Paper presentation: The garden is the new café: Vegetal metaphysics and community philosophy

Description: I recently started a similar group discussion at a community garden in downtown Budapest, trying to connect the ideas of philosophical café and community gardening into a special kind of community philosophy practice, „garden philosophy”, reminiscent of Epicurus’ overshadowed tradition. Intended to alleviate the so-called „plant blindness” prevailing in biology, philosophy and our entire culture, the garden can serve as a new symbol of connectivity, a complex and active ecosystem of thinking together. ”The art of listening to plants implies the cultivation of not only a more receptive and respecting relationship to plants, but also more hospitable human-to-human communication.” (Lemm, 2022).
Socrates once said „I’m a lover of learning, and trees and open country won’t teach me anything, whereas men in the town do.” (Phaidros). However, the world of plants and the big city are not necessarily in opposition. As Anna Tsing writes: „Next time you walk through a forest, look down. A city lies under your feet”. The garden, like the forest, is a multispecies community, a good model of organic communities. In my presentation, I talk about this new project, called „garden philosophy” or „philosophy in the garden”, its underlying conception, a kind of vegetal metaphysics, the similarities and differences between this and the usual philosophical café, and share my experience of its practice.

BIO: Hungarian philosopher, bioethicist, (certified) philosophical practitioner, living in Budapest, Hungary. Regularly organizes public philosophy events, like philosophical cafés, death cafés, bioethics cafés, philosophy reading groups, including a special philosophy café held at a community psychiatry center in Budapest, on a weekly basis, since 2014. Published a number of papers on community philosophy, philosophy with children, and philosophical practice. At his recent affiliation, Semmelweis University (Budapest), Institute of Behavioral Sciences, he teaches bioethics and medical humanities. Very active in promoting philosophical ideas in various public forums, such as radios, podcasts or newspapers.