"A bracing, rollicking read about the spark that ignites when people start asking meaningful questions."—O MagazineChristopher Phillips is a man on a mission: to revive the love of questions that Socrates inspired long ago in ancient Athens. "Like a Johnny Appleseed with a master's degree, Phillips has gallivanted back and forth across America, to cafés and coffee shops, senior centers, assisted-living complexes, prisons, libraries, day-care centers, elementary and high schools, and churches, forming lasting communities of inquiry" (Utne Reader). Phillips not only presents the fundamentals of philosophical thought in this "charming, Philosophy for Dummies-type guide" (USA Today); he also recalls what led him to start his itinerant program and re-creates some of the most invigorating sessions, which come to reveal sometimes surprising, often profound reflections on the meaning of love, friendship, work, growing old, and others among Life's Big Questions. "How to Start Your Own Socrates Café" guide included.
Phillips seizes upon what the Greeks called "elenchus," a method of inquiry that helps people see their own beliefs and opinions more clearly. In the course of the numerous Socrates cafés highlighted in this book, Phillips persistently reminds us that we ought to ask questions simply because the process is good for us. In each of the cafés, the participants vary as widely as the questions, and the dialogues are by turns candid, insightful, muddled, intelligent, bland, and piquant. The real meaning of Socrates Café lies in the contentious and wonderful space of human interaction. --Eric de Place