Rethink: A Philosophy Community Outreach Program

 is an education and community outreach program that promotes philosophical engagement outside a traditional academic context.  In partnership with New York City-based organizations, Rethink volunteers facilitate regular small group discussions with two distinct communities: court-involved youth, and victims of domestic violence and related forms of gender violence.  Rethink was awarded the 2015 APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs and has proudly served clients at the following organizations:

Fortune Society

Harlem Justice Community Program

Sanctuary for Families

The primary aim of Rethink is to empower its participants by fostering habits of critical thinking.  Philosophy is in a unique place among the humanities to achieve this aim.  Many topics with which philosophers engage emerge from careful consideration of everyday matters.  Philosophical engagement with such topics can thus be pursued without extensive reference to scholarly texts, as well as without relying on a traditional teacher-student classroom model.  Some of the topics of past Rethink discussions include authenticity, authority, democracy, disagreement, equality, moral responsibility, power, punishment, racism, sexism, and testimony.

was started in 2013 by graduate students at Columbia University.  Now, its volunteers include students and faculty from not only Columbia but also the Graduate Center of CUNY, Fordham University, The New School, NYU, and Teachers College of Columbia University.  To learn more about Rethink, please see this interview with the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, in which Max Hayward discusses, among other things, starting Rethink with co-founders John Fantuzzo, Robbie Kubala, and Yoni Pasternak.  For more information about volunteer opportunities or potential partnerships, please contact the current organizers:

Adam Blazej, ab3926@columbia.edu

Ignacio Ojea, imo2110@columbia.edu