Talks & Workshops

When working on big tasks, it helps to step back and take in the big picture.

I’ve spent over a decade teaching philosophy at the post-secondary level and have given talks and run discussion workshops for a variety of groups, including the CFA Society Vancouver, the Environmental Managers Association of British Columbia, the Business & Leadership Peer Advisory Group, and The Sleep Shirt. I’d love to share this experience with your organization.

Offerings

I set out the big ideas through a short presentation and then facilitate a series of exercises and conversations that help people make the ideas their own.

This format is flexible and I enjoy tailoring my workshops to the needs of particular groups. The standard workshop offering is 60–90 minutes but I also offer half-day and full-day sessions and graduated sequences of workshops.

In-person gatherings tend to be more vibrant but I also offer virtual events. I am based in Vancouver, British Columbia, but I am happy to travel to meet with your group.

What to Expect

These workshops combine critical analysis of arguments with big-picture thinking.

Participants will learn to situate their day-to-day activities within a larger frame and hone tools of critical thinking and argument analysis. If feedback from past workshops is any indication, they’ll also have a lot of fun.

“David Egan led our seminar like a conductor leading an orchestra. The depth and breadth of his knowledge, and his experience, were perfect for working with his ‘orchestra’ today.”
– Past workshop participant

Standard Workshop Offerings

Critical Thinking

A common metaphor in problem solving and argumentation is the metaphor of combat. We win arguments, shoot down opposing views, target solutions, and defend our claims. We talk and think about our talking and thinking as if it were a zero-sum contest.

The trouble is, this metaphor of combat is deeply unhelpful.

If you’ve set your sights on winning, you’re less likely to explore alternatives, acknowledge uncertainty, or take on new information. This workshop introduces an alternative set of metaphors based on exploration rather than combat.

Participants learn a few simple habits that they can continue to apply in their daily lives that will make them more open, more exploratory, and more mindful of the biases and cognitive pitfalls that hinder critical thinking.

Aristotle on the Good Life

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, composed nearly 2400 years ago, remains surprisingly relevant. The book confronts head-on the question of what makes for a good life and works systematically toward an answer.

Aristotle thinks that most people organize their lives around the pursuit of pleasure, status, and money (some things haven’t changed much in the last 2400 years). But he thinks all of these pursuits are flawed-—and builds an argument for what would make for a more fulfilling life.

Aristotle doesn’t just give us an answer to the question of what makes for a good life. He also provides a method for answering it. In this workshop, we apply Aristotle’s method to our own lives. We enlist his guidance in thinking about what we most value and why.

Read a blog post by David on Aristotle.

Make Existential Anxiety Your Friend

Anxiety isn’t normally considered a good thing. It’s an unpleasant feeling associated with inner turmoil and indecision. And yet some philosophers have argued that anxiety can be valuable, even liberating. Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre teach us how to embrace existential anxiety and turn it to our advantage. 

This workshop provides an accessible introduction to existential anxiety and applies its lessons to the modern work environment. Anxiety arises when we lose our bearings—an experience increasingly common in a rapidly changing world. These moments of disorientation are also opportunities for change and growth, if we can learn to use them. The workshop includes practical exercises for cultivating the habits of flexibility and responsiveness.

Read an article by David on existential anxiety.

Bespoke Presentations and Workshops

Would you like a presentation or workshop suited to the particular needs of your organization? Talk to me!

I enjoy thinking up new ways to share the benefits of philosophy with diverse audiences.

Get in Touch

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