Le Café Philo

At some point in time, we seek to understand fundamental truths about ourselves, the world in which we live, and our relationships to the world and to each other.   Le Café Philo is an international movement wherein everyone is welcome to discuss and exchange their thoughts in an informal and friendly atmosphere.  In Mumbai, it is organized by Alliance Francaise de Bombay on weekends.

Le Café Philo follows a democratic approach, wherein a group of people come up with philosophical topics for discussion and then one topic which gets maximum votes is shortlisted.  The rule of the game is ‘Nobody speaks when the King / Queen is talking’ – It is not a debate so when one person shares his or her thoughts, others cannot interrupt.  I simply love this rule!

Well, three topics got maximum votes – second one being mine 😉

  1. Does the truth really exist or what we see is all subjective?
  2. Expectations leads to disappointments – Wouldn’t life be better without expectations?
  3. Why are we patriotic to one particular country and why can’t we be patriotic to the world?

The first topic was shortlisted by the majority and our profound discussion was moderated by French philosophy teacher, Mr. François Courcelle – founder of the association Philodyssée in Gujarat and the best professor of philosophy I have ever met (Follow the link to know more – http://philodyssee.org/).

As the discussion progressed, various thoughts were put on the table where we had placed our tea cups and cookies.  I took a sip of tea and felt the warmth flow down my throat which activated my brain cells.

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One fellow spoke about René Magritte, who painted a pipe on a canvas and wrote below it – ‘This is not a pipe’.  While people found it funny and mocked the painter.  But actually, he was right, it was not a pipe but a painting of a pipe.  The message he was trying to give was that it is on us how we want to see things and draw perceptions.


Often Truth is a representation of Reality and not Reality.  As François said, what we create together is ‘Reality’ and not ‘Truth’.  Perhaps, we are prisoners of illusion as Plato explains in his work, Allegory of the Cave.

I strongly agree with Protagoras, Older Sophist, that Man is a measure of everything.  So, there is nothing like right or wrong, true or false (distinguished from morality) – It is how we see things.

This amazing Saturday morning at Le Café Philo concluded with a selfie with François and a question in my mind, do we really want the Truth?

Cheers, Lubna

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Photo courtesy: Mademoiselle Marie, Alliance Francaise de Bombay


4 thoughts on “Le Café Philo

      1. Yes, ocean of ideas! You can check on the site of Alliance Francaise de Bombay for these weekly sessions and I will add you to Le Café Philo group.


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