Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Philosophy can’t stay in its ivory tower. It provides a weapon against dogma and manipulation

UNESCO.org /Services / Courier Themes Education Natural Sciences Social & Human Sciences Culture Communication & Information Special Themes Worldwide Africa Arab States Asia and the Pacific Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Communities Member States Permanent Delegations National Commissions Ministries National Institutions Parliamentarians Cities and Local Authorities United Nations System Intergovernmental Organizations Non-Governmental Organizations Private Sector Media Specialized Networks Subscribe to the Courier Available in six languages

2007 - number 9 Philosophy : A cosmic responsibility Eight philosophers contributed to this issue of the UNESCO Courier, focusing on the role of philosophy today. Different approaches, varied concerns, but one certainty: philosophy can’t stay in its ivory tower. It provides a weapon against dogma and manipulation. And, to cite one of Jostein Gaarder’s ideas, philosophers have a cosmic responsibility. (More)

Jostein Gaarder : A user’s manual for our planet
As pollution and climate change threaten human survival on our planet, Norwegian philosopher Jostein Gaarder –the internationally celebrated author of "Sophie’s World" – argues that philosophy can help us defuse the time bomb that is ticking away. More

Michel Onfray : A philosopher of the Enlightenment
From art and politics to bioethics, religion, the internet and the odyssey of tea, French philosopher Michel Onfrey focuses on a multitude of issues that concern contemporary humanity in his numerous books and lectures. For Mr Onfray, philosophy must be effective on the existential plane. More

M. E. Orellana Benado : The humanity of humour
“There is nothing so ridiculous but some philosopher has said it,” Cicero argued. Chilean philosopher M. E. Orellana Benado for his part postulates that humour “has more to do with the diversity of ways in which we live (that is to say, with our identities), than with the way we reason and think (that is to say with our nature as human beings).” More

Peter J. King : Philosophy against manipulation
Philosophy cannot make people honest, believes British Professor Peter J. King, author of 100 Philosophers: a guide to the greatest thinkers of humanity. But it gives us the tools to defend ourselves against those who are neither benevolent nor truthful …who wish to manipulate us. More

Ioanna Kuçuradi : A Sisyphean task
The confusion prevailing in particular in political discourse makes it possible to claim “the right to offend”1 or to ascribe different meanings to the same terms: freedom of expression, laicité, terror etc. Philosophy can provide the tools against this misuse which has crucial results for practice, believes Turkish philosopher Ioanna Kuçuradi. More

Mohammed Arkoun : Philosophy and religion, between exchange and tension
“Islamizing” modernity instead of modernizing Islam – preposterous! worries Professor Mohammed Arkoun. A refuge in poor countries, a rejection of “tele-techno-scientific reasoning” in rich countries, religiosity is spreading in the world at the expense of humanist values and philosophical thinking. More

Kwasi Wiredu : Fostering intercultural understanding through dialogue
If the logical independence of morality from religion were to be generally understood, some of the ferocity of current conflicts might be reduced, says Ghanaian philosopher Kwasi Wiredu. More

Woo-Tak Kee : Towards a philosophy of universality
It is the philosopher’s task to “recover humanity” believes South-Korean philosopher Woo-Tak Kee who recommends a world philosophy for a world community. A philosophy that should play an important part in the universality within cultural diversity. More

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