Soon you will find here information for Philosophy Sports public events, including public Tug of Logic matches.

Are you staging a public Tug of Logic match? Please share your event information here. (This feature too is coming soon).

For the time being, you can find here, for the record, a timeline of the development of  Philosophy Sports and Tug of Logic:

1) I folded Café Philosophy in Victoria, BC, in 2009, having facilitated the weekly event for 12 years. I loved it, but something was wrong. Discussions there were not, in the end, very philosophical. Yet it wasn’t until 2014 that I presented a critique of my own facilitation practice, namely at the 13th International Conference on Philosophical Practice, Belgrade, Serbia. The critique was published (“But is it Philosophy?  Cafe Philosophy and the social coordination of inquiry,” pp. 163-181, in Practicing Philosophy, A. Fatić & L. Amir (eds.), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015) and later reprinted in Café Conversations: Participatory Philosophy in Public Spaces (Rock’s Mills Press, Sept., 2024). My critique also sketched a theoretical solution based on a theory of social reasoning (Laden 2012), that I claimed would render a cafe conversations properly philosophical.

2) The idea of Philosophy Sports came to me in 2017, only later realizing that it satisfied the criteria I had published earlier. The original conception included the notion of Internet-mediated voting on controversial issues. However, I was for years unable to build the app due to insufficient funds.

3) Public events staged in 2017 in the Greater Vancouver Area inaugurated Philosophy Sports. The Inaugural Games took place in New Westminster, BC, Canada, at the no-longer-existing Heritage Grill, which at the time was a known Café Philosophy venue.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Various Philosophy Sports were tried out, including some that involved role play. Voting on premises was also featured, but I made use of off-the-shelf voting software, and results were inadequate. The need to develop custom app became apparent, but lack of funds delayed the startup.

4) The next key event took place the following year in Mexico City. In July 2018, at the 15th International Conference on Philosophical Practice, I gave a theoretical presentation and mock-up demonstration of the concept of Philosophy Sports. My talk introduced Philosophy Sports as a new modality of public participatory philosophy, featuring social reasoning (collaborative argument construction), confrontation of divergent perspectives, live dialogue, plus real-time phone voting, and measured persuasive effects. In Mexico I argued that Philosophy Sports overcomes and solves the reported defects of Cafe Philosophy and effectively embodies norms of social reasoning. This presentation was the first opportunity for the global community of practitioner philosophers to be exposed to, learn, critique, and adopt Philosophy Sports as the future of public participatory philosophy.

5) 2018 also saw the development of a ‘proof of concept’ in the form of a board-game version of Tug of Logic. The board-game (with instructions) remains available for demonstration purposes. (Links)

6) In 2019, the board-game Tug of Logic was invited to the national championships of the Canadian Ethics Bowl, where it was played by close to 100 Canadian high school students. The event took place at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, MB, Canada, giving the new game national exposure. There is a short video of the event. The boardgame was later featured at several local high schools in British Columbia, and also presented at UBC, UBC Okanagon, and elsewhere. It was used occasionally in my own Critical Thinking classrooms.

7) The next few years finally saw the concept rendered into code. Various students made initial efforts, but the team  that was ultimately successful was led by Japheth Ishola, backed by Mir Ayon Elahi. Initially, the developers were Computer Science students at Douglas College. Fortunately, Japheth Ishola stuck with the project over the next few years to oversee necessary improvements to make the app practically functional.

8) The newly developed app was first used publicly to play Tug of Logic when it was invited back to the 2023 Canadian High School Ethics Bowl. That event took place April 28-29, 2023. A short video of the April 2023 Tug of Logic game has been prepared and can be found at https://youtu.be/qrXCOg1Y8Ds. In the video you will notice the use during the game of a throwable microphone, which added to the sportive fun.

9) 2023 also saw the app Tug of Logic gain major support in the form of an Innovative Technology Grant from Douglas College. The grant allowed Japheth Ishola and others to make key improvements that made its release to the public possible – though a few bugs remain and are being addressed. The game was first fully integrated into my Critical Thinking courses in early 2024.

10) Tug of Logic was played again at the 2024 Canadian High School Ethics Bowl, in May, 2024. The Manitoba Association of Rights and Liberties has devoted time and funds to the further development and the promotion of Tug of Logic.

11) Tug of Logic is being presented to Teaching Philosophy section (#87) of the World Congress of Philosophy, in Rome Italy, August 2, 2024. At the same conference, I am also giving a demonstration of the game to philosopher-practitioners, who have

12) The first full account of Tug of Logic in print is to appear in the book, Café Conversations: Participatory Philosophy in Public Spaces. (Rocks’ Mills, Sept. 2024). This book, edited by Tug of Logic creator, Michael Picard, is the first in English to examine philosophy in a café from practical and theoretical perspectives. Besides Picard’s translations of writing by Marc Sautet, the French philosopher who in 1992 created Café Philo, the book also a history and a critique of Café Philosophy, as run by Picard in Victoria Canada, 1997-2009). The concept of Philosophy Sports was developed to meet and overcome the flaws of Sautet-style café philosophy.

I’m Michael

I’m a writer and philosopher, and now a game developer. This site introduces Tug of Logic, a game and web-app I have created to serve public reasoning.

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