Cafe Philosophique

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Date(s) - Saturday, September 16, 2017
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

St John the Baptist Church Hall


When: Saturday 16 September, 2 pm until 4 pm.

Please arrive a few minutes early for a prompt 2 pm start.

Where: St John the Baptist Church Hall, Grainger Street (on the corner of Grainger Street and Westgate Road), Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5JG.

Please note that the entrance is through the church hall door, which is on the side of the building (and not through the main front church door).


Why should we ‘do’ philosophy? Does it have the answers to life, the universe and everything? Can it tell us how to live our lives? These are just some of the questions that Lee Overton has found himself asking since studying philosophy as well as questions that he has been asked by ‘non philosophers’ when talking to them about it. Can philosophy answer all or indeed any of the big questions and if not, then are there other things we can take and learn from philosophy?

Lee Overton first studied, and has worked, as an engineer for over twenty five years, and in more recent times studied with the Open University for a Philosophy degree. He is fascinated by many aspects of philosophy but his life in engineering always pulls him toward the practical and makes him keep trying to find the practical uses of philosophy and how this can relate to his everyday life.


The task of the audience is to attempt to be Socratic, as it were, in exploring philosophically the basic concepts being presented, their underlying assumptions, coherence, and viability. We invite you to join us in this exciting and challenging endeavour.

A contribution of £2 is requested, for those attendees who can afford it, to cover the room hire costs.

Reading for the session

The following resources, available on the internet, may prove useful when preparing for the session:
A Princeton University article on The Purpose of Philosophy

An Independent newspaper article by the philosopher A C Grayling:


Café Philosophique has been the flagship of the Newcastle Philosophy Society since its inception in 2003. More than the weekly study groups, it embodied the spirit of taking philosophy out of academe and into the domain of public interest, combining erudition and argumentation with wider participation, personal involvement, and broadening of scope to include all matters of interest and concern to a growing diversity of individuals and the public at large.

The model of Café Philosophique, as implied by its title, is based on a popular movement in France over the past half century, where people with an interest in philosophy gathered in cafés or similar venues, and took turns to introduce a theme or topic for collaborative reflection and discussion. On occasion, an invited speaker would be invited to focus the debate or draw people’s attention to a particular subject beyond their immediate grasp.

For a number of years, Café Philosophique at the Newcastle Philosophy Society has drawn on the seemingly inexhaustible knowledge and expertise of its regular members. It has also benefited from a range of contributions by guest speakers from university departments and elsewhere. Café Philosophique currently meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month at 2 pm (about 10 times a year).

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