Philosophy in Pubs (PIPs) is a grass roots community organisation promoting and practising community philosophy in the UK and worldwide. We believe that it is good for people to address big questions, whether they be ethical, political, social, personal or universal - and good for people to encounter views different from their own in a friendly, non-combative, but constructively-critical environment. These sort of conversations in our public spaces can be good for our democracy, good for our personal wellbeing and can provide social spaces for conversations which people do not encounter in the rest of their lives.
Facilitation is key to the success of Philosophy in Pubs enquiries. Anyone can attend one of our sessions, but we hope to provide more than simply a place for meandering conversation. Un-facilitated conversations may turn out well, but at their worst, they might be dominated by particular individuals, mute less-assertive personalities, fail to focus on the topic at hand and seem like it is simply a succession of people stating their opinions without people trying to address why people think differently and come to a more advanced perspective across the group.
To improve our conversations, we're aiming to raise enough capital to train 16 people in how to deliver a philosophical enquiry in a community setting by attending a tailored version of part of the Stage 1 Course 'An introduction to Philosophical Enquiry (PhiE)' offered by the Philosophy Foundation. Once these people have been trained, they will be able to co-ordinate philosophical conversations with in PIPs groups across Oxfordshire and beyond, increasing the standard of our conversation and allowing more conversations to happen. There are a number of people in the Oxfordshire area who are interested in attending the course and there may be interest from other PIPs groups across the UK and beyond. We're aiming to run this session at a weekend sometime in June or July.
It terms of the cost, I'm hoping that we can co-fund this between the 'subs' our members donate at each of our meetings, some money given generously through CrowdFunder and a contribution somewhere in the region of £20-30 for each attendee at the course for those who can afford to pay. The minimum amount which we would need to collect through CrowdFunder to make the course runnable would be £310, but I hope that we will be able to raise more in order to reduce the cost passed on to individuals - especially any which are financially stretched. Although it might be right that the trainees attending the course contribute somewhat towards the training as they will benefit from attending, the communities in which they deliver future philosophical enquiries will be the real beneficiaries of the training and the attendees are already contributing their own time to attend the training and to facilitate sessions in the future.
The delivery of this course will coincide with an effort in the coming months to establish more local Philosophy in Pubs groups throughout Oxfordshire and the region so that people in local areas can benefit from attending a local community group talking about the issues which they want to talk about. See our page on setting up a new Philosophy in Pubs group page for more. This course will give people the skills and confidence to establish groups in their local areas and provide communities with a structured space to discuss important matters.