Barefoot Chat - Let's Talk Philosophy

Barefoot Philosophers, in association with gnowledge lab of Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE, TIFR Mumbai), is happy to announce the start of Barefoot Chat, the public discussion platform for philosophy.

Anyone interested in philosophical exploration is welcome to become a member of this forum by registering at No prior acquaintance or knowledge of philosophy and humanities is required.

Barefoot Chat will be officially launched on 3 October at 3 pm with a webinar discussion led by Dr Sundar Sarukkai and other members of Barefoot Philosophers team on the topic “What do we see?”

Click here to join the webinar (on 3 october at 3 pm).

Here is the link of presentation which has a brief overview of the webinar platform: Link

For introductory reading on perception, see this: Perception - Notes.pdf (58.2 KB)

A pdf of the poster can be found here


Great program. will be there.


This is a great format allowing both live and asynchronous chats. Usually, in live webinars, a lot of people have things to say, but there is no time! And in normal fora, very few people can initiate and engage in conversation and these may not sustain for too long!

Barefoot Chat looks like an amalgamation of the best of both worlds. Weekly live sessions boost the engagement and the asynchronous chat allows people to continue talking even beyond live webinar!



Looking forward for 'Barefoot webinars " :wink:


@drishtantmkawale @saida786110 @Lydia @Farhan @KiranyadavR @arunimakunju99 @saswathy679 invite your friends to this new chatShaala. In fact, you can invite your teachers, aunts and uncles as well :slight_smile:

And actively engage in the conversations placing any comment or asking any kind of question openly just the way we normally do in our regular chatShaalas.


I’m somewhat troubled by the second essay in the reading that was shared, “Perception in theatre performance”. (In what follows, my interpretation of the essay might be different from that of the author’s. Perceptions can differ, after all!)

Taking off from the question posed in the last paragraph (“how to understand the researchers who participate in the scientific experiments?”), I think a more interesting question is how does one think of the different publics of science. In this framework, one could replace “the audience of art performances” with the “publics of science” to get a different mapping that has troubling implications because of the hierarchies implicit in it. A Viksaka would be someone who (some, perhaps many) scientists (condescendingly) think of as science-illiterate and therefore irrational; a Darshaka would be someone who is science-literate but not an expert in a particular topic; a Prekshaka would be a peer in the specific field, who would be in a position to critically evaluate the scientific claims being made through an experiment (or theory, for that matter).

One could think of this question in broader terms, as the problem of expertise and how to think of the relationship between experts/non-experts or insiders/outsiders. These are not binary categories – there are of course degrees of expertise, which is what the three categories above allude to. One could also broaden this question to go beyond art or science and think of expertise in other contexts. I see no reason why we shouldn’t think of everyday tasks (cooking, for example) as involving considerable expertise. So the question really is: how does one think through – and perhaps reconcile, if necessary – the differing perceptions of a topic/performance/experiment/theory that people who have varying degrees of expertise would have? In what way would one reconcile their differing perceptions? Is reconciliation possible? Even more broadly, how do any two people come to agree on anything at all, given that their perceptions are, almost by definition, different?


Thanks for rising this point. First of all, these three terms - vikshaka, darshaka, prekshaka - are three different stages of a person whenever she is in the process of watching a performance. To reiterate what is performance, one of the theatre scholars, Richard Schechner defines performance as that which is ‘to show’. Keeping this in mind, we can think of any demonstrations as performances, provided they have a set of people to watch. Considering this, we can extend the above stages to even science performances like public demonstrations, experiments, rocket launching and so on. After all, these also fall under the category of performance.

Moreover, these terms also address the how publics of science watch science performances. But my question lies more on the imagination part of people. Like in the case of theatre, do science experiments invoke any kind of imagination, empathy or any intersubjectivity in the audience? If yes, the perception of the science performances is more creative one which may end up providing aesthetic experience. If not, the publics may end up not experiencing the aesthetics from the performance. What say?


In a not so rigorous treatment on the subject of those who watch performances in games, such as in cricket, I have discussed the role of spectators in STEM activities. In fact, the term “STEM Games” used for this platform comes from the idea that nothing is a game unless there are spectators, and there will be no spectators if the game does not have some shared rule-following.

In the above article, I used three types of spectators, derived from the games we play or witness, such as cricket: people, spectators, players, and umpires. I have included players also in the same group, since the performer is also watching, in this case perceiving and watching, though the role in the game can be distinguished.

The idea of doing this exercise is on one hand to explore all cultural practices as some kind of rule-following activities, though the rigor of rule-following may range from very strict to close to non-existent if not absent. And on the other hand to model them as games (microworlds) so that we can invite people to participate in them.

It is very interesting how we are moving from a simple act of seeing to perception, perceiver, experience, spectator, participant, and to interpretation. Is it too far fetched to say that best education is to train students to perceive differently so that they can choose the games they would like to play/participate?


Dear GN

Good to know that you are working on the concept of spectators in games. I would really like to read it. However, the question of considering the actors as audience is also an interesting to think of. But considering the conservative theories of arts, acting, aesthetics and so on, it is clear so far that the actors are supposed to be involved in the characters. In the case of games, however, this restriction is not there. But, considering my explanation of the three stages of audience, the players in a game cannot the true audience since there is a kind of personal attachment, hence no ‘disinterested’ (to borrow Immanuel Kant’s idea) with the performance of the games. Therefore, we may need to come up with a different theory altogether. What is your thought on it?