingly we are meeting people for the first time online – often never meeting face to face. How do the ways we present ourselves online differ from the ways we interact with people face to face? Why do they differ (if they do)? Which behaviour is a better reflection of our "true" selves? Is the opportunity to create/explore an alternative identity a good or a bad thing? Why is this easier to do online than face-to-face? How do you represent yourself on a dating site? In a chatroom or forum? In the world of gaming? On Facebook et. al.? Are your levels of truthfulness different from face-to-face – overplaying the positive and hiding the negative perhaps, or outright lying about your age, health, appearance, level of happiness…? What does it mean to be "genuine" in on and off line interactions? If you choose an avatar, what does your avatar say about yourself? Does it represent your true “profile” or is it an opportunity to explore another personality altogether? (The Proteus effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteus_effect ) Would you say things to people in an online chat or forum that you would find it difficult to say to people close to you in your daily life? Is it easier to “bond” with someone you have never met in person? This can be due to online disinhibition, which leads some people to reveal very personal information behind the shield of “anonymity” and leads others to use aggressive or negative language – it can even result in threats or cyberbullying. Is allowing anonymity just too dangerous to be allowed free reign? Or is it an essential safeguard for vulnerable people? What if you could only use the internet (or substantial parts of it) as a verified real person? Would that change things for better or worse? [Maybe call it the "light web" in contrast with the "dark web"? :-) ] How can we protect ourselves and those we love from Internet predators? How have our relationships with other people changed due to our close relationships with electronic devices? https://www.bbc.com/ideas/videos/is-social-media-messing-with-our-emotions/p065sprc In what ways can close on-line relationships with people we have never met affect our face-to-face relationships? What does the appeal of such relationships tell us about our face-to-face relationships? Are we spending too much time on the Internet to the detriment of “real-world” relationships? There is a label for this now: Pathological Internet Use or Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)! So tear yourself away from your screen for a few hours and come for a nice chat with real, live people. You’ll be glad you did!

How the Light Gets In Festival

Globe Hall

This is the world's largest philosophy and music festival. It takes place in Hay-on-Wye. Lots of interesting talks and debates. See their website (https://howthelightgetsin.org/hay/) where you can buy tickets. I've been asked to publicise the opportunity to be a steward there. Some of us have done this before and really enjoyed it. See steward sign up page for details (https://howthelightgetsin.org/hay/info/volunteer-with-us). I've already signed up again as a steward. Stewards get free entry to events (space permitting) when they are not on duty, free camping etc. NOTE: Stewards need to be there on the preceding Thursday morning (23rd) for training. The "meet up" will be ad hoc and self-organising, depending on when/if people are working as stewards and what their interests are. I suggest those who are going exchange email address/phone numbers by private message, so that we can coordinate. There may be opportunities for lift sharing.

Photos (128)