"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates
As Plutarch once proclaimed, "Philosophy is the art of living."
In today's digital age, it is easy to mindlessly consume information. But to truly contemplate issues beneath the surface and to lead a well-examined life requires embodying the thought processes of a philosopher: to pose big questions about the world and criticize the norm.
Philosophical thinking can be found in the ordinary and the familiar, not just the new and profound. At the same time, philosophy delights in the unknown: in posing questions that might not have immediate or clear answers, but are worth asking for the sake of curiosity.
From youth, we are natural philosophers, asking large questions about seemingly self-evident subjects: Why is the sky blue? Why do we have to listen to our parents? Why is there something rather than nothing? Dialexicon is a project to revive these questions by giving youth a platform to express their philosophical ideas and share them with others.
Thinking like a philosopher is essential in the 21st century.
The biggest problems facing our modern society do not derive from a lack of resources but from the abuse and mismanagement of tools by humankind.
Poverty stems from a lack of redistribution, not scarcity.
Climate change stems from human-caused pollution and the tragedy of the commons.
War stems from fragmentation and political mismanagement.
Technological abuse threatens a new frontier where our privacy, liberty, and equality are at risk.
To combat these problems, we need philosophy more than ever. While science has fostered the creation of tools, philosophy teaches us how and when to use them in just and beneficial ways. We need political philosophy to justly govern citizens and allot resources, ethics to guide how we ought to treat each other, and epistemology to satisfy our curiosity.
Thinking like a philosopher trains you to be a problem-solver, a persuasive orator, and a critical thinker. Dialexicon is the first step on that journey, beginning with youth.
Here are some reasons why Dialexicon came into existence:
- Noticed a lack of accessible philosophy resources for high school students
- To share the voices and philosophical opinions of youth with a global audience
- To provide a forum for youth to discuss philosophy with other engaged youth
- To distill complex philosophical ideas to be approachable for youth
Meet our Board
Elizabeth is an undergraduate student at Stanford University. As a high school student, her team placed 1st at the Canadian Ethics Olympiad and 4th at the 2021 International Ethics Olympiad Final. She likes entering essay contests, especially those related to philosophy - most notably, she won the 2019 Aristotle Philosophy Contest and placed 2nd in the 2020 John Locke Institute Politics Prize. She was a competitive debater in high school and most enjoyed attempting to debate in French. To find out more about her, you can visit elizabeth-zhu.com.
Saurish is a senior at Evergreen Valley HS, located in San Jose, California. As an avid debater who has qualified to the Tournament of Champions in two different debate events, Saurish is an active reader of philosophy. He joined Dialexicon last year to help spread its mission of empowering deep philosophical reflection and thought. He founded and leads the Podcast, Community, Outreach, and Newsletter projects of Dialexicon. More information about him can be found on his website at saurish.com.
Emily is a grade 12 student at Oakville Trafalgar High School. She became fascinated in philosophy after taking a free will versus determinism course in August 2020. Shortly after, she independently read Notes From the Underground in her grade 11 English class, which introduced her to the enthralling world of existential fiction. Emily is an avid reader of blogs and essays (her latest reading can be found at curius.app/emily-hu) and loves meeting new people on the internet. You can read some of her writing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
George is in 11th grade at Lillian Osborne High School. He's been an active debater for 3 years and has competed internationally, which is where his interest in philosophy comes from. He hopes to expand philosophy initiatives like Dialexicon and Ethics Bowl to his community. He's also involved in organizations that make important skills like financial literacy and coding more accessible.
Advisory Editor, Outreach
Jeffrey is the Outreach and Communications Officer for the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Philosophy Department. Jeffrey's role primarily concerns communicating the importance of philosophy in general and of studying philosophy at UTM in particular. To this end, he visits local high schools in the GTA to deliver presentations on how philosophy relates to the real world. Jeffrey also serves as the president of the Ontario Ethics Bowl committee, which is a national competition designed to help students discuss ethical issues in a collaborative and respectful way. Jeffrey also serves as the editor-in-chief of The Rubicon, the UTM Philosophy Department magazine that will report news about faculty, staff, and students.
Editorial Consultant, Outreach
Petra is a writer, editor, and communications and publications specialist with graduate degrees in English, political science, and French. She spends most of her time thinking about language and clarity of expression in one way or another, and nothing brings her quite as much as joy as helping bring complex ideas to a wider audience through well-crafted prose. She also takes care of all matters communication at the University of Toronto's Department of Philosophy. When not word-working or reading for pleasure, you might find her on the Pilates mat or in the pool, trying to grow scrumptious tomatoes, cuddling her two cats, or, lately, studying Arabic.
Contributor, International Outreach
Miha is an international communication teacher, debate coach and philosopher & sociologist. He is currently Director of the National Debate Organisation (ZiP), Board of Directors of the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), President of the Society for Humanities, and Head of the Speech & Debate Program Bežigrad. He convened the 27th International Philosophy Olympiad in 2020 and recently has served as a program director of several international debate academies in Africa, Russia, Turkey and Italy. As a guest lecturer he trains teachers, students and professionals all around the world, including in the USA, Canada, Dubai, the United Kingdom, Bahrain, China, Singapore and throughout countries in Europe.