Socrates Café

Beginning in January of 2020, the Ligonier Valley Library will sponsor a new program –


What is that?

A Socrates Café is a discussion club which brings together a group of diverse individuals on a regular basis (in our case once a month) to consider some of the profound issues of the universe. It takes its name from the Greek philosopher who originated a method of learning through asking questions, guided by, but not drafted by, a facilitator. Socrates Cafes exist around the world where people get together to discuss a life question which interests or challenges the group.

No philosophical background is needed. The discussion will be based on our own philosophies and will not necessarily focus on what the great philosophers and academics have said or written. There is no textbook and there will be no assignments. It will not be a debating society or a platform for proselytizing. Instead, we will place the emphasis on questioning, open-mindedness and challenging our own assumptions while listening to and respecting the views shared by others. Our group will propose and explore our own questions. And since our title includes the word café, we will enjoy some refreshments to stoke our thoughtfulness and energy.

Examples of questions some groups have discussed include:

  • Does life require a purpose and a goal?
  • What obligations do we have to future generations?

We plan to meet on the 2nd Thursday of the month from 5:00 to 6:30 PM in the Smart Room at the Ligonier Valley Library. We are lucky to have as our facilitator, Dighton Fiddner, Ph.D. (“Mac”), who is twice retired – first from the U.S. Army, and second from Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he was a professor of political science, and his assistant, local resident, Trudy Brisendine. They promise to keep us inquisitive and focused!

If you think this might be for you, or even if you are not quite sure yet, why not come along and give it a try? We know it will be a space where ideas and dialogue can flourish.