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Christopher Phillips

Christopher Phillips has a passion for inquiry. A foremost specialist in the Socratic Method.

Christopher Phillips has a passion for inquiry. A foremost specialist in the Socratic Method.

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New York, NY, USA
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Christopher Phillips Biography

To date, Phillips has orchestrated discussions on … Solomonic topics at nursing homes, maximum-security prisons, churches, homeless shelters, bookstores and coffeehouses across the country, gently prodding students, urban professionals, unreconstructed slackers, street people and others to share their worldviews and scrutinize their most basic assumptions.”

–Los Angeles Times

Christopher Phillips has a passion for inquiry. A foremost specialist in the Socratic Method, he reminds us that we ought to ask questions – “not about any chance question,” as Socrates put it in Plato’s Republic, “but about the way one should live.”

Phillips believes that the process of dialogue and the space of human interaction are good for us as individuals and essential for us as a society. At a time when there are widening rifts between Americans, and when American culture is frequently perceived as exclusionary and self-involved, Phillips encourages us to approach others with greater openness and less fear. His goal is to inspire curiosity and wonder, to nurture self-discovery and democracy.

To this end, Phillips is the founder of the Constitution Café and Socrates Café dialogue groups. These groups aren’t just about good conversation, however. “It’s grass-roots democracy,” Phillips told Time magazine. “It’s only in a group setting that people can hash out their ideas about how we should act not just as an individual but as a society.”

“Phillips induces his listeners to examine their assumptions rationally, in hopes they will see the way to improving the meaningfulness of their lives. These dialogues are intriguing, interesting, and often unexpected, as Phillips modestly considers himself a fellow inquirer, rather than a didactic instructor.”

—Booklist

In his first bestseller, Socrates Café (2001), Phillips travels across America, launching philosophical discussion groups designed to stimulate inquiry and debate. In Six Questions of Socrates (2004) and Socrates in Love (2007), he expands the scope of his explorations, engaging in spirited and provocative discussions with Japanese fifth-graders, Somali refugees, a Mexican museum worker, an Israeli university student, and Korean Buddhists, among others. These conversations reveal surprising points of intersection between classical philosophy, modern life, and the intellectual richness of societies far removed from Western philosophical tradition.

To date, Phillips has helped create more than 500 ongoing discussion groups around the world. In the words of Time magazine, “Socrates Cafés have found a surprisingly large and diverse following.” The subjects under discussion are Life’s Big Questions: love and friendship, work and fulfillment, justice and religion, death and aging.

Phillips’s newest project, Constitution Café, is a space dedicated to the Jeffersonian idea of freedom: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In these groups, a broad cross-section of actual and aspiring Americans grapple with how they would sculpt the United States Constitution if they could start from scratch. In his upcoming book, Constitution Café (W.W. Norton, 2011), Phillips describes what led him to hit the road once again and launch an initiative aimed at generating a new, nationwide Constitutional Convention. Energized by the initial optimism surrounding Obama’s presidency and the fierce partisanship infecting Congress, Phillips wants Americans to understand and challenge our most fundamental freedoms—with a little help from Thomas Jefferson.

“If challenging received wisdom can be a precarious occupation, Phillips believes it’s as necessary now as it ever was,” says the Los Angeles Times. “America, he thinks, is politically and spiritually adrift, a condition not unlike that facing Greece in the time of Socrates.”

Dr. Phillips—who earned his PhD in Communications, and who has Master’s degrees in the humanities, the natural sciences, and in education—is a professor, writer and pro-democracy activist. He currently teaches in the graduate program in Media, Culture and Communications at New York University. He is also the founder and executive director of the Democracy Café and the Society for Philosophical Inquiry (SPI). Dr. Phillips frequently lectures on such topics as “Leading Change,” “Deliberative Traditions and Democracy,” and “Socratic Inquiry.”

Phillips, his wife Cecilia, and their daughter Caliope divide their time between Mexico, Virginia, and New York.

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  • What topics does Christopher Phillips speak about?

    Christopher Phillips is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include Authors, Business, Creativity Speakers, Diversity, Earth Day, Entrepreneurism, Environment, Leadership.
  • Where does Christopher Phillips travel from?

    Christopher Phillips generally travels from New York, NY, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Christopher Phillips for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Christopher Phillips for your next private or corporate function.
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    AAE Speakers Bureau is a full-service speaker booking agency, meaning we can completely manage the speaker’s or celebrity’s engagement with your organization from the time of booking your speaker through the event’s completion. We provide all of the services you need to host Christopher Phillips or any other speaker of your choice, including offer negotiation, contractual assistance, accounting and billing, and event speaker travel and logistics services. When you book a speaker with us, we manage the process of hosting a speaker for you as an extension of your team. Our goal is to give our clients peace of mind and a best-in-class service experience when booking a speaker with us.
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Christopher Phillips is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Christopher Phillips for your event is available upon request. Christopher Phillips generally travels from New York, NY, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Dave deBronkart, Frans Johansson, Anil Gupta and Tony Alessandra. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Christopher Phillips for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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