The Cloverdale Library. (Grace Kennedy photo)

The Cloverdale Library. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Drop-in to a Cloverdale Library Philosophers Café

First cafe of the fall is Tuesday, Sept. 18

By Paul MacDonell

Twenty years ago Yosef Wosk started something wonderful: the Philosophers Café.

When asked about the origins of the program in an interview with Simon Fraser University, Wosk described how he felt that “there was something almost artificial or too controlled” when it came to a program he first developed called City Conversations. “I wanted more vibrancy and authenticity,” he said. “We decided to move out of the institutional setting, out of the building and into the community. We approached it as street-level philosophy.”

“The idea was to respectfully stimulate people to get involved in meaningful conversation. The setting of a café came because it allowed for an engaging, open, people-centered, non-institutional and casual venue. It implied a safe space where one could be nurtured by food and drink, friendship along with conversation, and that became part of the social model. In the beginning, there were people who thought that they may not fit in because they had not studied philosophy, but most people came to understand through the invitation and the reputation that it was more of a casual though focused experience.”

Cafés are now held all over the Lower Mainland, and we are very pleased to host two of them here at Cloverdale Library with moderator Daniel Sanderson. There is no cost, Cafés are open to everyone, and no registration is necessary. Just Turn-on! Drop-in! And Talk-on!

What role does luck play in our day-to-day lives?

Tuesday, Sept. 18, 6:30–8 p.m.

Philosophy Café Moderator Daniel Sanderson

Are you free to choose your future? What is the role of personal responsibility in freedom and do we really have a choice?

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 6:30–8:00pm

For more on Philosophers’ Café programming, visit

Paul MacDonell, Information Services Librarian for Cloverdale Library.

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