Whether he is immersed in a Constitution Café dialogue, or presiding over a Socrates Café, Democracy Cafe, or some other form of rich inquiry and encounter, Dr. Phillips believes that the process of exploration and the space of human interaction are good for us as individuals and essential for us as a society.
At a time of deepening polarization, Phillips encourages us to approach others with greater openness and less fear. His goal is to inspire curiosity and wonder, to nurture self-discovery, but also a “democracy without borders” that realizes more and more, on local and global scales, the Jeffersonian notion of freedom — of a kind of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in which all can discover and realize their fullest potentials.
As a government major at the College of William & Mary, Christopher immersed himself in studies of Thomas Jefferson, himself a devotee of Socrates. As Jefferson wrote to his personal secretary William Short, “the superlative wisdom of Socrates is testified by all antiquity, and placed on ground not to be questioned.”
Socrates couldn’t have said it better himself when Jefferson exhorted his nephew Peter Carr to “fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness.”
And as Socrates said in Plato’s Republic, all our inquiries should lead us further along the road to answering that question of questions: How should I live?
Contact for lectures or events:
Selected list of some of Christopher’s past engagements:
Rutgers University: Rethinking Democracy. Keynote
Missouri State University: Third Annual Civic Engagement Conference. “Ask Not.” Keynote
Aspen Institute, Moderator, Teen Socrates Seminar, The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence
Florida State College of Jacksonville, Center for Learning Enrichment, “What Can I Do?” Keynote
Quinnipiac University, Socrates Cafe and the Philosophy of Childing
James Madison University, Madison Vision Series
Gemini Ink and University of Texas San Antonio, Breakthrough Thinkers Series
Illahee Lecture Series, Pacific Northwest College of Art, “Constitution Cafe”
Elgin Community College Humanities Center, “Childing the World”
Selected List of some interviews with and features on Christopher:
All the Right Questions, TIME Magazine
The Philosophy of Childing, WLRN, “Topical Currents”
What are you going to be when you grow up? WHYY Radio Times
Daring to revise America’s sacred text, San Francisco Chronicle
Want to unleash creativity? Consult kids, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
A volunteer teaches kids philosophy — and how to listen to one another, San Francisco Chronicle
He has a few questions for you, Los Angeles Times