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Activities

Besides Socratic Dialogues, the Society also organises Colloquia and International Conferences in cooperation with its international affiliates. Here you can find more information about these activities.

Philosophy and Politics Conference to celebrate the centenary of PPA August 2022

This conference is organised jointly by PPA and SFCP, so there will be talks in both German and English, although mainly in German but there will be some workshops in English. The full programme is here.

Celebrating 100 years, the history of the movement will be illustrated and discussed in relation to how Nelson’s social policy applies today. The Workshops in English, entitled Varieties of Dialogue, will examine the markets for dialogue as well as the different methods, for example the ‘Forest Tradition’. These will be led by Prof Dr Sarah Banks, and Dr Julie-Marie ffrench Devitt. 

Philo Cafes 2022 – Cowes Library, Isle of Wight

There will be a warm welcome for you and lively discussion on these dates and topics at Cowes Library, Beckford Road, Cowes, 7 – 9pm Café Philo, or Philo Café, allows you to explore issues in a safe, friendly setting with other people, giving an opportunity to speak of those ideas you consider important and interesting and to listen and contribute to the ideas of others. It has been said that discussion in a Philo Café is ‘doing thinking’.

Meets monthly in Cowes Library. Full details for 2022 

May 4th 2022   Can I walk in the same river twice?

June 1st  2022   Generosity

July 6th   2022  When should I take the lead?

More abut Philo cafe here.

Woodland Socratic Dialogue (Suffolk, UK) 2022

The opportunity of being in nature, using all senses, to give an outdoor Socratic Dialogue a special quality. Exploring philosophical and ethical issues within the woodland environment – with a cabin in the event of rain – these dialogues and workshops are organised over a weekend in the late summer/autumn each year.

2022:

27-28 August

17-18 Sept

22-23 October

Contact: rachelkellett@gmail.com

Socratic Dialogue in the Woods

Mathematical Socratic Dialogue in Finland May 2022

Finnish Philosophical Practice Network and Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy invite you to participate in a Mathematical Socratic Dialogue – May 2022

Socratic Dialogue: Mathematical Topic Socratic Dialogue in English

Time: Helsinki 27.-29.5.2022
Place: Luova kulma, Hakaniemi / Creative Corner, Hakaniemi: Hakaniemenkatu 5, 00530 Helsinki

2022 Socratic Dialogues with the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom

The Royal College of Physicians are currently working with SFCP to undertake a formal research evaluation of the Socratic Dialogue process in collaboration with the East of England Deanery.  Over the last two years, several Socratic Dialogues have taken place with the Heads of School and trainee physicians to explore topics such as tackling unprofessional behaviour and breaking bad news. 

During the pandemic, a series of virtual Socratic Dialogues have been SFCP facilitated to help physician trainees to meaningfully explore the development of clinical skills and leadership during this challenging time.

Typical questions include: 

What makes a good doctor?

What is the best way to break bad news?

What is good clinical leadership? 

What makes a good death?

How do you challenge the opinions of senior physicians? 

For further information contact contact Dr. Julie-Marie ffrench Devitt: galangal19@yahoo.co.uk.


Past Activities

2020-1 Zoom Socratic with Anna Bromley

Face-to-face Socratic dialogues were not possible during the pandemic and many of the regular events throughout the year ground to a halt. As a result, I decided to give online dialogues a go with a small group of people I’d met over the years including friends, colleagues and fellow Socratic dialogue facilitators and participants. 

We followed a similar format to a traditional dialogue, starting with a question, an example, and then deciding upon a core statement to understand the rules and principles behind our emerging answer. There were tweaks to the format, of course. We didn’t have the luxury of time, so the example was often pre-prepared and the dialogue wouldn’t go so deep over the 2 or 3-hour period online, which is to be expected. The questions centered on a range of philosophical and humanistic ideas like freedom, tolerance, doubt, and success. Each dialogue had between 5 and 12 people joining with the sweet spot of attendees being around 6. Any more than that and it became difficult for everyone to have their say during the short period. 

Overall, I facilitated 10 online dialogues. I really enjoyed them and it was a positive experience for me and many others. It’s also worth noting that the type of people attending was more diverse as the dialogues were online and at the weekend, which contributed to broader discussions as time and location are often limiting factors for who comes to face-to-face dialogues.  

2019 International Conference Limits – Borders – Boundaries: Philosophical, Political and Cultural aspects

The 8th International Conference of PPA, SFCP and GSP was held at the Bildungs-und Tagungs Zentrum der Heimvolkshoshschule, Springe near Hannover in Lower Saxony in August 2019.

2019 Tamsyn Imison Award

This competition was aimed at both secondary school and university level students across Europe. Dame Tamsyn Imison was a prominent British educator and “educational strategist” who chaired SFCP for a number of years.  

Dame Tamsyn Imison

Link to the award-winning essays here.

2017 Socratic Dialogues with the Royal College of Physicians 

The Senior Policy and Training adviser from the Joint Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Training Board, Dr Miriam Armstrong attended a Socratic Dialogue Workshop in London during the summer of 2017. She was particularly interested in the Medical Board Members from RCP exploring the concept further at one of their training workshops. In order to discuss in greater depth, Mike Cook and Julie-Marie ffrench Devitt travelled to London later that year to meet with the Board Members from across the UK in order to present a formal overview of the Socratic Dialogue process.

As a result of that meeting a Socratic Dialogue was held with the Royal College of Physicians at their Headquarters in Regent’s Park, London in December 2017. The topic of the dialogue was:

‘What makes a good medical student?’

The SD was particularly well evaluated by all who attended and received a rating of 5/5 with many positive comments about the usefulness of the process. As a result another dialogue was held in October 2018:

‘What is reflective practice in Medicine?’.

2018 Sixth International Colloquium on Dialogical Practice and Dialogical Philosophizing (Cambridge)

Too place in Cambridge. The title was “Limits – Borders – Boundaries: Philosophical, political and social aspects”.

2017 International Colloquium on Dialogical Practice and Dialogical Philosophizing (Berlin)

Took place in Berlin. The topic of the Colloquium was “The Logic of Question and Answer” and it included various workshops. These especially challenging since they required the facilitators to plan on the spot. At the same time, however, the Socratic Dialogues prompted active participation and lead to fruitful insights and reflections.

2016 International Colloquia on Dialogical Practice and Dialogical Philosophizing (Sofia) 

Took place in Sofia, Bulgaria 2015 and Rovereto, Italy 2016. In Sofia, statements were given by speakers and discussed in group sessions, and short SDs were conducted and thoroughly reflected upon. In Italy the format was a bit different – no individual statements were given, except an introductory speech by Dr. Paolo Dordoni upon the main topic – interpretation. This was followed by a number of different activities, including discussion, working with texts, tackling a casus, Socratic Dialogues, and a group session on the main topic. Remarkably, this allowed the multitude of theoretical angles to converge, bringing about a cohesion between the participants.

Grete Hermann Workshop 2012 (Aberdeen)

Grete Henry-Hermann (1901-1984) was a brilliant critical philosopher and philosopher of science, who collaborated in Nelson’s scholarly work, was active in resistance activity in Nazi Germany, and later as a refugee in Britain. She took part actively in post war German democratic politics, teacher training, and chairing Nelson’s Academy. Though less well known as a mathematician, she shared developing ideas with the pioneers of quantum physics.

2009 Living together in our modern world – reason and role of dialogue (Chichester)

Held in Chichester, addressing the topic of “Living Together in our Modern World”.