What is PLATO?


PLATO’s mission is to nurture young people’s curiosity, critical thinking, and desire to explore big questions, through philosophy and ethics programs for students, educators, and families.

Our innovative work serves thousands of students, teachers, and community members nationally and internationally, fostering critical thinking, tolerance and understanding of diverse viewpoints, self-confidence, and analytic reasoning skills.

We offer:
• High school classes addressing difficult ethical issues, such as our obligations to future generations and other living beings.
• Elementary school classes that help children discuss their questions about such topics as friendship, justice, and time.
• Online seminars for teachers about how to include philosophy in math, science, art, and other subjects.
• Programs for families to inspire deeper conversations at home.

PLATO’s mission is based on the conviction that every child’s voice matters, and that philosophy helps young people to express their own ideas and questions confidently and well. Offering philosophy to young people, including those whose voices historically have been marginalized, brings needed new perspectives to philosophy and the humanities.

For many years we have run free “Philosophers in the Schools” and family programs in Seattle’s most underserved communities. Our funding program, High School Ethics Bowl, open access publications, free online resources, and extensive financial assistance are all grounded in our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

We believe every student deserves the opportunity to engage in philosophical conversations that matter to them.


“I learned about ways to engage my own beliefs and really think about why I had those ideas, what else did I believe in or not believe in, how did my experience shape my beliefs – the things we did in class let me become more aware of how I was thinking about my thinking.”
– High School Philosophy Student