About Us

Philosophy Café in Rochester, New York is an informal group that reads philosophy texts and meets to discuss them. Readings are selected in advance, and may reflect a theme determined by the group.

Who should attend?
If you’re interested in reading and discussing philosophy, we’d love for you to join us! No prior knowledge or expertise is needed, although philosophy professors, instructors and students are, of course, very welcome. “Beginners” and “experts,” alike, are all invited.

Meeting format
We typically meet once a month for a couple hours, more or less. Discussion focuses on the readings chosen for that month. The latter part of the meeting may be devoted to a secondary topic, or to administrative matters (identifying future topics, confirming future meeting locations, etc.).

Do I need to start attending at the beginning of a theme series?
No, you can start (or stop) attending meetings anytime, and you do not need to know the texts that the group discussed previously.

How to participate?
Ideally, you will want to do the readings listed for that meeting before attending. Readings are listed on the events calendar.
Before your first visit, it is not required, but you may want to email the coordinator so we can answer any questions you may have, and so we can be on the lookout to welcome you when you arrive.
Please review our discussion guidelines to help promote productive, respectful and inclusive meetings.
Please review our Covid policy.

What kinds of coffee do we serve?
Ah, sorry! This is just a book discussion group, not a restaurant. However, you may bring your own (non-alcoholic) beverages. We may sometimes meet at a venue that sells food and drink — check the events calendar for more information.

What do we mean by “philosophy”?
For the purposes of this group, we’re reading books and essays by and about philosophers who are commonly studied in college philosophy departments. Our readings are likely to draw heavily from the Western tradition, but we’d also like to see readings reflect a broader diversity in terms of geography and gender. (See Wikipedia’s definition of “philosophy”.)

How much does it cost?
Philosophy Café does not charge a fee to participate, and it is run by volunteers. However, there are two economic matters to know about:
Some of the venues where we meet might charge a nominal fee to use their facilities. Check the events calendar for more information.
In addition, we do suggest/request that participants periodically donate a small amount to Philosophy Café to help cover our minimal operating expenses, but donations are entirely optional and voluntary.
More info
  Discussion guidelines
  More info and links
  Events calendar
  Covid policy
  Subscribe (or unsubscribe) to our email list
  Our Meetup group page