Christopher Phillips


Whether presiding over a Socrates Café, Democracy Cafe, Constitution Cafe or some other form of rich inquiry and encounter featuring the Socratic Method, 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 and encounter others with greater openness and less fear. His goal is to inspire curiosity and wonder, empathy and understanding — to nurture self-discovery, but also a “democracy without borders” that realizes more and more, on local and global scales, a world in which all can discover, realize and contribute their fullest potentials and talents.

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?

For Bookings:

Contact Christopher Phillips directly at:

Select Past Engagements

Humanities Speaker Series, Keynote, Valencia College

Amicus Curiae Lecture Series on Constitutional Democracy, Marshall University, Keynote

Civil Discourse in a Polarized Society, Florida Gulf Coast Univeristy

Rutgers University,  Rethinking Democracy.  Walt Whitman Center, 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

ReThinking Democracy, Rutgers University, Walt Whitman Center

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”

Iowa State University, Constitution Cafe

Inaugural Speaker, 2007, Rutgers University Honors Colloquia (my Six Questions of Socrates was their shared reading)

Select Features and Interviews

Engaging in Dialogue Across Ideological Divides and seeking common-ground during hyper polarized times, WGCU NPR/PBS

Carrying the Torch of Socrates, The Greek Reporter

The Philosophy of Socrates Cafe, NPR

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

Democracy Cafe Comes to Boston

Socrates Cafe author to lead discussion about democracy

Selected Essays

The Australian Philosopher Who Showed that Words Can Spark Barbarism — or Humanism, Zocalo Public Square Magazine of Ideas

Daring to Revise America’s Sacred Text, San Francisco Chronicle

Republic, Unfrozen, Harvard University, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Blog