POPCO promotes awareness of the nature and value of philosophy by engaging children and adults in philosophical reflection beyond the university setting.
Philosophy is about universally interesting questions: What makes a life good? How should we pursue wisdom? What is it to be human? However, people are rarely supported in thinking about philosophical questions outside college classrooms. POPCO aims to change this by building bridges between academic philosophy and other communities.
All POPCO visits are free to the host institutions. POPCO has operated since 1995 and is supported by the Department of Philosophy and CU’s Office of Outreach and Engagement.
Current POPCO Programs
K-12 classroom visits
Through POPCO, philosophy graduate students visit Colorado K-12 classrooms to conduct custom-tailored philosophical discussions on a variety of topics. These discussions encourage students to think carefully and creatively about challenging questions: What makes something science as opposed to pseudo science? Do the laws of physics and biology allow for free will? Under what conditions is war ethically acceptable? Do minds require brains? What are the limits of civil disobedience? Could robots have rights? A POPCO discussion 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.
Interested teachers or administrators should contact co-directors Dawn Jacob and Connor Kianpour for more information.
Support for National High School Ethics Bowl teams
National High School Ethics Bowl invites students to engage in thoughtful, collaborative discussion on ethically complex cases. The regional competition takes place at CU Boulder in winter before successful teams advance to the spring national competition. Area high schools interested in fielding an Ethics Bowl team can receive startup guidance and coaching assistance from POPCO.
Interested teachers, students, or administrators should contact co-directors Dawn Jacob and Connor Kianpour for more information.
Public reading groups in collaboration with local libraries
In partnership with Boulder Public Library and Longmont Public Library, POPCO instructors facilitate monthly philosophy reading groups for the public. Participants read a short work of philosophy, then meet to discuss it with one another. Facilitators gently guide the discussion, encouraging participants to think through the ideas raised in the text and consider their import. New participants are always welcome. Recommended for ages 16 and older.
The Boulder Public Library group meets the 2nd Monday of each month, 7pm-8:30pm (Mountain). More information can be found at https://bit.ly/classics-phil
The Longmont Public Library group meets the 4th Monday of each month, 7pm-8:30pm (Mountain). More information can be found at https://bit.ly/phil-reading-group