Philosophical Communities

 

Resource authors: Jules Evans and Thomas Dixon

Grassroots philosophy groups have proliferated in the UK, the US and beyond over the last 15 years. This is in part thanks to social networking websites like meetup.com and Facebook, which have made it easier for organisers to publicise their groups: there are now 846 philosophy groups on meetup.com alone, some of them with thousands of members. Today, philosophy groups meet in pubs, cafes, bookstores, parks, old people’s homes, prisons, in virtual worlds and elsewhere. Such groups challenge formal models of education and traditional divisions between high and mass culture, and affirm the public’s appetite for informal philosophical discussion. This project examines and promotes the contemporary rise of grassroots philosophy groups. The project’s outputs consist of a 30,000-word research report, a seminar, and a website (www.thephilosophyhub.com), and has generated over 20 media articles and interviews so far. The report seeks to map the landscape of grassroots philosophy groups, and to bring together existing research findings and resources regarding those groups. The report seeks to ask: who goes to philosophy groups, and what do they get from them? It looks into the historical precedents for contemporary philosophy groups.

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