Oscar Brenifier, holds a Bachelor of biology degree (University of Ottawa) and a PhD in Philosophy (Paris IV – Sorbonne). For many years, in France as well as in the rest of the world, he has been working on the concept of ‘philosophical practice’, both from a theoretical and practical viewpoint. He is one of the main promoters of the project of philosophy in the city, organizing philosophy workshops for children and adults and philosophy cafés, working as a philosophy consultant, etc. He has published about thirty books in this domain, including the ‘Philozenfants’ series (Editions Nathan), which has been translated into over twenty-five languages. He founded the Institut de Pratiques Philosophiques (Institute of philosophical practice), to train practical philosophers and organize philosophy workshops in various places: schools, media centres, old people’s homes, prisons, social centres, firms, etc. He is one of the authors of the UNESCO report: “Philosophy, a school of freedom”.
Wisdom of Sufi tales Wisdom of Buddhist tales Wisdom of Zen tales
10th International Summer Seminar
La Chapelle-Saint-André – Burgundy, France
August 10th – 16th 2015
Every summer, in the little village of La Chapelle-Saint-André (Burgundy – France), gather about 30-40 persons involved in philosophical practice (students, teachers, professors, counselors, trainers) in order to reflect on their work and improve professionally. For seven days, in English, these philosophy practitioners coming from the five continents will participate to different workshops, lead workshops, analyze and evaluate them, theorize about the different issues involved. In this context, philosophy is not any more an academic activity centered on the history of ideas, and one does not come simply to narrate what he does in his home country, but get acquainted with the many ways of philosophizing, as an activity constitutive of the mind and the self. Philosophy with children, philosophical consultation, philosophy workshops, Socratic dialogue, etc., one is introduced to the many forms and variants of such an endeavor. It is not so much knowledge that is at stake here, but acquiring and developing skills. How to conceptualize, how to problematize, how to deepen understanding of given ideas, and especially how to create a situation where this activity can be induced, is the main focus of the work. Of course, Socratic maieutic is a key methodological point, but as well dialectics, analytics, community of enquiry, constitute as many entries and matrices to define the work. If they wish so, participants can facilitate a workshop, a situation which provides an occasion for a practitioner to show how he works and get some critical feed-back on his work and his methodology, so one becomes more conscious of his own options and activity. Since the atmosphere of this seminar is open, inclined to both rigor and diversity, it creates a context where one can really express his view instead of hiding behind the usual pseudo-consensus where “everything is fine and we are all great”. In this sense, the idea is to recreate the context of antique philosophical schools, or the gymnasium as described by Plato, where one could challenge other’s ideas and oneself be challenged. In the peaceful atmosphere of a small French village, accompanied with good food and good wine, walks in the beautiful surrounding woods and visit to the medieval site of Vézelay, one can truly devote oneself to philosophical encounters and reflection.
All practitioners interested in presenting their work and holding a workshop during this event are invited to send their proposal. The purpose of this seminar is to exchange, discover, experiment and develop practices.
This seminar does not require previous philosophical training. It can be an initiation to philosophical practice, or a deepening of the activity. Participants come from different parts of the world, and join for professional or personal reasons, in order to work on a practice that is applicable to many contexts: teaching children or adults, management, individual consultation, N. G. O. activities…
The duration will be one whole week, from August 10th – 16th, and the cost will be 600 Euros, including the workshops, food and accommodation in a private room. For people who are on a tight budget, this can be reduced to 350 Euros if you accept “camping style” accommodation. Our Institute can accept some people free of charge who have financial difficulties, but are highly motivated.
You can read theoretical texts and watch videos of the practice on the following websites - English section: