Skye & Massimo's Philosophy Cafe: Can Idleness Be a Virtue?

Monday, April 2, 2018 -
6:00pm to 8:00pm
Elliott Library, Room 507
$5 Nonmembers

We normally think of idleness as laziness, but there is a philosophical case for it. Oscar Wilde once wrote that “to do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.” Indeed, it is difficult to do nothing – just think of the challenges of meditation, but also consider the peace and calm that it is supposed to foster. Meditation is not the only way to achieve calmness of mind, which creates a space for deeper and more reflective thinking. At this café, we will consider the risks and benefits of boredom and being idle, on occasion. Suggested reading: In praise of idleness, by Bertrand Russell (photo).

The Café is run by philosophers Skye Cleary ( and Massimo Pigliucci ( It is based on the principle of the Socratic dialogue. Every meeting has a simple theme (e.g., should we be afraid of death? What's the ethics of eating?), which is introduced by Skye and Massimo on the basis of short, accessible, suggested (but not mandatory!) readings. The rest of the meeting then features an open discussion among participants, facilitated by Skye and Massimo, aiming at sharpening our thinking about whatever subject matter is being examined.

For more information, visit the Cafe's Meetup page:

Meeting dates subject to change.