Any philosophical topic may be discussed. Some café locations have adopted a very informal format while some are more academically based.

Examples of past Café Philo topics include:

  • Why do men say that they don’t understand women?
  • Can we overcome our basic nature?
  • When is lying appropriate?
  • Are we causing our own extinction?
  • What has happened to investigative reporting?
  • Why do we prefer fantasy to reality?


Theological or philosophical matters are discussed, rather than immediate events of our time.

Examples of past Café Theo topics include:

  • Are you ready for the world 2 decades from now?
  • What is your definition of heaven and hell?
  • Does one’s attitude affect one’s happiness”


Participants seek to understand and attain inner peace, brotherly love, wisdom, and enlightenment.

Examples of past Café Socrates topics include:

  • The abuse of power
  • Water shortages in Florida and around the world
  • What are GMO’s
  • Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?
  • Which religious traditions have value?

Café Philo…Exploring life’s larger questions

The purpose of Café Philo is to stimulate real dialogue about the larger questions of life.  This is done in an informal setting for people wishing to share and learn from and with others. Topics range from money and media to robots. Cafés vary in size from 5 to 20 people and meet for approximately 90 minutes. Due to support from Charlotte County Government and the Charlotte County Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department, there is no program fee…Cafés are free to attend. 

Inspiration for these discussion groups is Café Philo, an informal philosophical discussion group, whose idea originated in France in 1992 with modern-day philosopher Marc Sautet.  He and his friends gathered to discuss issues of the day at the now famous “Café des Phares” in the Place de la Bastille. The idea is to bring real dialogue into the community, much the same as did Socrates in his time – no hemlock anticipated!

What to expect at a Café Philo gathering:

Participants volunteer to facilitate a discussion. The facilitator may choose the topic or the group may brainstorm a list of topics and choose one. Brief readings or a short presentation may also be used as discussion triggers. 

A total of 7 groups meet weekly at various, informal settings throughout Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and Englewood. Throughout the county over 100 people participate weekly in Café Philo’s open discussions. See below for map of locations.

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