Don’t believe everything you think.
A philosophical community of inquiry (COI) is a group dialogue that uses critical and creative methods to explore questions and concepts. In a world crackling with information and innovation, COI is an activity that helps us sift through our belief systems and opinions in order to uncover the sturdiest parts of our knowledge.
No. It’s not a debate.
Debate is competitive. In a debate, it is often the most confident speakers or teams, who win. The aim of a COI is different. To unpack a question thoroughly, we need to hear every voice—the confident, the shy, the quick-thinking, and those who take a little longer to gather their thoughts. The measure of a successful COI rests in its ability to create a space for everyone to contribute, without losing focus of its objectives.
Community of inquiry is for everyone.
COI is an activity practised by adults in philosophy cafés worldwide, and is taught in schools across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, and the UK. While the process of COI provides a range of tested methods for problem-solving, its most valuable lesson flows from the practice of respectful and mindful inquiry. It is a toolbox for getting along with others, while getting things done. The philosophical community of inquiry is at the heart of secondary school philosophy courses, philosophy clubs and Philosothons, and offers a challenging and stimulating discipline for Gifted and Talented programs.