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Start my Own

1.  How to Get Started?

How do I find the right place to host a Socrates Café or Democracy Café (or even a Constitution Café)? Libraries, community centers, bookstores, and coffee shops are among the many great places to host one. Independent coffee shops, which are especially dedicated to reaching out to the community, are usually very receptive to the idea. Present the Socrates/Democracy Café concept to the owner or person responsible for the venue. Feel free to download articles from this or the Philosopher.org website that you can use when making your pitch for holding the gathering. Ask if the place, if a privately run establishment, could accommodate the group, perhaps during their slowest day and time so that you won’t interrupt normal business activity and might help bring in new business. Weekday evenings (except Fridays) are usually good times to host the event. In addition to venues for the public, please also consider starting a group for people who are at society’s margins: for example, people in prison, in nursing homes, in at-risk schools, in mental health facilities, in homeless shelters, in transitional housing shelters, and people who are recent immigrants to the United States.  You will likely find that libraries, one of our great bastions of democratic inclusiveness, are particularly receptive to these egalitarian and non-partisan gatherings.

If you’re starting a Socrates Café, Democracy Café or Philosophers’ Club (usually held at schools), or another dialogue group that goes by a different name, but that largely shares our goals, please tell us about it by writing us at SocratesCafe@gmail.com  For those starting an ongoing group, please remember that, ideally, participants propose and choose the questions, and please strive to have many different facilitators, if possible (sometimes it’s not).

Please note that Socrates Café, Democracy Café and Philosophers’ Club are our registered trademarks, and we do of course reserve the right to deny use of our trademarked names. The trademarks help ensure that the names are used by volunteers for live face-to-face gatherings undertaken with the specific nonprofit, community-creating purposes for which they are intended. They also help ensure that these groups specifically use the version/method/ethos of inquiry that we’ve spelled out on our website — the aim with this inquiry is to create a more vibrant and participatory democracy and empathetic society.

We particularly ask that facilitators and coordinators steer clear of using this venue to promote for-profit endeavors or for any other sorts of endeavors or agendas other than those clearly spelled out by our nonprofit. Your one and only aim should be to facilitate thoughtful, reasonable discourse that connects diverse people who hold an array of perspectives. And we ask that you model for other participants a keen respectfulness for and sensitivity towards the views and feelings of others, and to model open-mindedness and indeed open-heartedness. Facilitators: Please be sure to read carefully the guidelines below, and encourage other participants to do so as well.  Also check out this brief section on what our version of the Socratic Method (what we now call the ‘Socrates Cafe method’) amounts to.

2.  How to Facilitate a Socrates/Democracy Café

Now that you’ve found a coffeehouse or bookstore or other suitable venue to hold a Socrates/Democracy Café on a regular basis — and most importantly, now that you (along with perhaps one or more others) have made a long-term commitment to doing this, whether one person attends or a hundred — one burning question you likely have is: How do I facilitate one of these?

One of the main things to remember — and that participants and facilitators need continually to remind themselves — is that this is not about argumentation or debate; rather, this is all about exploration and inquiry utilizing a tried and true version of the Socratic Method that we call ‘the Socrates Cafe Method.”  This simply cannot be overemphasized.

So…What kind of question is appropriate? In a Socrates Café, just about any question can be grist for a meaningful dialogue. Or at least, virtually any question can be fine-tuned so it can be looked at in a philosophical way.

Example 1: When Timothy McVeigh was put to death, a person who wanted to discuss why this happened framed the question in a way in which the group could look not only at this particular issue, but a wide range of other issues of philosophic important that were related. The question became: “Who owns human life?”

Example 2: Soon after we went to war in Iraq, people wanted to talk about whether this was the appropriate course of action. To do so in a philosophical way, to look at it in both abstract and concrete ways in which this particular war could also be juxtaposed with wars throughout human history, they framed the question this way:  “What is a just war?”

Example 3:  A group of Socrates Café-goers wanted to examine the so-called “gay marriage issue” in a philosophical way, in a way that wouldn’t just lead to a knockdown drag-out debate of non-redemptive putting people down and showing them up, but a way that could really examine the issue thoughtfully, and also in a way in which gay marriage was looked at in the broader context of the institution of marriage as a whole, the question was framed this way: “What is an excellent marriage?”

Example 4: A Democracy Cafe centers more around questions that have to do with open societies in particular.  (These days, a number of ongoing groups alternate between Socrates Cafe and Democracy Cafe).

Some of the questions explored have included:  What is the role of privilege in democracy?  How can we stem fake news?  What do we do about the lack of exciting choices among candidates for office?  How can we the people be the driving force in making our communities safer and our elected official more responsive to our voices?  (And one differentiating element in these gatherings is that we often try to come up with concrete solutions or with steps towards achieving common ground that leads to concrete problem-tackling and problem-solving).

How do we decide on a question for discussion? How do we decide on a question for discussion? Ask the participants for questions. Encourage them to propose for Socratic discourse any question that is on their minds. Their questions don’t at all have to be traditional ones. Read all the questions aloud to the participants, and then have two votes: The first time around, ask them to vote on any of the questions listed — meaning they can vote more than once. But ask them to vote only for those questions that leave them feeling the least expert and the most curious and perplexed — because we’ve found again and again that those questions that leave you feeling

that the ground is shaking a little bit under your feet are those that are most worth interrogating Socratically (whereas, if you vote for a question in which you already think you know “the answer,” it will be a very empty exercise). Then, vote a second time, on those two or three questions that were the top vote-getters during the first round. This time, the participants can only vote once (the facilitator does not vote — if there’s a tie, flip a coin to decide the winning question). Chose that question which gets the most votes.

How do I launch a discussion on the chosen question? At the outset, let a few of the participants respond to the question in any way they please. But just when they think it’s safe to assume that this is going to be a free-for-all confab without any underlying method-start probing the question

in a Socratic way. That is, examine it for: 1) built-in assumptions, 2) embedded concepts, 3) differences of kind and degree, and logical consistencies and inconsistencies. Then try to seek out compelling objections and alternative viewpoints.

How do I find the question’s built-in assumptions? For example, when a participant asks an apparently deep question like “How can we overcome alienation?” you need to challenge the premise of the question at the outset. You may ask: Is alienation something we always want to overcome? Shakespeare and Goethe may have written their timeless works because they embraced a sense of alienation rather than attempting to escape it.

Where are the concepts embedded in this question? To probe the question of overcoming alienation, you first need to ask and answer such questions as: What is alienation? What does it mean to overcome alienation? Why would we ever want to overcome alienation? By separating out the concepts and exploring them individually, everyone will get to see the question from a new perspective.

What are examples of exploring “differences of kind and degree”? In response to the alienation question, you might ask: Are there some types of alienation that you want to overcome and other types that you do not at all want to overcome but rather want to incorporate into yourself? What are some of the many different types of alienation? How do they differ? But also, what are the aspects that link them? Is it possible to be completely alienated?

How do I know there will be alternative views? You may think you already can predict the responses. But you and everyone else probably will be surprised by just how diverse and eye- opening they will be. In exploring the meaning of the terms they use, participants will reveal and articulate philosophies of basic concepts they might take for granted. This is what makes for a spontaneous and thrilling discussion.

How do I deal with people who monopolize the conversation or who do not show respect for other participants? Since Socrates and Democracy Cafés are typically held in public places, anybody is welcome to participate. It is very important to create an environment in which all participants feel comfortable to participate and listen. If one of the participants seems to dominate the discussion and often interrupts others, the facilitator needs to be assertive and make sure that others have their say as well. If necessary, you may want to talk in private with the person and point out gently that he or she needs to be more considerate of others who also want to have their say. You should explain that quiet or shy people may feel intimidated if they are interrupted by more aggressive personalities and that you want to create and maintain a safe, caring, and supportive environment for all the participants. Once in a blue moon, a person simply will not abide by the parameters of discourse, and will persist in dominating and monopolizing and hectoring, despite your heartfelt attempts to explain the ethos of Socrates Café. In such an instance, you regrettably may have to ask him/her to leave, lest he/she lead to the dissolution of the entire group because of inappropriate behavior (if this does come to pass, be sure to encourage the person to start a discussion group that is more to his/her liking and that mirrors his/her preference for verbal combat rather than empathetic philosophizing).

How can I encourage people to speak? A good facilitator can create a healthy environment for exchange by setting an example for others. First and foremost, a good facilitator must be a very engaged listener. You need to be actively listening to what each participant is saying at the time; do not project how you are going to respond or what you will ask next. Also, make sure that all the people who want to participate have a chance to do so; look for body language or hand signals from people who want to speak. They may make a gesture to indicate that they have something to say, and after a while they may stop doing it because some time has passed or what they intended to say does not seem relevant anymore. If this happens, you can still give them a chance to voice their ideas by asking them what they think about what was just discussed.

Is it okay to have only one facilitator? In the beginning, you may be the only facilitator, because you took the initiative to organize the group, and because others simply don’t want to try their hand at it. However, over time, you should look for other participants, especially those who are particularly careful and thoughtful listeners and questioners (it doesn’t matter in the least whether they have a background in philosophy or not), who would like to try their hand at facilitating and who clearly grasp the nature of this type of inquiry. Socrates Café is meant to be a refreshing alternative, where an egalitarian spirit allows many voices. So the more facilitators, the merrier. Every facilitator will bring a different style, which will enrich the dialogues and help ensure the group’s long-term viability.

Do facilitators have to be neutral or can they express their perspectives too? Like everyone in the group, the facilitator of a Socrates Café is striving to become a better questioner. As a facilitator, you will see that it is very difficult to be neutral. The kinds of questions you ask in the course of a dialogue are themselves a reflection of your personal curiosity. However, you should strive to some degree to be more neutral than the rest. You are not a teacher, and your purpose is not to lead the group to a certain answer or truth. If you monopolize the discussion, others might feel intimidated or turned off. Your role as facilitator is to help and inspire others articulate their unique perspectives.

In the Beginning

At the outset of each and every Socrates/Democracy Café — and, depending on the flow (or lack thereof), you may regularly throughout the course of the dialogue, particularly if/when people start getting confrontational and lose track of what this is all about — you should stress to participants that this is meant to be a thoughtful and reflective philosophical sharing. For this to take place, each participant must need and want to cultivate his/ her capacity to become a more careful listener — indeed, the ability to listen with all one’s being to what other participants are sharing is the most important quality a Socrates Café-goer can have. Socrates Café is meant to provide a refreshing and exhilarating alternative to the way many groups engage with one another — it is meant to be the exact opposite of the mindless types of debates and diatribes and polemics and which he/she who speaks the loudest and interrupts the most and browbeats the best and engages in the most frequent non-redemptive oneupmanship “wins,” whatever that could mean. Socrates Café is meant to cultivate new habits of discourse in which the primary purpose is to inspire each person within the community of inquiry further to cultivate and discover his/her unique point of view, nothing more and certainly nothing less.

3.  Facilitator and Participant Dos and Don’ts

Do be an active and engaged listener. Respecting the ideas of each participant is a key element of a successful Socrates Café. Be open to what people have to say even if you disagree. The facilitator needs to let the group know that putting down others is absolutely taboo at a Socrates Café.

Do encourage participants to offer specific examples that back up what they take to be a universally accepted view. The facilitator should try to get them to support their perspectives with cogent, well-constructed, reasoned views.

Do question the perspectives offered by others and try to examine any perceived logical inconsistencies. The collective goal is for all participants, not just the facilitator, to become a more expert questioner.

Don’t allow the dialogue to become a one-on-one back-and-forth between facilitator and participant (or between one participant and another). Remember: this is a community of philosophical inquirers. So a good facilitator should involve everyone else at every turn.

Do make sure everyone has a chance to speak. Invite but do not pressure quieter participants to contribute to the dialogue.

Do be receptive to unexpected and unfamiliar responses. Facilitators should avoid steering the dialogue in a preconceived direction, as if they know better than others what the answers, or questions, should be. Facilitators are there as fellow inquirers, nothing more or less, but you do have a special role, which is to inspire each person further to articulate and discover her perspective than she would normally have the time or take the time to do. This means you must reject the teacher and guru model, at least for this setting, and instead be an incredibly careful listener who is there to ask those questions that will further inspire participants to reveal their unique worldview.

Don’t browbeat a participant or put him on the spot in a way that makes him uncomfortable. You should nudge participants into articulating their perspectives as clearly as possible, but if someone doesn’t have a response to your further prodding, move on to other participants.

Don’t strive for consensus. In the version of Socratic inquiry practiced at Socrates Café, it doesn’t matter if everyone begins and ends a dialogue with disparate perspectives. There’s never any need to try to force any sort of agreement.

Do remember the Socrates Café is just one version of philosophical discourse, and it might not work for everybody. For those who don’t seem satisfied with Socrates Café style of discussion, encourage them to form their own groups so they can promote their own kinds of philosophical inquiry.

Don’t try to bring the discussion to any sort of artificial closure. Most Socrates Café dialogues last about two hours. (If held at a coffeehouse or any venue that sells food and drinks, it is of

immense benefit to the owner if you take a ten-minute “pause for the cause” after an hour or so of discourse.) A Socrates Café is considered a success when participants leave a discussion with many more questions than they had at the beginning.

Do NOT ever worry about “attendance figures”, or judge a gathering’s success, by how many people show up. Whether one person shows up, or a hundred, the only measure of success should be whether there’s a thoughtful exchange between participants. Too many Americans obsess about numbers. It’s amazing how many people who have said they’re committed to starting a dialogue group quit after just one attempt, when they find that at least 20 or 30 people haven’t shown up from the get-go. This is a very sad statement about their genuine commitment to fomenting thoughtful discourse and deliberative democracy, but also betrays a mindless and counter-productive obsession with numbers. There were many weeks when we were getting started way back in 1996 when one, two, five — and even zero a couple of times — others showed up. They were all great gatherings (even when zero show, you can have a nice little dialogue with yourself!). What matters is commitment. If you keep showing up on a regular basis, at the same time and the same place, people will start to come, slowly but surely. Eventually, your gathering is likely to become a community mainstay. And you’ll also have set an example for others of commitment and dedication over the long haul, in a time and clime when most think the only virtue is instance success and gratification (though just the opposite is true — gratification should come from hanging in there over the long haul, and seeing your dreams becoming realized via dedication and perseverance in spite of obstacles).

Please keep in mind: This is not supposed to be a didactic directed group process. And do remember: there is no teacher or guide or guru to lead the discussion, but rather a facilitator who simply makes sure that the discourse is thoughtful and well-distributed among participants (and who models careful listening), so that everyone who cares to can take part. A directed or suggested reading beforehand is much too controlling, and too much like other types of groups that are claiming to bring philosophy out of the classroom, but end up bringing the classroom model along with them. After the dialogue is over, it is quite appropriate for anyone who took part to suggest to others that there are certain books they may want to take a look at that relate to the topic discussed, so participants can get a more keen sense that they are part of a wonderful questioning tradition that includes great thinkers across the ages and disciplines.

A Socrates/Democracy Café is meant to bring together as broad a cross-section of people as possible — emphatically including people who possibly can’t read (so there shouldn’t be mandatory reading beforehand), but who surely have very rich experiences to share in the course of a dialogue.

Can I use the name “Socrates Café” even though it is trademarked?

Socrates Café is trademarked to assure that people who are using the name and concept stay true to the Socratic method and to the specific volunteer and nonprofit, community-creating ethos set forth by our nonprofit. As long as you do so you, you are welcome to use the name and concept, but please do not forget to notify us about your Socrates/Democracy Café [or Philosophers’ Club] group. If you choose to use the name and concept, we ask you NOT to use it to promote other personal or business-related interests or to recruit or attract clients for your or anyone else’s business — e.g., consulting, counseling, coaching, etc. [We of course reserve the right to request anyone to discontinue use of the Socrates/Democracy Café and Philosophers’ Club names, or to prohibit its use from the outset, if it is deemed that they are is not being used, or will not be used, for the appropriate purposes.] We are a non-profit organization that wishes to stay true to the values that Socrates himself lived by. He never charged other people and he did not promise to “lead” people to a specific truth; rather, heinspired people to discover and articulate their own unique truths by their own lights. We ask you to do the same: stay true to this ideal and do not promote yourself as a consultant or guide or otherwise. These gatherings are meant to be a safe haven from such self-aggrandizing promotions.

What Is the Socrates Cafe Method?

WHAT IS THE SOCRATIC METHOD? 



excerpted from Socrates Cafe by Christopher Phillips 

The Socratic method is a way to seek truths by your own lights. It is a system, a spirit, a method, a type of  philosophical inquiry an intellectual technique, all rolled into one. Socrates himself never spelled out a "method." However, the Socratic method is named after him because Socrates, more than any other before or since, models for us philosophy practiced - philosophy as deed, as way of living, as something that any of us can do. It is an open system of philosophical inquiry that allows one to interrogate from many vantage points. 

Gregory Vlastos, a Socrates scholar and professor of philosophy at Princeton, described Socrates' method of inquiry as "among the greatest achievements of humanity." Why? Because, he says, it makes 
philosophical inquiry "a common human enterprise, open to every man." Instead of requiring allegiance to a specific philosophical viewpoint or analytic technique or specialized vocabulary, the Socratic method "calls for common sense and common speech." And this, he says, "is as it should be, for how man should 
live is every man's business." 

I think, however, that the Socratic method goes beyond Vlastos' description. It does not merely call for common sense but examines what common sense is. The Socratic method asks: Does the common sense of our day offer us the greatest potential for self-understanding and human excellence? Or is the prevailing common sense in fact a roadblock to realizing this potential? 

Vlastos goes on to say that Socratic inquiry is by no means simple, and "calls not only for the highest degree of mental alertness of which anyone is capable" but also for "moral qualities of a high order: sincerity, humility, courage." Such qualities "protect against the possibility" that Socratic dialogue, no matter how rigorous, "would merely grind out . . . wild conclusions with irresponsible premises." I agree, though I would replace the quality of sincerity with honesty, since one can hold a conviction sincerely 
without examining it, while honesty would require that one subject one's convictions to frequent scrutiny. 

A Socratic dialogue reveals how different our outlooks can be on concepts we use every day. It reveals how different our philosophies are, and often how tenable - or untenable, as the case may be - a range of philosophies can be. Moreover, even the most universally recognized and used concept, when subjected to Socratic scrutiny, might reveal not only that there is not universal agreement, after all, on the meaning of any given concept, but that every single person has a somewhat different take on each and every concept 
under the sun. 

What's more, there seems to be no such thing as a concept so abstract, or a question so off base, that it can't be fruitfully explored at Socrates Cafe. In the course of Socratizing, it often turns out to be the case that some of the most so-called abstract concepts are intimately related to the most profoundly relevant human experiences. In fact, it's been my experience that virtually any question can be plumbed Socratically. Sometimes you don't know what question will have the most lasting and significant impact until you take a risk and delve into it for a while. 

What distinguishes the Socratic method from mere nonsystematic inquiry is the sustained attempt to explore the ramifications of certain opinions and then offer compelling objections and alternatives. This scrupulous and exhaustive form of inquiry in many ways resembles the scientific method. But unlike Socratic inquiry, scientific inquiry would often lead us to believe that whatever is not measurable cannot be investigated. This "belief fails to address such paramount human concerns as sorrow and joy and suffering 
and love. 

Instead of focusing on the outer cosmos, Socrates focused primarily on human beings and their cosmos within, utilizing his method to open up new realms of self-knowledge while at the same time exposing a great deal of error, superstition, and dogmatic nonsense. The Spanish-born American philosopher and poet George Santayana said that Socrates knew that "the foreground of human life is necessarily moral and practical" and that "it is so even so for artists" - and even for scientists, try as some might to divorce their work from these dimensions of human existence. 

Scholars call Socrates' method the elenchus, which is Hellenistic Greek for inquiry or cross-examination. But it is not just any type of inquiry or examination. It is a type that reveals people to themselves, that makes them see what their opinions really amount to. C. D. C. Reeve, professor of philosophy at Reed College, gives the standard explanation of an elenchus in saying that its aim "is not simply to reach adequate definitions" of such things as virtues; rather, it also has a "moral reformatory purpose, for Socrates 
believes that regular elenctic philosophizing makes people happier and more virtuous than anything else. . . . Indeed philosophizing is so important for human welfare, on his view, that he is willing to accept execution rather than give it up." 

Socrates' method of examination can indeed be a vital part of existence, but I would not go so far as to say that should be. And I do not think that Socrates felt that habitual use of this method "makes people happier." The fulfillment that comes from Socratizing comes only at a price - it could well make us unhappier, more uncertain, more troubled, as well as more fulfilled. It can leave us with a sense that we don't know the answers after all, that we are much further from knowing the answers than we'd ever realized before engaging in Socratic discourse. And this is fulfilling - and exhilarating and humbling and perplexing. We may leave a Socrates Cafe - in all likelihood we will leave a Socrates Cafe - with a heady sense that there are many more ways and truths and lights by which to examine any given concept than we had ever before imagined. 

In The Gay Science, Friedrich Nietzsche said, "I admire the courage and wisdom of Socrates in all he did, said - and did not say." Nietzsche was a distinguished nineteenth-century classical philologist before he abandoned the academic fold and became known for championing a type of heroic individual who would create a life - affirming "will to power" ethic. In the spirit of his writings on such individuals, whom he described as "supermen,', Nietzsche lauded Socrates as a "genius of the heart. . . whose voice knows how 
to descend into the depths of every soul . . . who teaches one to listen, who smoothes rough souls and lets them taste a new yearning . . . who divines the hidden and forgotten treasure, the drop of goodness . . . from whose touch everyone goes away richer, not having found grace nor amazed, not as blessed and oppressed by the good of another, but richer in himself, opened . . . less sure perhaps... but full of hopes that as yet have no name." I only differ with Nietzsche when he characterizes Socrates as someone who descended into the depths of others' souls. To the contrary Socrates enabled those with whom he engaged in dialogues to descend into the depths of their own souls and create their own life - affirming ethic. 

Santayana said that he would never hold views in philosophy which he did not believe in daily life, and that he would deem it dishonest and even spineless to advance or entertain views in discourse which were not those under which he habitually lived. But there is no neat divide between one's views of philosophy and of life. They are overlapping and kindred views. It is virtually impossible in many instances to know what we believe in daily life until we engage others in dialogue. Likewise, to discover our philosophical views, we must engage with ourselves, with the lives we already lead. Our views form, change, evolve, as we participate in this dialogue. It is the only way truly to discover what philosophical colors we sail under. Everyone at some point preaches to himself and others what he does not yet practice; everyone acts in or on the world in ways that are in some way contradictory or inconsistent with the views he or she confesses or professes to hold. For instance, the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, the influential founder of 
existentialism, put Socratic principles to use in writing his dissertation on the concept of irony in Socrates, often using pseudonyms so he could argue his own positions with himself. In addition, the sixteenth-century essayist Michel de Montaigne, who was called "the French Socrates" and was known as the father 
of skepticism in modern Europe, would write and add conflicting and even contradictory passages in the same work. And like Socrates, he believed the search for truth was worth dying for. 

The Socratic method forces people "to confront their own dogmatism," according to Leonard Nelson, a German philosopher who wrote on such subjects as ethics and theory of knowledge until he was forced by 
the rise of Nazism to quit. By doing so, participants in Socratic dialogue are, in effect,' 'forcing themselves to be free," Nelson maintains. But they're not just confronted with their own dogmatism. In the course of a Socrates Cafe, they may be confronted with an array of hypotheses, convictions, conjectures and theories 
offered by the other participants, and themselves - all of which subscribe to some sort of dogma. The Socratic method requires that - honestly and openly, rationally and imaginatively - they confront the dogma by asking such questions as: What does this mean? What speaks for and against it? Are there alternative ways of considering it that are even more plausible and tenable? 

At certain junctures of a Socratic dialogue, the "forcing" that this confrontation entails - the insistence that each participant carefully articulate her singular philosophical perspective - can be upsetting. But that is all to the good. If it never touches any nerves, if it doesn't upset, if it doesn't mentally and spiritually challenge and perplex, in a wonderful and exhilarating way, it is not Socratic dialogue. This "forcing" opens us up to the varieties of experiences of others - whether through direct dialogue, or through other means, like drama or books, or through a work of art or a dance. It compels us to explore alternative perspectives, asking what might be said for or against each. 

Keep this ethos in mind if you ever, for instance, feel tempted to ask a question like this one once posed at a Socrates Cafe: How can we overcome alienation? Challenge the premise of the question at the outset. You may need to ask: Is alienation something we always want to overcome? For instance, Shakespeare and Goethe may have written their timeless works because they embraced their sense of alienation rather than attempting to escape it. If this was so, then you might want to ask: Are there many different types, and degrees, of alienation? Depending on the context, are there some types that you want to overcome and other types that you do not at all want to overcome but rather want to incorporate into yourself? And to answer 
effectively such questions, you first need to ask and answer such questions as: What is alienation? What does it mean to overcome alienation? Why would we ever want to overcome alienation? What are some of the many different types of alienation? What are the criteria or traits that link each of these types? Is it 
possible to be completely alienated? And many more questions besides. 

Those who become smitten with the Socratic method of philosophical inquiry thrive on the question. They never run out of questions, or out of new ways to question. Some of Socrates Cafe's most avid 
philosophizers are, for me, the question personified. 



from Socrates Cafe, page 1 8 - 24

Copyright 2001 – 2020

Please note, again, that Socrates Café, Democracy Café and Philosophers’ Club are our trademarks. This helps make sure that the names are used for the volunteer, nonprofit, community-creating purposes for which they are intended. We particularly ask that facilitators and coordinators steer clear of using this venue in any way to promote for-profit endeavors.