The Philosophy Outreach Program of Colorado (POPCO) offers individually tailored Socratic discussions on a range of philosophical topics for K-12 students, non-profits, and senior centers.  Run by the Center for Values and Social Policy and made possible by support from CU’s Public Outreach and Community Engagement and the Department of Philosophy, POCO sponsors CU graduate student and faculty travel to Colorado schools and community centers to lead introductory philosophical conversations.  The program is free to the host school or institution.  The presentations use specific topics and scenarios to introduce philosophical ideas such as necessary and sufficient conditions, counterexamples, and counterfactuals.  A POPCO class can also support the teaching of critical thinking skills by challenging students to comprehend new ideas, analyze cause/effect relationships, and differentiate facts from emotional appeals.  This program has been in existence for over twenty years and via POPCO the Center would be happy to create a class with you. 


Here are some examples of topics that have been used for previous POPCO visits: 

Genetic Engineering and Ethics

What are the ethical questions raised by genetic engineering? How is genetic engineering similar to/different from conventional processes? What are the moral questions raised in genetically engineered food aid?

Environmental Ethics

What is the relationship between facts about the world and our values? Can science prove that something is safe or unsafe? What does it mean to say that land is “healthy”? If people have different preferences for safety how should a society make environmental policies that affect many different people?

Environmental Justice 

Do environmental problems affect people equitably? If significant climate change occurs, will economic factors affect different races/classes differently? Will these differences be just?

Science vs. Pseudo-science 

What makes something a science? Are scientific theories proven? Confirmed? How? Does good science require physical evidence?

Free Will 

To what extent do the laws of physics and biology allow for the possibility of free will? What does free will mean? How is free will different from absence of constraint?

Many More 

Moral theory, myth and ancient philosophy, what is it to be human?; personal identity and authenticity; animal rights and experimentation; and hunting; political philosophies of WWII; Modern thinkers of the Enlightenment period; human nature and the social contract tradition; civil disobedience from Socrates to Martin Luther King, Jr.; Locke and the foundations of the U.S. constitution; feminist philosophy and the feminism movement; John Stuart Mill and the freedom of speech

To get more information or to request a visit, please contact Daniel Sturgis.