Christopher Phillips

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For others named Chris Phillips, see Christopher Phillips (disambiguation).
Christopher Phillips
Discussing the Bill of Rights with New Jersey High School students, in 2008.
Born (1959-07-15) July 15, 1959 (age 55)
Newport News, Virginia
Occupation Author
Nationality United States
Alma mater College of William & Mary (B.A.) Montclair State University(M.Ed) Edith Cowan University (Ph.D)
Period 1996–present
Subject Socratic dialogue, philosophy, democracy, constitution
Notable works Socrates Café

Christopher Phillips (born July 15, 1959) is an American author. He is best known for his 2001 book "Socrates Café".[1] Public Radio International called Phillips the "Johnny Appleseed of Philosophy."[2]

Phillips's latest book "Constitution Café" was published in August 2011.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Phillips read Plato's dialogues when he was 12.[citation needed] [2] After graduating from Menchville High School, he received a BA in Government from the College of William & Mary;[3] Phillips himself has described this degree as "a bachelor's in political philosophy".[4] In 1997, he earned an M.Ed. in Philosophy for Children from Montclair State University's Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children.[5] In 2000, he earned an M.A. external degree in Humanities at California State University, Dominguez Hills;[6] Phillips himself has described this degree as "a master's in philosophy".[7] He also has a Master of Science in natural sciences degree from Delta State University,[8] which was the first of his master's degrees.[9] Phillips received a Ph.D. in communications from Edith Cowan University in Australia.[10]


Phillips freelanced for national magazines before starting philosophical discussions in cafés, coffeehouses, diners, day care centers, nursing homes, assisted-living residence, churches, hospices and prisons.[11] Phillips' idea of having open-invitation meetings in cafes to discuss philosophy was inspired by Marc Sautet, whose Café Philosophique Phillips joined after reading an article about Sautet in 1992.[12] In his most recent book "Constitution Café," Phillips chronicles his journey across the US facilitating dialogues, with the model from Socrates Cafés, on the Jeffersonian idea of freedom.[13]

Academic career[edit]

Phillips is a 2012 recipient of the Distinguished American Leadership Award, currently is Senior Writing Fellow at University of Pennsylvania, and founder of the nonprofit Democracy Cafe, which includes advisory board members Cornel West and Lawrence Lessig. Phillips has also taught at the graduate program Media, Culture and Communication at New York University.[14]

Published works[edit]


The books published by Phillips are (the ISBNs refer to paperback editions, where available):

Children's book:


Phillips wrote, among many others, the following papers:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Find the deeper meaning at 'Socrates Cafe' / The Christian Science Monitor -
  2. ^ a b Vasilopoulos, Vicki (June 13, 2004). "IN PERSON; Socrates' New Disciple". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ a b Williamsburg man challenges people to think about the Constitution -
  4. ^ Socrates in Love Talk at 00:40:02, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO, 23 Feb 2007, accessed 5 March 2014.
  5. ^ Montclair State University, "The 'Johnny Appleseed of Philosophy' Returns to Montclair", accessed 5 March 2014
  6. ^ Russell Hudson, "Alum Updates Socrates’ Philosophy, Captures International Attention", 2005, CSUDH website, accessed 5 March 2014.
  7. ^ Socrates in Love Talk at 00:40:05.
  8. ^ ‘Socrates’ Philosopher to lead events at Delta State, 2008, Delta State University website, accessed 5 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Coffee talk: Are Socrates cafes the antidote to modern life?", The Ottawa Citizen, 30 August 2005, accessed 5 March 2014.
  10. ^ Upcoming Lectures, Iowa State University website, accessed 5 March 2014.
  11. ^ Phillips, Christopher Socrates Café New York: W.W. Norton, 2001, pp. 5.
  12. ^ Montclair State University, Insight, "Alum brings philosophy to the masses" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 21, 2011), 15 September 1997, accessed 5 March 2014; Bill Workman, "San Bruno Thinker Spurs Robust Chatter in Cafes", San Francisco Chronicle, 21 May 1998, accessed 5 March 2014.
  13. ^ Phillips, Christopher Constitution Café New York: W.W. Norton, 2011, pp. 11.
  14. ^ Phillips, Christopher. "Home". 

NPR features[edit]

External links[edit]