Edward Spence

The Theatre of Philosophy: A Neo-Socratic Method for Performing Public Philosophy


The aim of the Philosophy Plays project is to introduce, promote and develop philosophy in the public domain through dramatic performances (“philosophy plays”). To this end the Philosophy Plays project aims at making philosophy, and especially Western Philosophy, accessible to the general public and render philosophy accessible to people who would otherwise not have access to it. This paper will explain and demonstrate the theoretical rationale and methodology of the Philosophy Plays project as a way of doing public philosophy. As performance and performative strategies are often used in art practice, the Philosophy Plays project should also be seen to be of interest to visual and performing arts audiences generally.

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Edward Spence:

Dr. Edward Spence, BA (Honors, First Class), PhD (University of Sydney), is a Senior Research Fellow at the ARC Research Special Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) in Australia, and a Research Fellow at the 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology, The Hague, Netherlands. He is the lead author of Advertising Ethics (2005), co-author of Corruption and Anti-Corruption: A Philosophical Approach (2005), the author of Ethics Within Reason: A Neo-Gewirthian Approach (2006), and lead author of Media, Markets and Morals, Wiley-Blackwell (2011); he is also editor of The Good Life in a Technological Age (forthcoming) Routlege. He is also the author of several papers in national and international journals in applied philosophy and applied ethics, including media and new media ethics and the ethics of information and technology. He is the founder and producer of the Philosophy Plays project whose aim is the introduction of philosophy to the general public through drama and audience participation through discussion. The Philosophy Plays project combines philosophical talks presented by academic philosophers with original plays performed by professional actors in public forums. Several of Edward’s philosophy plays have been performed at Arts and Cultural Festivals throughout Australia.