“It is basically a group of people who like to think about thinking getting together to discuss,” said the teacher at Van Horn High School. “I had read this book by Christopher Phillips, and it seemed interesting. I wanted to start something like that here.”

After reading the book, “Socrates Café,” by Christopher Phillips, Don Schulte thought the idea would be one that would work in Independence.

“It is basically a group of people who like to think about thinking getting together to discuss,” said the teacher at Van Horn High School. “I had read this book by Christopher Phillips, and it seemed interesting. I wanted to start something like that here.”

The idea of Socrates Café is small gatherings of people of varying backgrounds throughout the world. They get together and exchange ideas and experiences while embracing what is known as the Socratic Method, a form if philosophy that explores the positions of others. The discussions are modeled from Phillips’ book and a non-profit organization, Society for Philosophical Inquiry, has also been formed to further the actions of the Socrates Café movement.

The first of four sessions of Socrates Café was Tuesday at Curt’s Famous Meats in Independence. Three more sessions will follow March 31, April 14 and April 21. All begin at 3:30 p.m. at Curt’s, 10101 E. Truman Road. The Socrates Café sessions are open to the public.

Schulte said Socrates Café is an opportunity for people to district and question a wide-range of topics. The week’s topic is chosen when the café starts. Tuesday’s question was “How relevant is history to the future?” Attendees, who included students, faculty and community members, centered on the history of Van Horn High School as well as western Independence.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” said Donnie West, a junior at Van Horn. “It was interesting to delve into the history of the area. I thought the idea sounded interesting so I wanted to go.”

Schulte said he would like to encourage people to attend. He said small groups work well, but he has also had experience with a larger group that offered more perspectives on the selected issue.

“I think an experience like this is a lot of fun,” he said. “It is an opportunity for people to take back philosophy.”

For more information on the Socrates Café, you can contact Schulte by e-mail at don_schulte @indep.k12.mo.us.