An update from The Philosophy Club
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Dear friends,

Today, three updates to my recent newsletter:

1.  'Dance Your Mind' is selling fast!
ONLY FIVE TICKETS LEFT for this unique dance-and-philosophy event for 8 – 11 year olds on 28 June... Grab your tickets now!

2. Two new blog posts:
        - A thriving public sphere
        - "We don't want the world to die"

3. Correction: Dates for the FAPSA Philosophy in Schools Conference are 1–2 October 2022


Dance Your Mind: Holiday event for kids in Melbourne


Kids aged 8 – 11 are invited to join Tammy McLinden (Nook Dance Centre) & Michelle Sowey (The Philosophy Club) for a unique small-group experience as we dance our way into a philosophical inquiry, exploring the theme of 'Chance'.

Get ready for... moving with purpose –– co-creating scenarios –– wondering about big questions –– listening attentively –– having animated discussions with other kids –– dreaming up ideas –– experimenting with narratives –– acting in role –– dancing your heart out –– making new friends –– going a tiny bit wild! 

All bodies, genders, and experience levels welcome.

Date: Tuesday 28 June 2022
Time: 9:00 – 3:30pm

Location: Glow Dance, 8/252 St Georges Road (enter off Fergie St), Fitzroy North VIC
What to bring: Lunch, morning and afternoon snacks, drink bottle.
What to wear: Comfortable clothes to dance and think in.

Cost: $90 per child (early bird price) if booked by 6th June. Tickets may sell out prior. 
Book now to avoid disappointment! 
Enquiries: Contact Michelle Sowey on mobile 0425221604, or via The Philosophy Club's contact form.



Two new blog posts

A thriving public sphere 

It seems obvious, in the shadow of the climate and ecological crises, that climate disruption ought to occupy a central place in primary and secondary school curricula. Yet schooling rarely addresses these vital issues with any depth, nuance or rigour. Recently, I’ve been working with my colleague Grace Lockrobin of Thinking Space on a project investigating what philosophy can contribute to ecological citizenship education. More broadly, we’re exploring the idea that being ethically educated means being able to confront nuanced and novel ethical situations and figure out what to think, what to feel and what to do when there is no instructor there to adjudicate, and there are no general principles that do the hard work for us.

In my blog post A thriving public sphere, I reveal why democracies need citizens who can argue, reason, challenge, evaluate and question; citizens who debate rather than merely comply. The very institution of democracy depends on an inclusive, non-coercive space for rational deliberation in which ideas are accepted through force of argument, and in which citizens can test the legitimacy of decisions made by their democratic institutions. At a time of rapid and profound change to our political landscape here in Australia, we need deliberative inquiry more than ever. Why not push for its exemplary form – philosophical inquiry – to become a widespread participatory practice for young people? Let them use it, among other tools, to prove they're not too small to make a difference.

Read the full post here.

"We don't want the world to die"

We know that climate and ecological breakdown are eroding the earth’s capacity to support life, imperilling human security more profoundly than anything else in modern times. Systemic environmental collapse is now nothing less than an existential threat. To avert a full-blown catastrophe, we must find new ways of thinking about sustainability and wellbeing, and about the consumption, pollution, exploitation, and inequality that corrode them.

In her Aeon article 'Philosophy Can Make the Previously Unthinkable Thinkable', ethicist Rebecca Brown celebrates the role of philosophers in offering “a counterpoint to received wisdom, established norms and doctrinal prejudice”. She points out that philosophers can contribute to shifting the ‘Overton window’ by adopting positions that are counterintuitive and outside mainstream thought; by testing arguments, identifying errors, and upholding standards of academic rigour and intellectual honesty; and by “pushing the public and political debate towards reasoned deliberation and respectful disagreement.”

In my blog post "We don't want the world to die", I describe how the classroom practice of philosophical inquiry makes space for intentional dialogue and deliberation, engenders mutual understanding, and facilitates the co-construction of shared visions. It encourages students to co-operate in good faith and to build relationships based on such values as autonomy, agency, consent, trust, participation, authenticity, and self-determination. It introduces students to controversial issues, uncovers shared values, and supports nonviolent engagement with the deep splits in values and understandings that exist in communities. What’s more, philosophical inquiry inducts students into norms of communication that are indispensable to a well-functioning democracy – norms like attending to a wide range of voices, and responding in ways that are accountable to standards of reason and evidence. And to the extent that it asks students to consider how to address injustices in real-world situations, philosophical inquiry offers practice in just decision-making.

Against this backdrop, schools have an obligation to develop in children the agency to change the world in ways that make sense from their perspective. In the words of a 14 year old participant in the collaborative project ‘Too Small to Make a Difference?’:

We didn’t create this problem but it’s our responsibility to fix it if no-one else is, because we are going to be living in the world… And also, for generations and generations to come, we don’t want the world to die; we want it to continue being a beautiful place.

Read the full post here.


Dates for the FAPSA Philosophy in Schools Conference are 1–2 October 2022

At the start of October, the Federation of Asia-Pacific Philosophy in Schools Associations (FAPSA) will present a conference celebrating 30 years of FAPSA activities. The conference is hosted by the University of Melbourne's Graduate School of Education and features a keynote by the legendary Dr Maughn Rollins Gregory – Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (Montclair State University, USA). The conference program takes an inclusive approach to pedagogy. It offers a hybrid experience with live lecture and workshop streams as well as a virtual stream. All participants will be able to engage with all content.

Conference bookings are now open, and poster proposals are also invited.
Early bird prices are available until July 1st. Generous scholarships are also available.
Learn more or book your place at


With the exception of occasional updates like this one, I only send newsletters once every few months, because I respect your time and your inbox.

Thank you for taking an interest in The Philosophy Club's work. If you have a friend who might also be interested, please forward this on – or invite them to subscribe.

Yours philosophically,


The Philosophy Club respectfully acknowledges the traditional owners of the Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we are located. The Philosophy Club is a carbon neutral business. In the interests of sustainability, equity and global justice, we have offset twice our carbon footprint for the years since we began trading.


Michelle Sowey
The Philosophy Club
Mobile: + 61 425 221 604
Address:   9 Henderson St, Northcote VIC 3070 Australia
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