Socrates "Virtual" Cafe

February's Topic: Cognitive Dissonance (noun - the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.)

The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the mental discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs, values, or attitudes. People tend to seek consistency in their attitudes and perceptions, so this conflict causes feelings of unease or discomfort.  This inconsistency between what people believe and how they behave motivates people to engage in actions that will help minimize feelings of discomfort. People attempt to relieve this tension in different ways, such as by rejecting, explaining away, or avoiding new information.

What, When, Where, and What time? A Socrates Cafe brings together a group of diverse individuals to discuss a topic chosen by the group in a safe and friendly environment. Participants generally meet on the second Thursday of every month. The cafe is hosted by the Ligonier Valley Library in their Zoom chat room, participants will join from the comfort of their home.

Registration is required. Register here:

*Note: Everyone must register to attend (including those who have attended previous virtual or in-person cafes.


Need more details? We’re happy to answer your questions. Call the Ligonier Valley Library at 724-238-6451 or keep reading. Just as it did when the group met in person, the virtual café brings together a group of diverse individuals to propose, explore, interrogate, investigate, and seek to persuade each other about our own-generated questions – but with one major twist, you join the discussion from the comfort of your home via a Ligonier Valley Library hosted Zoom chat room. You can use a personal computer, tablet, or even your smartphone to join the conversation. (We recommended testing your device’s audio and visual capability ahead of time.) There is also an option to phone in.

Whether in-person or virtual, the purpose of the café is to become more informed and accepting. The group discussions are meant to inspire each person within the group to discover and cultivate his/her unique point of view. The café is not a debate society or a platform for proselytizing or sermonizing. We do not all think alike, but we can all come together and feel safe to share our views. 

The facilitator will be Dighton Fiddner, Ph.D. (“Mac”), who is twice retired – first from the U.S. Army, and second from Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he was a professor of political science, and his assistant is local resident, Trudy Brisendine. They promise to keep the group inquisitive and focused!