Who We Are

The Young Philosophers of New York program is the ongoing work of a group of older (which is not to say old!) New York City philosophers and educators who are enthusiastically committed to sharing their love of thinking with New York’s youth. We believe it is in the vital interest of both our children and our city to do so. If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, contact us at info@philosophy.nyc.

Ask a Philosopher

Joseph S. Biehl is the founder and Executive Director of the Gotham Philosophical Society.  He holds a B.A. in philosophy from St. John’s University and a Ph.D. from the Graduate School and University Center, CUNY, and has taught philosophy for over twenty years.  He is a member of the American Philosophical Association and the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization.  He is a member of the Governing Board and former co-director of the Felician Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs. He lives in Washington Heights with his wife and three sons.


Ariel Sykes is an experienced educator who specializes in philosophy for children and dialogic pedagogy. She is an endorsed practitioner of the IAPC (Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children) and most recently worked as part of a research project funded by the U.S Department of Education to create a professional development and training program for teachers that help them successfully integrate inquiry dialogue into their classroom practice. Ariel holds her B.A and M.A in the field of philosophy and education.

Ariel is also the founder of The Enquiry Project which offers programming for people of all ages that cultivates deep thinking through dialogue. TEP also provides coaching and training for parents and educators. TEP is committed to the “community of inquiry” pedagogy and supporting other organizations who share our aim of deepening our understanding of the world through critical and productive dialogue with others (and the Gotham Philosophical Society is happy to have their support!).

DustinDustin Webster has worked with elementary and middle school age students in a variety of capacities for over 15 years.  His educational experiences have included working in the after school field, administrating a middle school literacy intervention program, and teaching English in South Korea.  He is currently a 5th grade teacher at the Mary McDowell Friends School in Brooklyn, NY, and graduate student in Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.  He has a strong interest in the practice of P4C and has been trained in the P4C methodology by the IAPC (Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children).  He has an academic background in political theory, and his research interests include the study of civics and pre-college philosophy instruction and their interactions with the moral and ethical development of students.

Saiki photo

Saiki Lucy Cheah is currently a graduate student of Philosophy and Education at Teachers College and a Tier X Coach at Equinox. She holds a BSc in Geography with Economics from the London School of Economics & Political Science, an MA in Philosophy of Social Science specialized in Comparative & International Education from Stockholm University and a Ph.D in Political Theory from LUISS University in Rome. She has taught interdisciplinary studies, sports/exercises and in-service coach development in one-on-one and small group classes (4-12) for over 20 years. She also developed experiential learning based curriculum such as Seasonal Vegetable Garden (2011), Live & Speak (2013) and Learning to Learn (2015). She is a member of the American Philosophical Association and a volunteer for the Coach for Kids program of the Wellness in the Schools Organization (WITS).


Ian Olasov is a doctoral student in philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches philosophy at Brooklyn College. His research interests are broad, but currently center around when and how people express their moral attitudes in everyday conversation. He also organizes Brooklyn Public Philosophers, a monthly philosophy speaker and discussion series for a general audience. You can read some of his writing for a general audience at Slate, Vox, and Public Seminar. He is Brooklyn born and bred.
 joannaJoanna Smolenski attended Columbia University as a John Jay Scholar, where she majored in Philosophy and concentrated in Political Science. Currently, she is a PhD Candidate in Philosophy at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center studying moral psychology, social and political philosophy, and normative ethics. She has taught a variety of undergraduate courses in philosophy at Brooklyn College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She took her first philosophy class as a middle schooler, and it (quite literally) changed her life. She looks forward to returning the favor, and introducing the next generation to philosophy with the Young Philosophers of New York.