Meeting of the Minds Philosophic Inquiry Forum

Meeting of the Minds

The Meeting of the Minds Philosophic Inquiry Forum (M&M Philosophy) serves as a weekly forum for examining issues in order to further our understanding of ourselves and the world that we live in.

Meetings are open to all inquiring minds and free of cost.

Socrates and Real Philosophy: the M&M angle on philosophy

THE ENEMY: questions for the sake of questions, armchair declarations of unquestioned beliefs, intellectual exercises— Philosophy as we unfortunately Know it.

In 399 B.C., Socrates, a so-called barb-tongued Greek philosopher, allowed himself be put to death by decree of the powers-that-be in Athens. It was a death by poisoning that could have been avoided if only he had admitted that what he talked about was just that—talk. Those who were offended by his spear-like questioning and sharp observations of human nature didn't appreciate his philosophy.

There are two sides to every coin. This ancient philosopher's enemies said that he maliciously attacked established social institutions, including the belief in a pantheon of gods. He did. But his motive may have been other than mere destruction. His adherents often worshiped him as a truth-telling man-among-men.

It has been 2405 years since his death and the Socratic Method has survived the man whose name is still revered in philosophical circles.

The author of Socrates Café, Christopher Phillips, describes the Socratic Method as a model of "…philosophy as deed, as way of living, as something that any of us can do."

Phillips describes an open system of philosophic inquiry that encourages the questioner to approach the subject from many—or any—vantage point and states that the discussion group phenomenon called "Socrates Café" is based on a few basic, simple principles:

  • Common sense.
  • The highest degree of mental alertness that one is capable of.
  • Sincerity, humility and courage.

Phillips says, "Instead of focusing on the outer cosmos, Socrates focused primarily on human beings and their cosmos within, utilizing his method to open new realms of self-knowledge while at the same time exposing a great deal of error, superstition, and dogmatic nonsense."

This is probably what got him into trouble. The Greek authorities didn't appreciate questions about things that they held as self-evident; they didn't like examination of things that they had personally identified with and, consequently, hadn't even thought of questioning.

So if you ask, even today, "Why question things?" then it is possible that Socrates-style philosophy or philosophical inquiry will be as appealing to you as eating dirt.

If, however, you hear a distant bell in the following quotes attributed to Socrates:

"Know thyself."
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
"Wisdom begins in wonder."
"There is only one evil - ignorance."

…Then you are most welcome to join our "real philosophy" discussion meeting on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.!

For more information contact group organizer, David Weimer, at 740 526-0985 or email,