Plutarch's Table

Philosophy Salons | September 21, 2010

The Appeal of the Salon

Salons have been a regular feature of human society throughout our history, from the Athenian Symposia to the café culture of Paris in the 1920s.  The word came into use in the 17th century, through salons that were most often hosted by women who had no official role in the political sphere but refused to be excluded from public engagement.  They gathered around them writers, artists, intellectuals, and like-minded citizens who came together to share ideas and inspire and learn from one another.  Not only have salons such as these been credited for inciting large-scale historical change like the French and American revolutions, but they have also been responsible for stimulating on a smaller scale everything from artistic movements to greater civic engagement to a more thoughtful populace on the whole.  Salons allow us the public forum to voice our ideas and the chance to learn how to think and share ideas in a more satisfying way, in a setting that is welcoming, stimulating and egalitarian.  In our age of technological speed and instant gratification, I like to think of the salon as slow food for the mind, where we take the time to ask the deeper questions and expand the limits of our too-familiar worlds, in the company of friends old and new.  And of course with some great food and wine.

Plutarch’s Table salons

Plutarch’s Table specializes in salon evenings that you can host in your own home and we are open to any great ideas that you want to put into action.  Our orientation is philosophical but we believe that almost any topic can be approached philosophically, so we are happy to consult with you in designing a topic that suits your own interests and that you think will be particularly stimulating for your guests.  All talks and discussions are designed for non-philosophers.

Some clients like to host a regular salon evening with changing but related topics, while others like to host the occasional dinner party as a separate event.  The event can be a wine and cheese, a dinner party, a cocktail party, or anything that involves food and drink and socializing.

I also work with a fabulous caterer and can arrange and run the entire event from start to finish.

Other Events

I also offer Literary Salons, which work something like book clubs, and I periodically host my own Salon evenings.  Check Upcoming Events to see what’s happening.

Contact me for more information at



  1. […] who came out and participated with such enthusiasm.  Check out all our info to see how you can host your own salon.  And huge thanks to Victoria, whose amazing food can be delivered to your door.  Thanks also to […]

    Pingback by Happiness 2 « Plutarch's Table — November 22, 2010 @ 10:49 am

  2. […] had no idea what to expect when Joanna Polley, Barter Babe 29.0 and founder of Plutarch’s Table, offered to barter a Philosophy Salon with […]

    Pingback by Double Barter…what a night! | The Barter Babes Project — December 23, 2010 @ 9:55 am

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About author

My name is Joanna Polley. I am a writer and a philosopher experimenting with ways of practicing and teaching philosophy outside of the university environment. I completed my PhD at the University of Toronto and have taught for several years in the departments of philosophy and literary studies, and am currently exploring ways to bring philosophy out of the ivory tower and into the wider public sphere. My specific research interests have been in the history of philosophy, philosophy of language and culture and the philosophy of literature, but I am interested in any philosophy that helps illuminate contemporary problems and deepens our experience of being alive. You can also visit me at for information about my philosophical therapy services.







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