Christopher Phillips has devoted his life to carrying the torch of Socrates and his quest to “Know Thyself.” Yet upon the death of his beloved father and mentor, the originator of the burgeoning global Socrates Café movement had little choice but to confront the inescapable truth: that there are some things we cannot know for sure. This moving, insightful and ultimately hopeful and helpful blend of memoir and philosophical exploration begins in Phillips’ native stomping grounds of the tiny volcanic island of Nisyros, Greece and unfurls through space and time as the author explores the connections between his immediate circumstances and the eternal wisdom of popular philosophers. –
In this personal and probing book, the acclaimed ‘philosopher for the people’ shares lessons gleaned from his intimate and often unexpected encounters with uncommonly perceptive human beings both living and long deceased, in the form of weary travelers and some of history’s greatest thinkers, from Heraclitus to Dr. Cornel West. Along the way, he charts a pathway for sculpting what Shakespeare describes as a “soul of goodness,” which meshes with Plato’s paradigm-shattering conception of the “healthiness of soul.” For those struggling to overcome the hopelessness that can result from grievous loss, setback, or betrayal – what Phillips’ touchstone Percy Blythe Shelley calls life circumstances “darker than death or night” – the author spotlights, with philosophical prescriptions both timely and timeless, how to cultivate a ‘Socratic spirit’ that leads to renewed love, forbearance, and hope at the other end of the tunnel.
Dr Phillips is an American author, educator, consultant, lecturer, and pro-democracy advocate. He is best known for his 2001 book Socrates Café (RTD 33219). Public Radio International called Phillips the "Johnny Appleseed of Philosophy." He has authored seven books in total.
Dr. Phillips was named Network Fellow at Harvard University‘s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, was 2012 recipient of the Distinguished American Leadership Award, and founded the nonprofit Democracy Cafe — its flagship Socrates Cafe and Democracy Cafe initiatives are global phenomena — dedicated to making ours a more connected, understanding and participatory world in which ‘civility’ is an outcome rather than a prerequisite. He is co-founder of the entrepreneurial endeavor Socrates Group, the first Senior Education Fellow at the National Constitution Center, and was a senior writing and research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.
He is also an Investment Advisor Representative for Martin Capital Advisors, LLP,
Soul of Goodness is a masterpiece which blends the images of the novel, the philosopher’s wisdom and the journalist's clarity. Through an extraordinary use of these skills, Philips has given us a work of art which penetrates the nerve center of being as he patiently enters the interiors of pain, of suffering, culminating in joyous solutions as they seamlessly unravel in Global Socrates cafes to which visitors come to speak, to think and heal by the philosophical wisdoms of the vast literature of the Global South and Global North.
In the hands of Phillips, philosophy becomes musical and music and poetry become philosophical. Written beautifully through the powers of images and narratives, the novel is used in the service of philosophy and philosophy itself as the dwelling place of all those who want to wonder, to imagine and be healed.
Teodros Kiros (PH.D) Professor of Philosophy at Berklee college and Harvard University, producer and host of African Ascent, Self-Definition: A Philosophical Inquiry from the Global Southand Global North and Conversations with Cornel West, and other works.
From the day his grandmother gave him a copy of Plato’s Socratic dialogues, Christopher Phillips has dedicated himself to the proposition that the unexamined life is not worth living. The Soul of Goodness is the intimate, sometimes heart-wrenching record of his quest—a journey that takes us through the dark night of the soul, enlightens us with the insights of past philosophers from Nietzsche to Rilke and above all the hero of Plato’s Apology, and tells the stories of the people Phillips meets along the way, from Brazil to Japan. This book will leave you with the kind of wisdom that philosophy can provide—the knowledge that we are not alone in either our suffering or our joys.
Matthew Stewart, author of Nature’s God, The Courtier and the Heretic, The Truth About Everything: An Irreverent History of Philosophy, with Illustrations, and other works.
Soul of Goodness is a very touching and personal account of the author's philosophical journey, which takes us on the quest to discover and nurture a healthy soul, or soul of goodness, even among evil things. It brings Socratic philosophy vividly to life for modern readers, and inspires hope in humanity's ability to redeem itself through the love of wisdom. – Donald Robertson, author of How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius.
“Christopher Phillips is a true citizen philosopher. Through tragedy and trial, in his own life and in our times, he searches relentlessly for the possibility of goodness in others. This book exemplifies the spirit of that search, which takes him across oceans and eons and deep into the human heart. It is an act of love — filial and civic.” — Eric Liu, CEO of Citizen University and author of Become America, You’re More Powerful Than You Think, and other works.
For a quarter of a century, Christopher Phillips played the role of Socrates, not on the streets of Athens but around the globe, in conjunction with his Socrates Café movement. After the death of his father, though, Phillips embarked on a journey of self-discovery. Soul of Goodness tells us of his travels, the people he encountered, and the insights he gained from them. Want to follow Socrates’s advice and live an examined life? Soul of Goodness is a wonderful place to begin your examination. – William B. Irvine, PhD, author of A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
Soul of Goodness is a magnificent and absorbing excursion into the amazing existence of Christopher Phillips. ...... A masterpiece that forces you to reexamine your purpose and motivation in life. This is a winner!” -- Drs. Robert and Kirti Carter coauthors of The Morning Mind: Use Your Brain to Master Your Day and Supercharge Your Life
SOUL OF GOODNESS
Christopher Phillips walks us down his joyful path as a philosopher from the day when he was twelve years old and his Greek grandmother handed him a copy of Plato's Cave. From that inspired beginning, Chris implements the Socratic power of simple questions to transcend barriers and reach for greater insight. It's a pleasure to see the world through the eyes of this boy grown into a husband, father and activist who does everything he can to bring love and joy into the world. He reminds us never to take a moment for granted when we always have the opportunity to live life full on.
-- Kathryn Watterson, author of Not by the Sword, Women in Prison,
and I Hear My People Singing: Voices of African American Princeton