Whether he is immersed in a Constitution Café dialogue, or presiding over a Socrates Café or some other form of dialogue, Phillips believes that the process of dialogue and the space of human interaction are good for us as individuals and essential for us as a society. At a time when there are widening rifts between Americans, and when American culture is frequently perceived as exclusionary and self-involved, Phillips encourages us to approach others with greater openness and less fear. His goal is to inspire curiosity and wonder, to nurture not just self-discovery, but a “democracy without borders” that realizes more and more, on local and global scales, the Jeffersonian notion of freedom — of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
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… Do not be frightened by this inquiry by any fear of its consequences.”
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