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Friday, January 19, 2007



I've always wanted to join a Socrates Cafe, but there isn't one here. Any info on how to get it going? What do I say to start it off? What if nobody says anything??


Hi Sage,

Here's the Socrates Cafe website:


It gives all kinds of info and advice about the Cafe: starting one, facilitating it, location, etc.

When I started it and also when new people show up, I go over what the Socrates Cafe is all about. I give them the flyer that we post at the library. Much of that is cribbed from the Cafe website.

I give examples of the kinds of things we can talk and have talked about. I encourage people to come with topic ideas: things they've been wondering about; some experience they had or witnessed that left them curious about something; something they've read about in the newspaper - a story or an opinion piece; etc. If there's multiple topics proposed, take a vote. You can also decide to, say, spend 1/2 the time on one topic and the other 1/2 on the other topic. I find people are more interested and invested in topics they themselves have suggested.

I do keep in mind possible topics in case no one has any. These might be taken from current events, something I read recently, or some of the fundamental philosophical questions.

If no one says anything at first, I'd use a personal experience. The one I used was about being in a restaurant, seeing a father do something wrong, and not doing anything about it. Here's a post where I talked about it:


Our group is kinda small: right now we have about 4 regulars. Be prepared for it to grow slowly! Ours is held in the library bc it's a library program, but I think it might be better to hold it at a coffee shop, diner, etc. If you do the latter, you want to make sure the place gets some business out of it so you'll be welcome there. There's a coffee shop that's set to open across the street from the library; I'm thinking we may move there.

Let me know if you have any other questions and good luck!


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