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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Author Phillips Speaks on Socrates Book at SBU

    The ‘Socrates Caf’eacute;’ is billed as a place where people canenjoy the freedom of communication. People can meet, observe and discuss philosophicalquestions on any topic they choose ranging from love to knowledge.

    Christopher Phillips, the author and founder of the Socrates Caf’eacute; wasa part of the President’#146;s Lecture Series and presented his ideals at theStudent Activity Center Auditorium on April 10.

    ‘My ambitions were so modest at first,’ Phillips said. ‘I justwanted to start a Socrates Caf’eacute; where I was living … in Montclair,New Jersey.’

    Now, Phillips travels across the country conducting a new Caf’eacute; at eachstop he makes.

    Phillips started the Socrates Caf’eacute; because he felt the philosophicalpractice by Socrates and others in the 5th and 6th century BC utilized a methodto know and comprehend who we are.

    Instead of pouring knowledge into someone, the Caf’eacute; attempts to be aforum where people can ask questions and discover new knowledge.

    ‘You almost can’#146;t help but become a better human being,’ Phillipssaid. ‘The more questions you have, the more you know yourself.’

    Phillips conducted a Socrates Caf’eacute; with his audience. A man in the backof the room asked, ‘What is the mind and how does it work?’ His questionprovoked others to share their thoughts for the next hour.

    Some philosophy students in the room shared their ideas. The mind is equivalentto brain function, one student said. Another believed the mind works on complicatedsystems.

    Naajiya Blight, a philosophy major said, ‘The mind is a faculty of thoughtand feelings.’ One woman thought the mind could be seen in two differentdirections. ‘I experience my mind from the inside,’ she said. ‘Neurologistsand the psychologists look at the outside. They look at brain activity.’

    George Jordan, a visitor, thought the mind is a part of every single cell inour body. ‘The function is to experience and to manifest wisdom,’he said.

    Philosophy professor, Harvey Cormier likes to think of the mind using the ForrestGump theory ‘stupid is as stupid does.’ Stupidity isn’#146;t somethingthat lies in your brain. ‘Stupidity is a function,’ he said.

    ‘It’#146;s the way you do things.’ According to Cormier, stupidityis a social pattern. ‘The mind is as the mind does,’ he said. Phillipsconcluded with the signing of his book, ‘Socrates Cafe’. He will continueto perform his Socrates Cafe in bookstores, schools, and prisons, and the responsehas been nothing but positive.

    Just recently he had his first Socrates Cafe in a maximum-security prison inRahway, New Jersey, where they plan to make it a permanent event. There arecurrently 80 groups across the world that conducts their own versions of theSocrates Cafe.

    ‘I consider my life to be eternally blessed as a result of being ableto have dialogues with people from so many different cultures,’ Phillipssaid. ‘It’#146;s amazing to see our thoughts are so similar.’

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