Recent Meetings, Conferences, Colloquiums

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

February 8th 2024
When thought takes Flight

Collaboration with SFCP and Think together Sheffield in the Millennium Gallery – 8th February 7pm to 10pm
Report and photographs

February 9-12 2024
Struggling with Self-control

Socratic Dialogues in Muenster/Westphalia including a Dialogue in English, Wolfgang Dinges: “Struggling with Self-control

January 2024
When should we use artificial intelligence?

‘When should we use artificial intelligence (AI)?’ Facilitated by Anna Bromley
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a much-discussed topic at present, with citizens, businesses and governments debating its potential for good and harm.
Report and photographs

October 2023
What is my responsibility for the future?

Dialogue facilitated by Dieter Krohn
Lancaster Hall Hotel, London

August 2023
What are the limits of my responsibility for others?

Dialogue facilitated by Rachel Kellett
Woodland dialogue in Kaliwoods, Suffolk
Report and photographs

November 2022
When is it right to lie?

A Socratic Dialogue in a ‘post-truth’ era
Facilitated by Sarah Banks
Lancaster Hall Hotel, London
Report/Reflections by Rachel Kellett

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

This international gathering was to celebrate of 100 years of PPA and SFCP, begun in January 1922 by Leonard Nelson when he established the Philosophisch-Politische Akademie (PPA)
Report summary by Rachel Kellett
Report by Madelaine Angelova

May 2022 – Mathematical Socratic Dialogue in Finland

Finnish Philosophical Practice Network and Society for the Furtherance of Critical Philosophy held a Mathematical Socratic Dialogue in Helsinki May 2022.
Report by Anu Virtanen

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

The Royal College of Physicians worked 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.

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?

Contact Dr. Julie-Marie ffrench Devitt:

Philo Café on the Isle of Wight UK: 2015 – 2023

Philo Café on the Isle of Wight
Café Philo, or Philo Café, begun in 1992 at the iconic Café de Flore in Paris, regularly take place in Cowes town library. Sponsored by the SFCP and the Supporters of Cowes Library.
Information from Cowes Library

Activities 2000-20

Philo Cafes – Cowes Library, Isle of Wight There will be a warm welcome for you and lively discussion on these dates and topics at Cowes Library. 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’.

2020-1 Zoom Socratic with Anna Bromley
During the pandemic when face-to-face Socratic dialogues were not possible, Anna gave online dialogues a go with a small group of people she had 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. Over all 10 online dialogues were facilitated. “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 in 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. The award-winning essays are here.

2017 Socratic Dialogues with the Royal College of Physicians
After 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 2017, she initiated training workshops with SFCP. Mike Cook and Julie-Marie ffrench Devitt met with the Board Members from across the UK and started a series of dialogues from 2017-2022.

2018 Sixth International Colloquium on Dialogical Practice and Dialogical Philosophizing (Cambridge)
The theme was “Limits – Borders – Boundaries: Philosophical, political and social aspects”.

2017 International Colloquium on Dialogical Practice and Dialogical Philosophizing (Berlin)
The theme of the Colloquium was “The Logic of Question and Answer” The workshops were especially challenging since they required the facilitators to plan on the spot. The Socratic Dialogues prompted active participation and lead to fruitful insights and reflections.

2016 International Colloquia on Dialogical Practice and Dialogical Philosophizing (Sofia) Bulgaria 2015 and Rovereto, Italy 2016
In Sofia, statements were given by speakers and discussed in group sessions, and short dialogues 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, 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.

2012 Grete Hermann Workshop (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 worldreason and role of dialogue (Chichester)
The theme was “Living Together in our Modern World”.