Philosophy Sports vs. Café Philosophy

Philosophy Sports and Tug of Logic grew out of dissatisfaction with Café Philosophy, a form of public participatory philosophy that I facilitated weekly for twelve years.  Café Philosophy has recognized defects, including a lack of rigour and criticality, unscrutinized personal criteria of truth, and no measure of successful participation. Perhaps the chief problem, for a philosophically, is the lack of logical sophistication in arguments, which Philosophy Sports, as competitive-collaborative social reasoning games, were specifically designed to address.


Philosophy Sports is the next generation of Cafe Philosophy.

Café Philosophy, also called public participatory philosophy, now has an exciting new format.

The random play of opinion that plagued cafe philosophy and contemporary political discourse cannot compete in these games, which are designed to be a place where truthiness withers, and alternative facts come to die.

Philosophy Sports, particularly Tug of Logic, are designed to overcome recognized defects of traditional Cafe Philosophy by requiring a shared (though contestable) criterion of truth, recasting the principles of logic as rules of fair play, and valorizing rethinking.

Philosophy Sports are serious games (ref.); Cafe Philosophy is a mere fun club.

Philosophy Sports represents a whole new approach to Café Philosophy.

More about Philosophy Sports. (scrolls to B2)

For more about Traditional Café Philosophy, see:

Picard, Michael. (2015). “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; also presented at 13th International Conference on Philosophical Practice, Belgrade, Serbia. Aug., 2014.

This article, critical of my own facilitation practice, is reprinted in the following book:

Café Conversations: Participatory Philosophy in Public Spaces. Edited, with contributions and translations by Michael Picard. Rock’s Mills Press, September, 2024.

That collection also includes my translation of the initial chapters of a book by Café Philo inventor, Marc Sautet, as well as accounts from various countries of several café philosophy practices. The first theoretical explorations in the new defined area of public participatory philosophy are appear in that book.

Finally, my own attempts to stimulate philosophizing amongst the general public can be found here:

How to Play Philosophy: A Book for Public Thinking and the Thinking Public. Hamilton Books (Rowman & Littlefield), February, 2022.

For more on Philosophy Sports, see:

Café Conversations: Participatory Philosophy in Public Spaces. Rock’s Mills Press, September, 2024.

This book also includes the most comprehensive statement to date of Philosophy Sports, and offers a through justification of Tug of Logic in terms of Anthony S. Laden’s theory of social reasoning.

Laden, Anthony Simon. (2012). Reasoning: A Social Picture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The book, Café Conversations, reprints are related article by Laden.

For an online account of the short history of Philosophy Sports, click here.

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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