Socrates Cafes offer nights of philosophical insight


Photo credit/ Courtney Snyder

Members of the Marywood community got philosophical on Sept. 22 at the first Socrates Cafe of the semester. The topic of discussion: Is it okay to lie?

According to Annette Fisher, information literacy librarian, the group discussed the ethics of lying, along with what constitutes a lie and what defines deception.

Socrates Cafes are held on the second floor of the Learning Commons on the third or fourth Thursday of the month. Philosophy Department Chair Dr. Phillip Jenkins started the event on campus a few years ago.

Jenkins first started hosting Socrates Cafes in Scranton at the Albright Memorial Library in the fall of 2007, and soon after started events at Marywood as well.

The Socrates Cafe is inspired by Philosopher Christopher Phillips. Phillips published a book titled “Socrates Cafe” in 1996. The idea of the events is to get people together and promote an informal philosophical dialogue.

Jenkins said his motivation behind starting Socrates Cafes is similar to why Phillips started the events. Jenkins started hosting Socrates Cafes as a community service project, with the goal of promoting a philosophical dialogue.

By hosting Socrates Cafes, which are informal and open to anyone, Dr. Jenkins wants to “bring philosophy back to the people.”

Jenkins says there is no pressure for attendees to know anything about philosophy, and while discussions can and do go in depth on some topics, it’s meant as an enjoyable way for people to get together and talk about something.

“What I would like people to know more about [the Socrates Cafe is] it’s really just fun,” says Jenkins.

There were about 12 to 14 people at the first meeting of the semester, according to Jenkins.

Fisher, who helps Jenkins organize the events, said the meeting was a success.

Jenkins and Fisher invite students to attend next month’s meeting on Oct. 27.

Contact the writers: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]