The Agora website was founded in 2014 by Ran Lahav and Carmen Zavala in order to offer philosophical resources to philosophical practitioners around the world, and to anybody who wants to explore what philosophy can contribute to our everyday life.

Ran Lahav

Ran Lahav photo

I am a philosophical practitioner and philosophical counselor. I grew up in Israel, and in 1989 received my doctorate in philosophy and Master’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan, USA. After teaching at a university in Texas for several years, I joined the field of philosophical practice in 1992. The field was still very small, and I helped expanding it by initiating and co-organizing the First International Conference of Philosophical Practice in 1994, by publishing books and articles, and by giving numerous lectures and workshops around the world. I also gave the first university course in the world on philosophical counseling, at Haifa University in Israel, a course which I continued teaching for fifteen years. I now live in relative isolation in rural Vermont, USA, but I frequently travel to give presentations in countries around the world.

Ran Lahav's professional articles


Ran Lahav's books:

Photo of online Handbook book Ran Stepping out Cover 4.5small Essays on PC photo
Handbook of Philosophical Companionships (2016) Stepping out of Plato's cave (2016)
Essays on Philosophical Counseling (1995)

A philosophical companionship is a group of people who contemplate in togetherness on philosophical ideas, giving voice to their inner depth. This handbook explains the general principles of the companionship and provides a detailed list of practical procedures and exercises.

Ran Lahav's general vision of philosophical practice - it's history, aspirations, and methods. Step by step, the process of philosophical practice is explained with the help of detailed case studies.

This book, the first to be published in English on philosophical practice/counseling, is a collection of articles by Lahav, Jongsma, Boele, Norman, Achenbach, Schefczyk, Mijuskovic, Segal, Cohen, Prins-Bakker, Gerbers, Hoogendijk, Marinoff, Bernstein, and Bolin.

Saliendo de la Caverna 
Philosophical Contemplation (2018) The Deep Philosophy Group (2018) Saliendo de la Caverna de Platón (traduccion 2018)

A practical and theoretical guide to philosophical contemplation, designed for beginning and experienced contemplators, with and without background in philosophy. It explains general principles, basic concepts, and a variety of practical techniques.


The Deep Philosophy Group is an international group of practitioners who reflect in togetherness, in their inner depth, on fundamental life-issues. This booklet, edited by Ran Lahav, contains articles by Ran Lahav, Michele Zese, Regina Penner, Sebastian Drobny, Kirill Rezvushkin, Leon  de  Haas, and Stefania  Giordano.


Este libro discute los principios de la Práctica Filosófica y explica cómo pueden ser aplicados en consejería, companionships y búsquedas personales de individuos. Una serie de estudios de caso ilustran el proceso de manera comprensible. 

[Spanish translation of "Stepping out of Plato's Cave"]

Oltre la Filosofia photo Comprendere la vita photo Essays Korean photo
Oltre la Flosofia (Italian, 2010) Comprendere la Vita (Italian, 2005) Essays on Philosophical Counseling (Korean, 2013)

An early version of the book Stepping out of Plato's Cave (2016), presenting Ran Lahav's vision of philosopical practice.

A collection of early articles by Ran Lahav that had appeared in various professional journals.

A translation into Korean of the book Essays on Philosophical Counseling (1994).

Spiritual Lexicon Hebrew photo Palaces in Heaven photo Lu book photo
What Lu Whispered to Me (Hebrew, 2016) Palaces in Heaven (Hebrew, 2010) Lu - an inner journal (Hebrew, 2004)

A collection of short philosophical-poetic texts on spiritual concepts, organized alphabetically as if it was a spiritual lexicon.

A novel, with spiritual, philosophical, and erotic themes, based on the ancient mystical Jewish Heikhalot literature.

A spiritual autobiography, based on spiritual journals recording the author's spiitual journey in the years 1990-2000.


Carmen Zavala

CarmenOct2016cpcI am a philosopher and philosophical practitioner with a doctorate in philosophy from San Marcos National University in Peru. Until recently I had have been teaching philosophy for many years at several state universities in Lima.

In 1997 I founded in Lima, together with 3 other philosophers, the philosophy center Buho Rojo in a house that belongs to my family. The center, devoted to philosophical practice, has been active ever since.

In April 1998 we started giving in Buho Rojo a weekly philosophical café to the general public free of charge, which we continue giving to the present day. Throughout the years we have organized various philosophical workshops and retreat, as well as national and international conferences on philosophical practice.

In 2001 we founded the Peruvian Society of Philosophical Counseling and Philosophical Practice of which I have been the General Secretary.

In the first few years we also offered intensive philosophical activities designed for school children. Through the Society we organized two Philosophy Olympics for school children from all over Peru, with the sponsorship of the Department of Philosophy of San Marcos University and the Peruvian Ministry of Education.

In 2009 I gave a popular philosophical Internet video program, Filosofía al Día, together with several philosopher friends. The program was inspired by the vision of spreading philosophical reflection to all people.

PhiloCafeSartreI currently live in Lima and earn my living as a sworn translator (Spanish-German). In our philosophy house Buho Rojo I continue organizing the weekly philosophical cafés on Saturday evenings, and from time to time I organize philosophical workshops on other weekdays, as well as philosophical retreats that explore various aspects to philosophical practice. I also design philosophy websites and videos that are intended to make philosophical practice accessible to as many people as possible.
More information about me: www.carmenzavala.de