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By Christopher Phillips, 241 pages                    (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.

By Christopher Phillips, 44 pages            (Tricycle August 2001)

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.

By Christopher Phillips, 256 pages                    (W. W. Norton & Company 2004)

Following in Socrates' footsteps, Phillips investigates timeless questions, beginning in the marketplace of modern-day Athens. He goes on to investigate the timely responses and outlooks of people from different cultures and backgrounds around the world, creating an innovative world survey of philosophy.

In Six Questions of Socrates, 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."

Along Phillips's journey, one learns both about Western philosophers from the ancient Greeks to Nietzsche and about the philosophical traditions of Native American tribes, Asian cultures, and the Islamic world. Phillips shows how "big questions" are inseparable from timely political issues, as when in Mexico his companions consider the question of "What is justice?" and discuss the endemic corruption of the Mexican police force and political system; just as the question of "What is piety?" has particularly intense meaning for a group of Catholics reeling from the priest sex-abuse scandals.

In his successful follow up, 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.

By Christopher Phillips, 44 pages        (Tricycle Press 2006)


Christopher Philips--known for promoting the art of Socratic inquiry to adults and older children around the world--now turns his attention to the very young. Ceci Ann 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.

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By Christopher Phillips, 320 pages                       (W. W. Norton & Company 2007)


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.

Six Questions of Socrates: A Modern-Day Journey of Discovery through World Philosophy

Socrates Café: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy

The Philosophers’ Club

Ceci Ann’s Day of Why

Socrates in Love: Philosophy for a Passionate Heart

Books by Christopher Phillips are translated into many different languages, check them out by clicking on the pictures on the right. From left to right, Korean, Polish.

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