Five Agreements for Thinking Together

We ask that all participants in our philosophy discussion stick to these agreements, based on “Five Guidelines for Thinking Philosophically” from the What’s the Big Idea Program.

pie discussion

  • Respect each other.
    • We’ll ask each participant to tell us how they want to be referred to by stating their name and pronouns. Use the name and pronouns each person states. If you don’t remember, ask them.
    • Respectful disagreement is good. Present your disagreement in a way that does not disparage anyone else. Always allow each speaker to finish what they are saying, even if you disagree.
  •  Validate each other’s stories. Don’t deny the validity of another person’s experiences or suggest that your own experiences are the last word on the subject, (i.e., just because you have not experienced oppression does not mean that it does not exist.)
  • Listen! Listening carefully to what others have to say is not always easy, especially when you are excited by the topic and your mind is filling up with ideas. Listening carefully is essential to thinking together, however. Your facilitator will do their best to make sure everyone gets a chance to speak. Follow their lead in this.
  • Think about WHY. It can be easier to say what we think than to explain why we think it, but philosophy is all about supporting our statements with good reasons. Be prepared to think and talk about your reasons and be open to changing your mind. When facts are in dispute and not easy to check, your facilitator will move the conversation along by asking new questions.
  • Have fun! When you follow all of the guidelines above, you will find that thinking together is one of the most fun and rewarding activities there is! Have patience with yourself and each other. Try not to take yourself too seriously. It is possible to be light-hearted and have fun even when you are thinking very hard!

ashlyn talking large