What is the role of “philosophy” and philosophical dialogue in an Oncolo Café session?

When you hear the word “philosophy,” what kind of image enters your mind? Are Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant the first names that you recall? Perhaps you are thinking that philosophy is something “difficult.” However, what we do during a session at our Oncolo Cafe does not require any specialized knowledge or expertise; it is not at all difficult.

Philosophy begins when we think about something that we have always considered obvious by posing questions such as “Is it really so?” or “What does that mean?” Within those questions, philosophy emerges. Philosophy means to rethinks, reexamine, have doubts, and look for a possible answer.

For example, if we ask “What is love?” a quick answer would be difficult to grasp. Although we share the common meanings and images of “love,” it is, somehow, very difficult to clearly state what love is exactly. Philosophy, through questions, answers, confutations, and the repetition of this process, creates a debate that promotes healthy “dialogue” among participants.

By the way, what does “dialogue” mean?

In English, the word “dialogue” is different from words such as “conversation” or “debate.” Dialogue meant as “talking” is more about everyday conversation, while dialogue meant as a “discussion” is more similar to a game where two (or more) opinions take a stance different from the other and confront each other.

Although the “game” is decided whether you win or lose, the kind of dialogue that Oncolo Café encourages is based on the fundamental roles of talking and listening, in turn.