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The Meta-Olio Party | Why Philosophy?

at Think Olio - Crown Heights

Course Details
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Crown Heights, Brooklyn
1582 Atlantic Ave
Btwn Kingston & Albany Avenues
Brooklyn, New York 11213
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 15
Teacher: Jeanne Proust

What you'll learn in this lecture class:

Public philosophy seems to be quite fashionable lately. In this mise en abyme or meta-Olio, we will discuss together the challenges that such an activity faces.

  • What forms does this supposed democratic demand or interest for philosophical questions take?
  • Which parts of the “general public” are really seeking philosophy?

When the instructor host symposia open to the public like this one, she knows that most people who attend already have some level of academic education and intellectual curiosity for philosophical questioning… How about the diversity of the audiences?

Even if indeed there might be an increase of interest for philosophy among the general public, the question of the actual relevance of public philosophy remains. On the one hand, the skills required for popularizing philosophical ideas are difficult to master. On the other hand, the expectations of the public might be misled by prejudices about supposed therapeutic, or problem-solving virtues too hastily attributed to the philosophical activity.

And what about audiences who do not spontaneously seek this activity? On Rikers Island, the public, far from referring to a homogeneous general audience of relatively educated people, includes persons who rarely have the chance to engage in abstract reasoning due to living conditions, complex vulnerabilities, hierarchies, threats, and distrust – issues that most inmates have to face constantly. What type of public philosophy are we then speaking about? How can a philosopher shape her pedagogy – her andragogy (art and science of helping adults learn) – in order to convey a content that is often counterintuitive, and sometimes very obscure, without falling into oversimplification nor condescendence?

This event is meant as an exchange or a workshop way more than as a lecture. After all, this Olio is about you as an audience, receiving, but also leading the discussion. Your feedback, questions, suggestions, criticism, are strongly encouraged – and will be taken into account in the way we will shape our new philosophy club seminar!

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy
Cancellations made at least 24 hours in advance of the class will be honored with a full refund. Students who cancel less than 24 hours prior to the start time of the class will receive a credit towards a future class.


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School: Think Olio

Think Olio

Think Olio connects passionate teachers with unique venues and life-long learners

High-level learning shouldn't be confined to universities. Learning in an interactive group setting should be as affordable and accessible as a good meal, a movie, or a museum visit.

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