Christopher Phillips

Soul of Goodness - Christopher Phillips

Soul of Goodness

(Prometheus Books 2022).

Christopher Phillips has devoted his life to carrying the torch of Socrates and his quest to “Know Thyself.” Yet upon the death of his beloved father and mentor, the originator of the burgeoning global Socrates Café movement had little choice but to confront the inescapable truth: that there are some things we cannot know for sure. This moving, insightful and ultimately hopeful and helpful blend of memoir and philosophical exploration begins in Phillips’ native stomping grounds of the tiny volcanic island of Nisyros, Greece and unfurls through space and time as the author explores the connections between his immediate circumstances and the eternal wisdom of popular philosophers. – In this personal and probing book, the acclaimed ‘philosopher for the people’ shares lessons gleaned from his intimate and often unexpected encounters with uncommonly perceptive human beings both living and long deceased, in the form of weary travelers and some of history’s greatest thinkers, from Heraclitus to Dr. Cornel West. Along the way, he charts a pathway for sculpting what Shakespeare describes as a “soul of goodness,” which meshes with Plato’s paradigm-shattering conception of the “healthiness of soul.” For those struggling to overcome the hopelessness that can result from grievous loss, setback, or betrayal – what Phillips’ touchstone Percy Blythe Shelley calls life circumstances “darker than death or night” – the author spotlights, with philosophical prescriptions both timely and timeless, how to cultivate a ‘Socratic spirit’ that leads to renewed love, forbearance, and hope at the other end of the tunnel. You can request your complementary GUIDE to the book HERE

Weaving together philosophy, social science and neuroscience research, personal anecdotes and dialogues, A Child at Heart: Unlocking Our Creativity, Curiosity and Reason at Every Age and Stage of Life, takes a radically different approach to the traditional boundaries between childhood and adulthood to reveal how rather than lapse into adulthood, we can achieve what the Greeks call arête—all-around excellence—when we look to children and youth as a lodestar for our development.

Childhood is our primary launching pad, a time of life when learning is more intense than at any other, when we gain the critical knowledge and skills that can help ensure that we remain adaptable. This book weaves together the thinking of philosophers from across the ages who make the unsettling assertion that with the passage of time we are apt to shrink mentally, emotionally, and cognitively. If we follow what has become an all-too-common course, we denature our original nature—which brims with curiosity, empathy, reason, wonder, and a will to experiment and understand—and we regress, our sense of who we are will become fuzzier and everyone in our orbit will pay a price.

Mounting evidence shows that we begin our lives with a moral, intellectual, and creative bang, and in this groundbreaking, heavily researched and highly engaging volume, Christopher Phillips makes the provocative case that childhood isn’t merely a state of becoming, while adulthood is one of being, as if we’ve “arrived” and reached the summit. His life-changing proposition is that if we embrace the defining qualities of youth, we’re not destined to become frail, dispirited, or unhinged, we’ll grow in a way defined by wonder, curiosity, imaginativeness, playfulness, and compassion—in essence, unlimited potential.

(W.W. Norton & Company 2011)

A central feature of modern political life in the United States is public veneration of the Constitution. The Constitution forms the basis of our understanding of the rights of citizens, it is the last argument of politicians across the political spectrum, and it has the moral gravity of secular scripture. This modern reverence makes Thomas Jefferson’s opinion of the Constitution all the more shocking: Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, believed that Americans should get together every twenty years and rewrite the Constitution to meet their current needs. Essentially, every generation of Americans would rip up the Constitution and start again. In CONSTITUTION CAFÉ: Jefferson’s Brew for a True Revolution, bestselling author and scholar Christopher Phillips puts Jefferson’s radical idea to the test and asks Americans from all walks of life to create a new Constitution.

(W.W. Norton & Company 2011)

Taking as his springboard for modern Socratic inquiry the five traditional forms of love as practiced by the Greeks of antiquity–eros (erotic love), storge (family love), philia(friendship love), xenia (stranger love), and agape (unconditional love)–Phillips sets out to explore, in a wide variety of venues around the world, with people of all walks of life, how we can become a more loving world today, and how we can and even must learn about the wise, loving ways of the Greeks of old–particularly those of Socrates, who embodied all aspects of Greek love at a time when his own beloved society was in deep decline, seeking to resuscitate those loving practices that might once again set his society on an evolving course.

(W.W. Norton & Company 2011)

In his successful follow up, Christopher Phillips poses “original” questions of Socrates–as recorded by Plato–in the most diverse cultural circumstances. This unconventional method of discussion brings out surprising commonalities–he begins with “What is virtue?” in the remains of an ancient marketplace in Athens and moves on to a Navajo reservation in the Southwest, where it turns out that the Navajo conception of virtue, hozho, includes a sense of order and harmony with the natural world both similar to and distinct from the conception of the ancient Greeks. In Detroit, Phillips discusses “What is moderation?” with a group of twenty Muslim women, some veiled, some not, who explain to him the Koranic notion of a “just mean” or “balance between extremes.”
Phillips continues this work, venturing to foreign lands and engaging in spirited and provocative discussions with people from many backgrounds: Japanese fifth-graders, Somalian refugees, a Mexican museum worker, an Israeli university student, Korean Buddhists… The responses uncover surprising commonalities between cultures and reveal the deep connections between classical philosophy, modern life and the rich traditions and experiences of people far removed from the “canon” of Western academic philosophy.

(W.W. Norton & Company 2001)

In his bestseller Socrates Café, Phillips describes his extensive travels across the U.S. starting philosophical discussion groups and recalls what led him to start his itinerant program to begin with. Recounting some of the most invigorating sessions, he reveals sometimes surprising, often profound reflections on the meaning of love, friendship, work, growing old, and others among Life’s Big Questions.

Children's Books by Christopher Phillips

The Philosophers' Club Series

(Originally published by TenSpeed/Tricycle and Penguin Random House).
Available in English and Spanish.

What is silence? What is wisdom? How do you know you’re here? Socratic dialogue—for kids? At least the answer to this last question is an easy, resounding Yes! The rest you’ll have to think about and discuss with your friends, which is just what philosopher Christopher Phillips is hoping for. He has long been leading thinkers of all ages on a thoughtful and thought-filled quest for knowledge, and this picture book models for young children that mulling over some of life’s big questions can be done anytime, anywhere.

Versión en español. 

¿Qué es el silencio?, ¿Qué es la sabiduría?, ¿Cómo sabes que estás aquí? Diálogo socrático…. ¿Para niños? Al menos la respuesta a esta última pregunta es un simple y rotundo “si”. Lo demás tendrás que pensar y discutir con tus amigos, que es lo que el filósofo Christopher Phillips espera que hagas. Christopher ha guiado por mucho tiempo a pensadores de todas edades por una búsqueda del conocimiento que es reflexiva y llena de pensamientos. Este libro ilustrado, modela a los niños que el reflexionar sobre algunas de las preguntas mas grandes de la vida se puede hacer en cualquier lugar y a cualquier hora.

Available in English and Spanish.

Worlds of Difference is the highly anticipated second book in the acclaimed Philosophers’ Club series. Written by bestselling author Christopher Phillips, founder of ongoing Philosophers’ Clubs and Socrates Cafes around the globe (the website is, Worlds of Difference takes readers of all ages on a rollicking exploration of the wonderful, dizzying, exhilarating worlds of differences. The book is for curious questioners of all ages — from 5 to 105 — and delves into such timely and timeless questions about differences as: What’s the difference between a winner and loser? Between a fact and an opinion? Between a part and a whole? Between young and old? And many more. Each section ends with a Questions, Questions, Questions sections, so those with insatiable curiosity can continue the philosophical journey of inquiry.

Versión en español

“Mundos de diferencia” es el muy esperado segundo libro de la aclamada serie “El Club de los filósofos”. Escrito por el exitoso autor Christopher Phillips, fundador de los actuales Philosophers ‘Clubs y Sócrates Cafes en todo el mundo (el sitio web es, Mundos de diferencia lleva a los lectores de todas las edades a una divertida exploración de los maravillosos, vertiginosos y emocionantes mundos de las diferencias. El libro es para curiosos indagadores de todas las edades, de 5 a 105, y profundiza en preguntas tan oportunas y atemporales sobre las diferencias como: ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre un ganador y un perdedor? Entre un hecho y una opinión? ¿Entre una parte y un todo? Entre jóvenes y viejos? Y muchos más. Cada sección termina con una sección de Preguntas, preguntas, preguntas, para que aquellos con curiosidad insaciable puedan continuar el viaje filosófico de indagación.

Days of Wonder Series

(Originally published by TenSpeed/Tricyle and Penguin Random House).
Available in English and Spanish.

Christopher Phillips–known for promoting the art of Socratic inquiry to adults and older children around the world–now turns his attention to the very young. The main character approaches her day with an open and questioning mind. Why? Why not! This winsome model for thoughtful conversations will encourage young readers toward critical thinking in the years ahead.

Día de por qué

Version en español

Christopher Philips, conocido por promover el arte de la indagación socrática para adultos y niños mayores en todo el mundo, ahora dirige su atención a los más pequeños. Una niña se acerca a su día con una mente abierta e inquisitiva. ¿Por qué? ¡Por qué no! Este encantador modelo de conversaciones reflexivas alentará a los jóvenes lectores a pensar críticamente en años por venir.

Available in English and Spanish.

This philosophical book for children and youth of all ages, Day of Who, part of the `Days of Wonder’ series, gives us the platform for further exploring one of the most timely and timeless questions of all: Who Am

Versión en español

Este libro filosófico para niños y jóvenes de todas las edades, “Día de quién”, parte de la serie ‘Días de asombro, nos brinda la plataforma para explorar más a fondo una de las preguntas más oportunas y atemporales de todas: ¿Quién soy yo?

Available in English and Spanish.

Christopher Philips is known for spreading all over the world the joys of philosophical inquiry to ‘children of all ages’ — anyone and everyone who has a passion for asking ‘Why? Why? Why?’ to their hearts’ content. And, for that matter, he also sparks in us an unquenchable passion for asking “When? When? When?” With “Day of When,” Christopher, founder of the global Socrates Cafe and Philosophers’ Club movement (, follows up his critically praised philosophical children’s book, “Day of Why ” with whimsical yet timeless “When?” questions. These puzzlers include: “When can you miss someone you’ve never met? When do you say something you know you’ll regret? When do you dive into questions that are deep? When do you face fears that give you the creeps?” In this ‘Days of Wonder’ series, Christopher aims to inspire all who delve into these questions to continue exploring the world in ways that forever open our imaginative, rational and empathic lenses to new ways of seeing, being, doing and making. By encouraging us to think in a dazzling array of colors, Christopher also opens up new pathways of communication between and among children, youth and adults, including but not limited to their parents and teachers. Happy Day of When!

Versión en español. 

Christopher Philips es conocido por difundir en todo el mundo el júbilo de la indagación filosófica a ‘niños de todas las edades’, cualquiera que tenga pasión por preguntar ‘¿Por qué? ¿Por qué? ¿Por qué?’ hasta saciar su corazón. También despierta en nosotros una pasión insaciable por preguntar “¿Cuándo? ¿Cuándo? ¿Cuándo?” En “Días de cuándo”, Christopher, fundador del movimiento global ‘Sócrates Café’ and ‘Club de los filósofos’ (, continúa la labor iniciada con su libro filosófico para niños, elogiado por la crítica, “Días de porqué” con la pregunta caprichosa pero intemporal “¿Cuándo?”. Estos enigmas incluyen: “¿Cuándo puedes extrañar a alguien que nunca has conocido? ¿Cuándo dices algo que sabes que lamentarás? ¿Cuándo te sumerges en preguntas profundas? ¿Cuándo enfrentas temores que te dan escalofríos?” En esta serie ‘Días de asombro’, Christopher tiene como objetivo inspirar a todos los que profundizan en estas preguntas para continuar explorando el mundo de maneras que abran para siempre nuestras lentes imaginativas, racionales y empáticas a nuevas formas de ver, ser, hacer y crear. Al alentarnos a pensar en una deslumbrante colección de colores, Christopher también abre nuevas vías de comunicación entre niños, jóvenes y adultos, incluidos, entre otros, sus padres y maestros. Feliz día de cuándo!

Available in English and Spanish.

What If bullies ran scared? What if misers shared? What if there was always room for one more? What if Socratic dialogue were part of our everyday? That is just what philosopher Christopher Phillips, bestselling author of ‘Socrates Cafe,’ is hoping for. He has long been leading thinkers of all ages on a thoughtful and thought-filled quest for knowledge. In this picture book a young boy wonders about how would life be like if things were not necessarily the way they are. “What If?” is the second book in the series “The Philosophers Club.”He is also the author of “Day of Why” and Day of When” the first two titles of his “Days of Wonder” series.• A novel teacher resource. Educators and parents are invited to visit our websites: and

Versión en español

Qué tal si los bravucones huyeran temerosos?, ¿Qué tal si los avaros compartieran gozosos?, ¿Qué tal si no tuviéramos que cerrar puertas jamás? ¿Qué tal si el diálogo socrático fuera parte de nuestro día a día? Eso es justo lo que el filósofo Christopher Phillips, el autor más vendido de ‘Socrates Cafe’, espera. Durante mucho tiempo ha liderado pensadores de todas las edades en una búsqueda de conocimiento reflexiva y llena de nuevas ideas. En este libro ilustrado, un niño se pregunta cómo sería la vida si las cosas no fueran necesariamente como son. “¿Qué tal si….?” Es el segundo libro de la serie “El club de los filósofos”. También es autor de “Día de por qué” y ¨Día de cuándo”, los dos primeros títulos de su serie “Días de asombro”. • Un nuevo recurso docente. Educadores y familias están invitados a visitar nuestros sitios web: y

Available in English and Spanish.

In Day of Should, part of his “Days of Wonder” series of philosophical books for children and youth (and adults!), Christopher, founder of the grassroots global Socrates Cafe and Philosophers’ Club movement (, follows up his acclaimed children’s book, “Day of Why ” with a whimsical foray in the ‘world of should,’ with questions including: “How should I live?” “Why should you try?” “Should I never give up?” “What should I believe?” “What stories should never close?” Christopher aims in Day of Should to inspire all who delve into its questions, timely as they are timeless, to explore the world in ways that forever inspire a curious questioning soul to live and love questions in ways that lead to continual growth as a human being. Day of Should opens up new pathways of exploration between and among children, youth and adults, including but not limited to their parents and teachers. Happy Day of Should!

Versión en español. 

Día de deber es un estimulante trampolín para explorar cómo debemos vivir. En todas sus obras, Christopher nos invita a encender nuestros lentes de cuestionamiento como lo tienen los niños y a convertirnos en nuestros mejores pensadores, indagadores y hacedores.
Uno de sus tres títulos de maestría es en la enseñanza de filosofía para niños. No es de extrañar, entonces, que una de sus obras de amor sea convocar clubes de filósofos con niños y jóvenes en escuelas, bibliotecas, guarderías y otros entornos diversos. Christopher es cofundador de la organización sin fines de lucro Democracy Cafe ( ), cuya misión incluye promover la igualdad de derechos para todos, incluida la ‘niñeandez’.

Other Children's Books by Christopher Phillips

There's a Mammoth in My Hammock

“There's a Mammoth in My Hammock So begins this whimsical tale, There’s a Mammoth in My Hammock, in which we witness the world through the protagonist’s wondrously imaginative prism. We recommend that you enjoy There's a Mammoth in My Hammock with a cup of herbal tea, especially as you read fanciful passages like this: “There’s a flea in my tea, Will it save a sip for me?

The Early Morning Princess

All the princesses in the entire world wake up at half past 2 p.m. - all, that is, except the Early Morning Princess. In this whimsical tale, Princess Cybele’s sunny seize-the-day disposition contrasts with all the other princesses, who conspire to find a way to make her sleep as late as they do, so they can continue with their shamelessly slumbering life. As they enlist the royal kingdoms the world over to find a solution to the 'problem' of Princess Cybele, in the end, it is the Early Morning Princess who teaches one and all a most timeless and joyful lesson.

Hay un mamut en mi hamaca

"Hay un mamut en mi hamaca” Así comienza el cuento fantástico, Hay un mamut en mi hamaca, en el que somos testigos del mundo a través del prisma maravillosamente imaginativo de la protagonista. Te recomendamos que disfrutes Hay un mamut en mi hamaca con una taza de té herbal, especialmente mientras lees pasajes fantásticos como este: "Hay una pulga en mi té, si no me apuro no beberé.”

La princesa tempranera

Todas las princesas del mundo entero se despiertan a las 2 y media de la tarde. Todas, es decir, excepto la princesa tempranera. En esta historia divertida, somos testigos de la disposición asoleada de la princesa Cybele (pronunciado Cíbeli) cuando se despierta temprano para no perderse nada. Esto da un mal ejemplo y avergüenza a otras princesas, ya que las princesas de todo el mundo se despiertan no antes de las dos y media. Mientras los reinos del mundo se unen para encontrar una solución, la sangre real de la princesa Cybele se pone a prueba.