`The Philosophers' Club' teaches critical thinking


September 20, 2001|By Tricia Bishop

What is silence? What is wisdom? Why are we here?

Chris Phillips, a Virginia-based writer and philosopher, asks these and other thought-provoking questions in his new book, The Philosophers' Club, which sets out to help kids consider our universe and its many possibilities and permutations. The book does this by facilitating "Socratic dialogues," which Phillips describes in the introduction as "simply a way of questioning that inspires people to come up with their own answers, to find truth by their own lights." But the answers, Phillips writes, are actually less important than the questions.

That's because it's the process of questioning that helps kids "develop and hone critical and creative thinking skills," he explains. "They learn to make well-reasoned decisions. Most of all, they are better able to ask and answer those most important of questions: `Who am I?' and `Who can I become?' "

Phillips appears at 7 tonight at the Takoma Park (Montgomery County) Library, where he'll use an excerpt from his book to launch a Socratic dialogue among kids. All ages are welcome. Registration is required. 101 Philadelphia Ave., 301-270-1717.

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