Philosophy as Chicken Soup: About the Cyber-café-philo

Adrianísima in Hippo Reads:

Kaboompics.com_Female-hands-with-jewelry-and-cup-of-coffee-750x400Esther Charabati, coordinator of the oldest café-philo in Mexico City, defines café-philo as a space built on ideas, opinions, and doubts of people who meet at a coffee shop—public space par excellence, she says—and who debate on subjects they consider important but who do not often discuss because of lack of time or a proper arena. It is neither a philosophy class nor a parade of philosophical ideas through history but “coffeshop philosophy,” guided by a philosopher who does not intend the participants to (only) “learn” but to dialogue and to make them come to conclusions by themselves. Her job is to induce “philosophical moments” in which participants go from just an opinion to an original thought, to elucidate concepts alongside them and to face them with their own prejudices. The café-philo is like a small democracy, says Charabati, in which everybody tries to get philosophical insights from each other.

Although catastrophists still sometimes use the idea as a sociological boogie man, we know that smartphones and social media haven’t ended with face to face relationships, and furthermore, culture is being shared now more than in any other age because of the internet. It is almost a truism already.

However, if Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Youtube are environments where conversations, debate and deliberation take place, is the idea of a global cyber-café-philo possible? One may say that when we discuss politics, defend some cause or theorize on the nature of some relationship or artistic work, with no other intention than to understand and/or explain things, we are philosophizing on a sort of natural, maieutic fashion, right?

More here.