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The Appalachian

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Socrates Café seeks honest answers, community involvement

In classrooms, there’s sometimes a limit on how passionate a discussion can be.

Not so at Socrates Café. 

For the past four years, the Department of Communication has fostered discussion through Socrates Café, a division of APPSpeaks. The group, which meets in Plemmons Student Union’s Whitewater Café before breaking into smaller groups, is meant to engage students in civil discourse.

“As students feel comfortable engaging each other as equals, we hope that they will begin engaging the world around them,” club advisor Jeff Motter said. 

 

The group doesn’t run from controversial topics — in fact, it thrives on them. Heated debates are the norm and beliefs are tested over controversial topics.

“The conversation is up to the people that come,” said Kara Flowers, a junior communication studies major who serves as a discussion facilitator. “It’s their conversation every time and it can get very heated.” 

And in that heated conversation, there are no right and wrong answers. Everyone in the group has an equal voice.

“In Socrates Café, there is no authority present who has the correct answer, only fellow participants trying to figure out an answer together,” Motter said. “Socrates Café requires students to engage each other, listen to what others are saying and creatively imagine possibilities.” 

Currently the group, which is based on Christopher Phillips’s book Socrates Café: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy, is seeking more community involvement. 

“We would love for this to become not just a campus thing, but a community thing as well,” Motter said.

To serve that goal, the group may hold discussions at the Jones House on King Street.

But for now, the group will meet in Whitewater at 6 p.m. each Wednesday, starting September 5. 

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