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Democracy Café
A Fresh Taste of Philosophy and Politics
Category: Philosophy
Location: SocratesCafe.com
Followers (13)
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I'm the founder of Socrates Cafe -- see SocratesCafe.com -- and a noted author (Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy, The...


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February 21, 2018 12:33 PM PST

David Storey, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Philosophy at Boston College, is my kind of philosopher -- an accomplished scholar and dynamic teacher who also is dedicated to bringing philosophy to the public. Indeed, David asserts, if the profession of philosophy wants to survive, let alone grow and flourish, it needs to diversity its portfolio. And he think that philosophy, whose roots were outside the academy, "bolsters the profession if more people see effective, useful rewarding applications of philosophy," from Socrates Cafe to philosophical counseling, to ethics consulting with tech companies. "This adds to the value of academic philosophy,' he maintains. Listen in to this thoughtful exchange with David. (Be sure to check out his website at DavidEStorey.com)

February 19, 2018 08:32 AM PST

Ethan Randleas is one of six teenagers vying to be the next governor of Kansas. Ethan -- whose campaign website is https://ethanrandleas.com/about/ -- is running as a Libertarian candidate. Ethan insists he's not doing this for any sort of any gimmicky reasons, nor that he is tilting at windmills, but that he aims to be elected governor out of the genuine belief that he can best represent and realize the needs and aspirations of his fellow Kansans. Listen in.

[And thanks as always to our engineer and editor Odin Halverson, website OdinHalvorson.com for his invaluable help.]

February 18, 2018 09:11 AM PST

Peter Atwater, a sought after financial consultant, and author of the acclaimed book 'Moods and Markets,' believes that moods drive the market rather than the other way around. Right now, Americans are at an ebb in confidence. And yet, he asserts what FDR did -- namely that 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.' To Peter -- a fellow William & Mary graduate who now teaches there, and whose commentary frequently appears on CNBC, Bloomberg, in Wall Street Journal, TIME, and Financial Times (among others) -- the challenge in times of low confidence, is to recognize that our craving for certainty and control is innately biological and impacts our cognitive capabilities in helping people help each other, in those moments of great despair, to be hopeful and confident. Listen in to Peter's array of keen and entwined financial and sociopolitical insights.' (Peter's website is Financial-Insyghts.com)

February 17, 2018 02:00 PM PST

Nearly twenty years ago, there was a tragic school shooting at Westfield Middle School in rural Jonesboro, Arkansas. On March 24, 1998, Andrew Golden, then 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, opened fire on their teachers and fellow students. Four students and a teacher were killed that day, and ten were injured, including sixth grade social studies teacher Lynette Thetford. Lynette was shot in the abdomen but survived, and went on to continue her labor of love as a teacher, though even after undergoing extensive rehabilitation she still suffers from the gunshot wound. The memories of that day remain quite vivid with Lynette, now 61 -- more so than ever when yet another school shooting occurs. I spoke today with Lynette. Listen in as she shares her wise words about what we can do to greatly reduce the odds that such violence occurs again.

February 16, 2018 12:36 PM PST

David Palumbo-Liu, a respected Stanford University professor and scholar, is caught in the vortex of a Kafkesque predicament; he's accused by right-wing media outlets of being part of a 'terrorist group' because he helped organize the Campus Anti-Fascist Network (http://campusantifascistnetwork.com/) which in point of fact aims "to stem the rise of fascism" and "to stand with threatened members of our campus communities and oppose fascist mobilizations." David has received death threats since this orchestrated deliberate smear campaign, but amazingly maintains his equanimity. On our podcast, he thoughtfully explores with me how this nightmarish turn of events came to pass, what this says about the state and straits of our open society today, but also what we the people can do to staunch this latest rising tide of McCarthyism in an era in which social media can spread demonizing misinformation like wildfire. Listen in.

February 14, 2018 01:35 PM PST

Steve Lambert, co-founder with Steve Duncombe of the Center for Artistic Activism (artisticactivism.org), believes that art and artistry have an unrivaled role to play in ending oppression, sparking greater equality, and making ours more a world in which we all can live with leisure and joy. We can quibble over the details of how we best accomplish this, but Steve believes that most people -- even those who might be considered 'the opposition' -- want to achieve this. But first, he maintains, we have to be able to imagine such a world. And that's where the Center for Artistic Activism comes in. Listen in (and also be sure to check out Steve's personal website at VisitSteve.com, as well as that of Stephen Duncombe at StephenDuncombe.com)

February 10, 2018 09:55 AM PST

Steve Hornsby, one of my best and oldest friends (since at least 1975), is as young at heart, entrepreneurial and democratic in spirit, as they come. If you wanted to engage in great Socratic conversation, and absorb the best in family values, his home in Newport News, Virginia, was the go-to place in my youth. All of those in the Hornsby family I have had the privilege to know have met with unique forms of success (including their cousin, the musician Bruce Hornsby) over the years. As the founder and indefatigable organizer of the enormously successful College Prep Golf Tour (CollegePrepGolfTour.com), Steve has filtered his passion for golf and entrepreneurialism into a most unique venture that has changed so many young lives for the better -- and it all started because, as a dedicated dad first and foremost, he wanted to create something special for his amazingly talented son. Listen in.

February 08, 2018 09:36 PM PST

Charles Massiatte, founder of New Scholars of Texas (scholarsoftexas.org), soon to be a graduate of Harvard Extension School, and an associate at Martin Capital Advisors, strives to mitigate socioeconomic equality and eradicate 'this huge yawning chasm between people who have way too much and people who don't have sufficient for human flourishing'. One essential way to do that, he believes, is to ask and explore questions (and in a Socratic way at that) that can serve to help close that gap. Listen in as Charles shares with us his varied yet entwined ideas and approaches (including Universal Basic Income, decentralized autonomous organization) for making ours more a world in which every one has a chance to contribute meaningfully and to realize her higher aspirations.

February 08, 2018 08:18 AM PST

Hadi Alshaikhnasser is the founder and coordinator of a thriving Socrates Cafe in a place you might like least expect it to take hold -- Saihat, Saudi Arabia. He first became smitten with Socrates Cafe when, as a medical school student, he attended regularly the gathering in Montclair, New Jersey -- the very first one I ever established, way back in 1996, and meets weekly to this day. After then founding a group of his own in Omaha, Nebraska while on fellowship there, when Hadi returned to Saudi Arabia, he decided that Socrates Cafe should be a community staple there -- and that's precisely what has happened. Listen in as Hadi stirringly describes the wondrous kinds of transformations that happen as a result of inquiring regularly (and philosophically) the Socrates Cafe way. Hadi, for one, has come to be much more accepting of others, thanks to Socrates Cafe, because of the unparalleled opportunity it gives one to understand why others are coming from where they're coming from. 'We all probably want the same things, though maybe the way we go about getting those things is different,'" as he puts it.

February 06, 2018 09:47 AM PST

How do we raise children who reflect the best of us -- and how can they, in a sense, help raise us so we continue to grow as humans? No one on this planet better to pose such a question to than Meghan Leahy, immensely popular and acclaimed essayist for the Washington Post's 'On Parenting' column, and a much in-demand parent coach (her website is https://www.mlparentcoach.com/ ). Meghan has a gift for shifting one's entire outlook on what parenting can be all about -- 'always knowing what I don't know,' as she put it' Socratically -- redirecting from one of 'issues' that one needs to tackle to simply looking at things with deeper lenses of understanding and empathy, and recognizing there are no easy answers. Listen in.

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