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Philosophy Could Be Key To World Challenges

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 16 2012 (IPS) - World Philosophy Day, which promotes the exercise of critical thought and freedom of expression, can be viewed as an original and powerful way, among others, to face challenges of peace and development.

“Faced with the complexity of today’s world, philosophical reflection is above all a call to humility, to take a step back and engage in reasoned dialogue, to build together the solutions to challenges that are beyond our control,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“The greater the difficulties encountered the greater the need for philosophy to make sense of questions of peace and sustainable development,” she added, in a statement released Thursday.

Celebrated every year by UNESCO, Philosophy Day has been scheduled every third Thursday of November beginning 2005. It was created with the aim of developing a philosophical reflection about the collective heritage in philosophy received from the past and to spread new ideas worldwide in this academic area.

“UNESCO reaffirms the power of philosophy to change the world, because it can help us to change ourselves by giving weight to our indignation before injustice, lucidity to ask the right questions, and conviction to defend human dignity,” stated Bokova.

When various crises strike numerous regions in the world and create not only hard political and economical challenges but also social and cultural challenges, philosophy can turn an abstract activity of the mind into a concrete appropriate way to resolve such issues.

It is time to give an opportunity to intellectuals and civil society to debate on our current society by sharing a multitude of experiences and views while respecting cultural diversity.

Moreover, under the 2012 World Philosophy Day theme, “Future Generations”, UNESCO wishes to promote the need of teaching philosophy in primary school which is needed for the democratization of philosophy.

“It is one of the conditions of a more intelligent public debate and that is why philosophy is indispensable to the education of younger generations,” said Bokova.

Philosophy can be an opportunity to ask ourselves various essential questions such as who we are as individuals and as a world community, what we neglect to think about or which intolerable realities we get used to.

Thanks to these questions, people can value whether our society corresponds to the ideals of justice and equality for example. “Beyond all of our differences, we are all equal in the exercise of reason. This is the sure way to build fairer, more equitable societies, sustained by the energy of critical thinking,” Bokova concluded.

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