Está en la página 1de 303

The designations employed throughout the publication and the presentation of material

do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO
concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities,
or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Published in 2007 by:
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Social and Human Sciences Sector
7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France

Originally published in French
as “La Philosophie, une École de la Liberté. Enseignement de la philosophie et apprentissage
du philosopher : État des lieux et regards pour l’avenir”
(UNESCO, 2007), translated by UNESCO

Coordinated by
Moufida Goucha, Chief of the Human Security, Democracy and Philosophy Section

Assisted by
Feriel Ait-ouyahia, Arnaud Drouet, Kristina Balalovska

Any communication concerning this publication can be sent to:
Human Security, Democracy and Philosophy Section
Social and Human Sciences Sector

1, rue Miollis
75732 Paris Cedex 15, France
Tel.: +33 (0)1 45 68 45 52
Fax: +33 (0)1 45 68 57 29
E-mail: philosophy&

Cover images: gettyimages
Interior images: © Jérémie Dobiecki
Designed by Jérémie Dobiecki
Printed by Dumas-Titoulet Imprimeurs

ISBN 978-92-3-104070-2
© UNESCO 2007
Printed in France

Teaching philosophy
and learning to philosophize:
Status and prospects

UNESCO Publishing

Special thanks
To the experts Michel Tozzi (Chapter I), Luca Scarantino (Chapters II and III), Oscar
Brenifier (Chapter IV) and Pascal Cristofoli (Chapter V), who provided UNESCO with the
basis for this study, of which both spirit and letter have largely been retained. We thank
them for their precious support and involvement, which have been both informative and

A special thanks goes to Sonia Bahri, Chief of the Section for International Cooperation
in Higher Education at UNESCO, for her valuable input and support to this publication.

We also thank National Commissions for UNESCO and Permanent Delegations to
UNESCO, for having officially called for this study, as well as for having contributed to its
realization – for the large majority of them; the UNESCO Philosophy Chairholders, for reacting
promptly and providing an up-to-date overview of the regional aspects of the teaching of
philosophy; to NGOs, for their reactivity and determination to accompany UNESCO in this

This study is dedicated to all those who engaged themselves, with vigour and conviction,
in the defence of the teaching of philosophy - a fertile guarantor of liberty and autonomy.
This publication is also dedicated to the young spirits of today, bound to become the active
citizens of tomorrow.


Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO viii

Philosophy at UNESCO: Past, present and future
Pierre Sané, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences

The dynamics of the method
Moufida Goucha, Chief of the Human Security, Democracy and Philosophy Section
(UNESCO) xvi

Chapter I 1 - 45
Teaching philosophy and learning to philosophize
at pre-school and primary levels
Philosophy and young minds: The age of wonder
Table of contents of Chapter I 1
Introduction: The road travelled, the road ahead 3
Methodology 4
I. Questions raised by Philosophy with Children 5
II. Promoting philosophically directed practices at pre-school and primary levels:
Orientations and avenues for action 15
III. Philosophy with children: A development to be acknowledged 25
IV. Philosophy at the pre-school and primary levels: A few figures 43
Conclusion: From what is desirable to what is possible 45

Chapter II 47 - 93
Teaching philosophy in secondary education
The age of questioning
Table of contents of Chapter II 47
Introduction: The different aspects of philosophy in secondary education 48
Methodology 49
I. The presence of philosophy in schools: Some controversies 51
II. Suggestions to reinforce the teaching of philosophy at secondary level 67
III. Taking stock: Institutions and practices 75
IV. Philosophy at the secondary level: A few figures 91
Conclusion: Philosophy during adolescence: A force for creative change 93


Chapter III 95 - 149
Teaching philosophy in higher education
Philosophy in the university context
Table of contents of Chapter III 95
Introduction: The development and teaching of philosophical knowledge 97
Methodology 99
I. The dynamics between philosophy teaching and research in universities 100
II. Philosophy facing emerging challenges: Questions and stakes 113
III. Diversification and internationalization of philosophical teaching 123
IV. Philosophy in higher education: A few figures 148
Conclusion: The future of philosophy 149

Chapter IV 151 - 195
Other ways to discover philosophy
Philosophy in the polis
Table of contents of Chaper IV 151
Introduction: The other dimensions of philosophy 153
Methodology 153
I. The need to philosophize 154
II. The various kinds of philosophical practice 161
III. Twenty suggestions towards action 179
IV. Informal philosophy: A few figures 194
Conclusion: Is it philosophical? 195

Chapter V 197 - 237
The teaching of philosophy as revealed by
UNESCO’s online self-administered survey
Table of contents of Chapter V 197
Introduction: An inclusive, collective procedure 198
I. Principal results by subject 199
II. Tools, method and organization of the survey 222
Conclusion: A ground-breaking survey 229
UNESCO’s online questionnaire 230


Point of view 239 - 241

Annexes 243 - 279

Annex 1. Committee of experts – Reading committee 244
Annex 2. List of other contributors to the study 245
Annex 3. Glossary 247
Annex 4. Some useful bibliographical references 253
Annex 5. List of used acronyms 271
Annex 6. Index of mentioned countries 275


Koïchiro Matsuura
Director-General of the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
‘Philosophy: a school of freedom’ – a striking title that alone could sum up the
essence of the present work. This is the title chosen for this UNESCO study of
the present state of the teaching of philosophy in the world, a study fully in
keeping with UNESCO’s Intersectoral Strategy on Philosophy as adopted by
the Executive Board of the UNESCO in April 2005.

The very mission of UNESCO, dedicated to as a procedure, as teaching, thus makes it
serving the intellectual and moral solidarity possible to develop each person’s skills to
of humanity, is to embrace and promote question, compare, conceptualise.
knowledge as a whole. In an open,
inclusive and pluralistic, knowledge-oriented The first study of teaching philosophy
society, philosophy has its rightful place. Its throughout the world conducted by
teaching alongside the other social and UNESCO and published in 1953 already
human Sciences remains at the heart of our emphasised the role of philosophy in
concerns. becoming aware of the fundamental
problems of science and culture and in the
This work is not simply an inventory of emergence of well-argued reflection on the
what is being done and not being done in future of the human condition. Philosophy
the field of teaching philosophy today. By has changed. It has opened itself up to the
establishing a clearly understandable world and to other disciplines. Let us see in
interpretative framework, by offering that one more reason to expand its teaching
suggestions and new orientations, it goes where it exists and to promote it where it
well beyond that. In this way, it is intended does not exist.
to be a genuine, practical, future-oriented
tool, well-documented and up to date, To reopen this debate by prolonging it is
where each person will find food for also, and above all, to put the question of
thought. teaching and educational policies back at
the heart of the international agenda, a
What is the teaching of philosophy if not matter of major importance if we wish to
the teaching of freedom and critical reasoning? increase the value of our knowledge and
Philosophy actually implies exercising share it, to invest in quality education to
freedom in and through reflection because ensure equal opportunity for everyone.
it is a matter of making rational judgements and
not just expressing opinions, because it is a Each Member State of UNESCO, all NGOs,
matter not just of knowing, but of unders- all philosophical associations, and all others
tanding the meaning and the principles of concerned and interested are therefore
knowing, because it is a matter of asked to take up the challenge of appropriating
developing a critical mind, rampart par the results of this study and of discovering
excellence against all forms of doctrinaire constructive, useful orientations there.
passion. These objectives require time, May, therefore, each draw upon a vast
taking a serious look at oneself, at other body of ideas, experiences, initiatives,
cultures and languages. This is a long process that and practices, brought together in an
is dependent upon enlightened instruction, opportune manner so as better to face Koïchiro
upon rigorously putting concepts and ideas tomorrow’s challenges.
into perspective. Philosophy, as a method, Matsuura

Pierre Sané
Assistant Director-General
for Social and Human Sciences (UNESCO)
‘It is not enough to fight against illiteracy: we must also know the books which
[one] must read. It is not enough to work together at scientific discoveries:
everyone must understand that the value of science lies not so much in its
applications […] as in the emancipation of the human mind and in the creation
of a vast spiritual commonwealth above all clans and empires.’
Memorandum on the philosophy programme of UNESCO, June 1946

A pivotal discipline in the social sciences about the present state of the teaching of
and humanities, philosophy finds its place philosophy in the world —an indispensable
at the crossroads of the development of prerequisite for any future activity in this
individuals, for beyond just knowing, it is domain, since alert, enlightened reflection
definitely a matter of ‘knowing how to be’. is the guarantor of action that is intelligent
Just as there is an art of knowing, there is and to the point.
also an art of teaching. This is why UNESCO
today proposes to present a study organi- Finding its place at the intersection of education
sed into three phases: a taking into account and the social sciences and humanities, this
of the contributions of previous studies of study is intended to be intersectoral. These two
the subject, an outline of this teaching as it sectors falling within UNESCO’s scope joined
is practised today, and a sketch of prospects for
forces in this regard to work together on its
the future.
preparation, the basis of which is grounded
just as much in pedagogy itself as in philosophy -
The framework for this study draws upon
exemplary co-operation that was manifest
an essential assumption: that UNESCO
in each of the stages of putting together
does not presume to set forth any method
the work, and especially the questionnaire
or philosophical orientation of any kind
that served as a qualitative and quantitative
apart from that of the culture of peace. The
initiative for this study decided upon by the
Member States in conjunction with the
It was this study’s job to put an interpretative
Secretariat of UNESCO responds to a (1) Intersectoral Strategy
framework faithfully mirroring the situation on Philosophy, adopted
constant leitmotiv of promoting philosophy
of this teaching today at the disposal of the by the Executive Board of UNESCO
and encouraging its teaching, as attested at its 171st session (2005).
Member States and, while bringing to light
to by UNESCO’s Intersectoral Strategy on Document 171 EX/12.
deficiencies in the field, such as the lack of (2) The proclamation of a World
Philosophy(1). This strategy is built on three
philosophical teaching or the possible Philosophy Day by the UNESCO
key pillars of action: i) Philosophy facing General Conference in 2005
misuse of it, to open up prospects for the
world problems: dialogue, analysis and was an important moment
reformulation or improvement of programmes as in UNESCO’s impetus in favour
questioning of contemporary society; ii) Teaching of the promotion of philosophy
they exist. The study means thus forcefully
philosophy in the world: fostering critical and its teaching. The preamble
to reaffirm the role of philosophy as a to this solemn proclamation
reflection and independent thinking; and expresses the conviction
rampart against the double danger repre-
iii) Promotion of philosophical thought and of the Member States of the
sented by obscurantism and extremism, a Organization in the importance
central concern of the Member States of of philosophy and in its protection
from the double danger represented
Within this Strategy, teaching thus figures the Organisation(2). Yet, what places better by obscurantist and extremist
as the keystone for fruitful action by than schools can offer this insuperable thought.
UNESCO in the domain of philosophy. The rampart? Provided they are havens for free, Proclamation of a World Philosophy
Day. Proceedings of the General
first activity required for this theme preci- critical and independent thinking. Who Conference of UNESCO, thirty-
sely involves the preparation of a study other than teachers, trainers, educators can third session, Paris, 2005, 33C/45.


teach others to reflect, weigh evidence and philosophy and how it acts as mirror in our
be wary of certitudes? Provided they are societies.
guides and not authorities on what to
think. If there is a message to be conveyed by this
study, it would certainly that of exhorting
us to consider the teaching of philosophy
This study has a genuine raison d’être
to be necessary and something to be recko-
today. A veritable documentary breeding
ned with - a message already conveyed in
ground, it provides a detailed description of the previous studies realised by UNESCO on
the different modes of teaching philosophy, the subject, and one with a resonance and
both at the traditional secondary and pointedness more than ever relevant to our
university levels and in new areas, such as times.
teaching at the primary school level, or
unexpected areas, such as new philosophi- The past nurtures the present and forges
cal practices. It also endeavours to ask the the future. It is around this dynamic of past,
right questions, ones challenging to educa- present and future that UNESCO’s work in
tional issues concerning teaching philoso- the area of the teaching of philosophy and,
phy. It proposes to outline some sugges- more generally the promoting of it, is
tions, some orientations able to constitute organised.
a reference tool for policies concerning the
teaching of philosophy. It is certainly a very
ambitious study in that it is not satisfied
with just being descriptive, but also proposes
taking a penetrating look at the teaching of

Philosophy past: Philosophy teaching, of constant interest
Philosophy has always been integral to and, especially, the place it occupies in the
UNESCO. It inspired its Constitution to a teaching systems of different countries,
large extent, and as early as 1946, UNESCO with its role in the moulding of the citizen
bestowed upon itself a philosophy pro- as well, as well with the importance it assu-
(3) Proceedings of the General
Conference of UNESCO, fifth
gram. The noted presence of great philoso- mes in the search for improved understan-
session, Florence, 1950, 5 phers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Emmanuel ding among people.(4) The report had been
C/Resolutions 4.1212.
Mounier and Alfred J. Ayer at the published with a general analysis of the
(4) Proceedings of the General
Conference of UNESCO, sixth Organisation’s General Conference held at problems raised by the teaching of philoso-
session, Paris, 1951, 6 C/Resolutions the Sorbonne forcefully attests to the phy prepared by Georges Canguilhem, at
importance that the Organisation has the time young ‘Inspecteur général de phi-
(5) At its twentieth session,
in 1978, the General Conference wished to accord to this discipline and losophie’ in France. It was accompanied by
of UNESCO adopted, inter alia those practising it. The creation of the a joint declaration by part of experts.
Resolution 3/3.3/1, authorizing the
Director-General ‘to carry out
International Council for Philosophy and
activities designed to contribute to Humanistic Studies and the founding of the In 1978, the Member States requested
the attainment of Objective 3.3 journal Diogène by Roger Caillois ensued in UNESCO to prepare studies on teaching
(Contribution to the development
of infrastructures and programmes 1949, then in 1960, the creation of a philosophy and philosophical research in
in the social sciences with a view Division of Philosophy entrusted to the each region of the world(5). This consulting
to increasing the different societies’
ability to find ways of solving philosopher Jeanne Hersch. of the regions, which spread out over a
social and human problems) under decade, had as its goal a vast inquiry espe-
the following themes:
‘Enhancement and promotion of As early as 1950, at its fifth session, the cially dealing with interdisciplinary practices
the role of philosophical studies General Conference of UNESCO decided to in the world.
and the teaching of philosophy in
the life of the different societies
conduct ‘an inquiry into the place of the
and contribution to the critical teaching of philosophy in the several edu- For the African region, a meeting of philo-
elucidation and development of cational systems, the way in which it is sophers was organised in Nairobi, Kenya in
the interdisciplinary aspects of
research and reflection on human given, and its influence upon the moulding June 1980 and led to a series of recom-
problems.’ Proceedings of the of the citizen’(3). Undertaken in 1951 and mendations already attesting to the crucial
General Conference of UNESCO,
twentieth session, Paris, 1978, 1952, and celebrated since that time, this role desired for philosophy in Africa. The
Vol. I: 21 C/Resolutions 3/3.3/1. inquiry dealt with the teaching of philosophy participants stressed numerous problems


connected with the teaching of philosophy For the Europe region, the regional
and philosophical research in Africa, consultation found expression in a work on
ranging from the teaching of philosophy philosophy in Europe published in 1993 in
during the pre-colonial period and the collaboration with the International
colonial heritage of the subject to the Institute of Philosophy (IIP) and the ICPHS(6).
philosophical training of scientists and the This extensive inquiry aimed at describing
scientific training of philosophers, including the present state of philosophy in Europe. It
several suggestions for a ‘conceptual contains country-by-country inventories of
decolonisation’. the major trends and issues in philosophy,
as well as an outline of the actual, more or
For the Asia-Pacific region, a meeting of less difficult circulation of philosophical
philosophers was held in Bangkok, thought among countries, therefore, of the
Thailand in February 1983. This meeting dialogue necessary among thinkers and
most particularly concerned the professio- intellectuals that goes beyond national and
nalisation of philosophy and brought to cultural borders.
light the extent to which philosophy in this
region is impregnated with religion and In 1994, UNESCO wished to supplement
history, as well as the need to re-establish a the 1951 inquiry. With the idea of opening
dialogue between sociologists and up a new forum for reflecting and debating
philosophers, in order to reduce the gap about the place of philosophy in today’s
between the two disciplines and to allow cultures and in shaping the free judgement
for a fruitful exchange on the understanding of citizens, the new study conducted by
of societal issues. Roger-Pol Droit included contributions by
important figures from sixty-six countries(7).
For the Latin America and Caribbean It was a question there of philosophy and
region, a meeting of experts was held in democratic processes, of the relationships
June 1985 in Lima, Peru. The experts informed between philosophy and economic
UNESCO of a series of requests with a view interdependence, electronic technologies, the
to: preparing an interdisciplinary study on teaching of science, and political philosophy,
the relationship between philosophy and and the role of the citizen.
the exact, natural, social and human sciences; In 1995, UNESCO organised the international
promoting studies of the history of ideas study days in Paris marked by the famous
and their influence; promoting a Paris Declaration for Philosophy(8). This
contemporary bibliography of philosophy Declaration reaffirms that, by training free,
in Latin America and the Caribbean; reflective, minds capable of resisting
encouraging the participation of specialists various forms of propaganda, fanaticism,
in philosophy from Latin America and the exclusion and intolerance, philosophical
Caribbean philosophy in the journal education contributes to peace and prepares
Diogène; and encouraging translations of everyone to shoulder responsibilities in face
philosophical works (from and into Spanish of the great challenges of the contemporary
and Portuguese). world, particularly in the field of ethics. The
Declaration also stresses that philosophical
For the Arab region, a meeting of philosophers teaching must be maintained or expanded
was held in July 1987 in Marrakech, where it exists, introduced where it does
Morocco on the theme of ‘Teaching and not yet exist, and be explicitly called ‘philosophy’,
research in philosophy in the Arab World’. while reminding people that philosophical
This meeting made it possible to portray a teaching must be provided by competent
portrait of the teaching of this discipline in teachers, specially trained for that purpose,
the various Arab countries, at the and can not be subordinated to any
secondary school and university levels, as economic, technical, religious, political or
well as in the research domain. This meeting ideological imperative. Finally, it insists on the (6) Raymond Klibansky and David
Pears (eds), La philosophie en
was also the occasion of a round table fact that while remaining autonomous, where- Europe. Paris, UNESCO/Gallimard,
discussion to commemorate the thinker Ibn ver possible, philosophical teaching must be 1993.
(7) Roger-Pol Droit, Philosophy and
Tufayl, which proved propitious for recalling actually associated with, and not just juxtaposed
Democracy in the World: A UNESCO
the influence of philosophy on launching against, university or professional education in Survey, Paris, UNESCO, 1995
medieval thought. all fields. (8)


After 1995, UNESCO’s philosophy realities – in particular, as concerns
programme would be pursued through the philosophy for children, as well as the mul-
creation of regional networks, particularly timedia encyclopaedia of the philosophical
active in Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin sciences – which all share the same goal:
America and the Caribbean, as well as in the popularisation of an international philo-
Africa. Other initiatives also became sophical culture.

Philosophy present: Teaching philosophy here and now
Why a report on the state of the teaching by a catalogue of the reforms that have
of philosophy here and now? Because the marked the teaching of philosophy, as well
world is perpetually changing, just as our as experimentation meriting special atten-
cultures are, as ways of exchanging tion.
knowledge are, as the question asking is
and, of course, the teaching of philosophy The originality of this study finds expression
and philosophy itself is. Working to update in the identification of Live questions that
the facts is indispensable to an intelligible constantly challenge the UNESCO Member
understanding of the world, in order better States, just as they do teachers, researchers
to confront the challenges facing it. It is and those practising philosophy. Take, for
precisely due to this concern to understand example, especially: the question of philosophical
our environment that UNESCO undertook educability in childhood, with its psychological,
to prepare this study at this time in order to philosophical and sociological dimensions; the
contribute to the writing of a new page of importance of innovation when it comes to
this story – while taking care to take a teaching methods; the fundamental role of the
penetrating look at what we have learned teacher and the question of educating
in order to have a lucid vision of the future educators; questions about withdrawing
of this teaching. and/or replacing philosophical teaching;
professional opportunities; the need to
Coming more than a decade after the last philosophize; or the philosophers’ status
inquiry conducted by UNESCO on the and position - just so many questions that
subject, the present study is sustained by have been dealt with in a fresh, expert way,
very rich documentary and bibliographical with an eye to promoting a better
work(9). It was resolute in its determination understanding of the issues arising in a
to reach the maximum number of Member most acute way today in the world. These
States of the Organisation so as to illustrate Live questions are all the more meaningful
faithfully its world-wide calling. All of the in that they show that philosophy teaching
(9) Some facts and figures can countries, without exception, were will only be able to fulfil its function if it is
serve to make one aware of the
difference between the 1951 and
consulted, and many of them contributed itself part of an educational process that is
the 1994 inquiry. The first one really their input into the study by joining in the thought out, conceived, integrated with
only concerned nine countries. process in an eminently participative way. respect to the other disciplines, where each
That of 1994, entitled `Philosophy
and Democracy in the World’, plays its role, where each complements the
gathered facts coming from 66 Like the zoom lens of a camera, the study other, where each enriches the other.
countries. Apart from
the quantitative aspect, unprecedented zeroed in on four facets of teaching philosophy, Indeed, taken separately, none of the
in this domain, so as to embrace all the levels involving disciplines taught can carry out the overall
the 1994 study was not, strictly
speaking, a study on the state of
both formal education and informal education: i) educational mission on its own. Inversely,
the teaching of philosophy, but Philosophy and young minds, the age of drowning the teaching of philosophy in a
rather an analysis of the connections
between philosophical educa-
wonder – its teaching at the pre-school and sea of other academic subjects would be
tion and democratic processes. It primary levels; ii) Philosophy at the age of equivalent to stripping it of its meaning.
nevertheless had the merit of questioning – its teaching at the secondary Beyond any interest one might have in the
bringing to light the importance of
recognizing a multiplicity of school level; iii) Philosophy in the university – significance itself of philosophy courses in
teaching methods combining its teaching in higher education; iv) Discovering the overall educational process, it is
books, long-distance teaching,
audio-visual resources and philosophy differently – the way it is practised primarily philosophy’s validity and necessity
computer technologies. But above in the real world. The existing situation is that the present study has striven to
all, the 1994 study also showed that
the teaching of philosophy develops
carefully portrayed at each of these levels demonstrate.
and expands with democracy. and corroborated by regional case studies,


Philosophy future: The teaching of philosophy, a challenge
for the future
Heir to the ‘Société des esprits’, the society teaching different philosophical traditions
of minds, for which Paul Valéry made an as well as comparative philosophy, training
ardent appeal, UNESCO took on two major and methods of evaluation, the development of
jobs in the area of philosophy. manuals and exchange programmes, providing
additional support for UNESCO Chairs in
The first consists in helping this discipline Philosophy, encouraging international
operate and develop in the world in such a philosophy olympiads, disseminating
manner as to foster international dialogue materials produced by UNESCO’s research
between philosophical communities. In activities and the interregional philosophical
other words, to act as a catalyst for ideas, a dialogue sessions, —myriad fields of action
platform for exchanges, a forum for free for the future of teaching philosophy in the
and freed dialogue. In this respect, many world, for which UNESCO counts on
initiatives of an international nature have pursuing the role of leadership within the
seen the light of day thanks to UNESCO, as United Nations system specific to it.
is attested to by that key document, the
Paris Declaration for Philosophy, which Lastly, we can look at this study from the
claims the right to philosophy and which perspective of the philosopher Jacques
has provided the discipline with support in Derrida when in 1991 he approached the
‘putting up resistance’ when its teaching right to philosophy from the cosmopolitical
was threatened by cut-backs or even point of view. According to him there is
elimination in certain countries. The second actually always one philosophical idea too
job is that of making a contribution within many with regard to what is real. Thus, the
the Organisation itself concerning matters idea of justice exceeds actual law, just as
cutting across disciplines, contemporary the idea of universality borne by UNESCO
issues, main concepts, priorities and exceeds what exists at the present time.
strategies to adopt to confer meaning upon The same applies to the teaching of
the world - the word ‘meaning’ understood philosophy. The message conveyed by this
here philosophically as both signification study transcends the reality of the findings.
and a sense of direction. It reveals a real desire to safeguard philoso-
phy, to safeguard both its teaching and its
This study serves as a springboard for the perennial nature.
other activities set forth in the Intersectoral
Strategy on Philosophy, especially help in This message means to convey a strong
formulating recommendations for policies conviction: the right to philosophy for all.
regarding teaching philosophy at secondary
and university levels that would include Pierre Sané


Moufida Goucha
Chief of Human Security, Democracy and Philosophy Section
While philosophy is an attitude, a way of life, demanding and exacting, it is
also a teaching, a school, therefore, a kind of knowledge, all this in a
spirit of curiosity and discovery inherent to philosophy itself.
We have thus naturally given this study a job of sorting, of a reflective, methodical
striking title: ‘Philosophy, a School of selection of the raw information supplied
Freedom’. Philosophy - this is its very to us by our personal and social experience.
substance and purpose - incites and invites Being informed is not the same as being
questioning without imprisoning it. Quite formed.
the contrary, it liberates and provides In addition to being expanded, teaching of
openings to the young minds called to philosophy and practising it would also no
become the thinkers and the players of the doubt merit being renewed – for the idea
world of tomorrow, which is closer than we of responsibility to be re-established and so
think. A description of the present state of that everyone can once again plunge heart
the field for ‘a look into the future’, and soul into thought, as Hegel advocated,
precisely because an analysis, something to confront prejudices and domination of
impromptu, on the subject of teaching all kinds. It is up to individuals to search
philosophy today only has meaning in what inside themselves for the capacities proper
it offers in terms of prospects for future to exercising reflection. This leap into
action. philosophical endeavours cannot be
It is definitely in the teaching of it that imposed either by some rigid form of
philosophy is certainly the place where it teaching, or by any presumably intangible
can play a role that is both essential and dogma. On the contrary, the task of
undoubtedly risky. Essential, in that teaching progressively freeing themselves from all
philosophy remains one of the key forces in forms of tutelage is up to individuals
training the faculty of judgement, of themselves. Teaching philosophy and
criticising, of questioning, but also of learning to philosophise is, therefore,
discernment. Risky, seeing the changes perhaps at first keeping oneself from
taking place in today’s world every day transmitting bodies of knowledge in the
more laden with both history and spiritua- strict sense of the word.
lity, teaching can no longer presume to tie Speaking of teaching philosophy and learning to
up all the knots, since we are all witnesses philosophise presupposes prior clarification
to what one might call a ‘speeding up of of these terms, a fortiori when it is a question of
time’ – political time, spiritual time, social going beyond a simple, descriptive study.
time, and therefore educational and However, it is already inherently difficult to
teaching time. By increasing demands on define what is meant by ‘philosophy’ and
technological progress, does not this present ‘philosophize’: a genuine a philosophical
day reality in certain respects resist a question! Philosophy is endlessly inquiring
philosophical approach? And, do so in the into what it is not: morality, science etc. –
sense that reflecting is first reflecting within and into what it really is, a certain type of
oneself before exposing oneself to others, knowledge, but which? A practice, but of
just so many exercises that call for patience, what kind? The answers vary considerably from
time and self-criticism. Philosophy, let us philosopher to philosopher: thinking for oneself
not forget, is critique, in the Greek sense of or living wisely; interpreting the world or
the word: meaning that it must always be a transforming it; conforming to a world order


or revolutionizing it; aiming at pleasure or teaching, while one can sometimes feel
virtue; learning to live or to die; thinking perplexed about what is nevertheless called
conceptually or metaphorically. Just so ‘philosophy’ in a given educational system
many questions in which the conception when it is not a reflective practice that is aimed for
and the practice of philosophy also varies in the students. Here is an assumption that has
widely depending on the different cultural areas. rightly compelled us to be very rigorous and
Here, the word ‘philosophy’ as designating constantly exacting in writing this study,
a subject taught or a type of teaching activity was which is indeed a reflection of the existing
not easy to capture, because one also finds reality and makes reference to a number of
many activities having a philosophical terms that has led us to prepare a glossary
dimension in titles in which the word is absent, to avoid any confusion. Indeed, the defini-
like ‘course on morality’, ‘ethics course’ or tion of each of the terms of this glossary
‘citizenship courses’, sometimes ‘theological refers to the meaning that we have wished
teaching’, when it is a matter of non-dogmatic to express all throughout the writing of this book.

On the objectives of the study
A general requirement of effectiveness is concrete prospects for philosophical teaching
the categorical imperative of this study, practices. In this sense, it is always to be
which goes beyond a description of the reinvented, placed in question, supplemented,
present situation and converges in an amended, just as philosophy itself is. This
eminently practical objective. And, therein study is also designed to act as a basis for
lies its impact. While respecting the tradi- developing synergies and axes of
tional division of teaching into three levels co-operation at the national level, but also
- primary, secondary and higher education -, among States. Added to this is another
this work endeavours to offer a rich, objective, which exhorts this study to
relevant presentation of learning philoso- converge towards an ideal, a shared goal
phy differently. Constantly concerned to be towards which the collecting and
exhaustive, through the multiple facets of conglomerating of wishes and ideas are directed.
teaching, it presents the reform initiatives Faced with the protean nature that
of the past, those underway or planned. philosophy and everything making it up can
In the short term, the study presents a take on, this study endeavours to overcome
snapshot of the teaching of philosophy, the very real differences connected with the
one that is as faithful and well-documented different ways of teaching and learning this
as possible. In the medium term, its intent discipline. What other raison d’être does
is to help Member States with their future philosophy, and more generally the social
choices, because it offers inspirations, ideas sciences and humanities, have than their
or experiences. primary calling to attain the ideal of
building the peace in minds of human
This study witnesses to, informs about, beings? Understood in this way, teaching is
makes visible, initiatives that are still not both a means and a resource, undoubtedly
well enough known and it assumes its role one of most fundamental, reaching out to this
of ‘stinging fly’ by proposing and by offering goal.

On the study’s synergy
The product of a collective endeavour, this This project had its own unique dynamics in
study was interdisciplinary in nature, a the sense that it benefited from lengthy
quality that was genuinely instrumental in its amount of preliminary preparation and
realization. Between what was given and especially from substantial involvement on
what was expected, what was possible and the part of the philosophical and educatio-
what was desirable, it aimed at constituting nal community. In a team spirit, many
a quality interface between a faithful portrait people joined in fully acting in concert in its
of existing realities and the demands requi- orchestration.
red by the teaching of philosophy.


This study is also the product of a special people practising philosophy, as well as
kind of synergy in that it is ordered in a way philosophical institutions, UNESCO chairs
that describes existing realities, but also, of philosophy and specialized NGOs. Also
and especially, deals with key questions to be added to these networks are the
and, as much as possible, comes up with Permanent Delegations to UNESCO, UNESCO
proposals, innovations, new directions. A National Commissions and regional UNESCO offi-
synergy also, and especially, implied in the ces. Each of these groups made an invalua-
participation and commitment on the part ble contribution to this work and this is
of so many people associated in conceiving why I would like to convey my sincere
it, such as networks of philosophers and gratitude to them right away.
researchers, professors, educationists and

On the ‘universality’ of the study
Among other things, this study ardently cultures and in all countries where the desire
aspires to show and to demonstrate again to think and debate exist. This does not
and always that the longstanding assump- amount to endorsing any kind of cultural
tion that the origins of philosophy were to relativism, but on the contrary enables us to
be found in Greece, and that for this reason embrace a vision broader than one that
philosophy still has to turn there for all its restricts philosophy and its transmission,
answers, has had its day. Indeed, like particularly through teaching, to just the
Jeanne Hersch, -—the Swiss philosopher Greek, then western, context.
who served as the Director of UNESCO’s
Philosophy division from 1966 to 1968 and This study has its place completely within
declared that human rights did not have its the context of the promotion of the
foundations exclusively and strictly in universal, indefeasible values: those of
western thought(1) - by not favouring any human rights and the rights of children,
school of thought, any particular tradition, and in particular the right to education.
and, of course, even less any dogma or This work also endeavours to overcome the
ideology, this study proceeds in a spirit of sometimes complex problem of connecting
inclusion, not exclusion. It aspires to show these same values with different cultures.
that philosophy can find a source in all

On the ‘institutional nature’ of the study
Let us recall that this study is a response to they specifically bring and contribute to the
a clear, explicit request on the part of the traditional teaching of philosophy? Do
Member States, a request that can only these practices, sometimes called ‘new’,
attest to the expression of a need and complement traditional teaching, or do
unquestionable usefulness. And, it is precisely they think of themselves as running parallel
because it was conceived of by all that it to it?
can concern all the Member States, no
matter what their cultural traditions, their Of course, in reading the study, distinctions
conceptions of teaching, their philosophical and nuances are indispensable, for philosophy
references, their political priorities, etc. may be taught in private educational
Beyond even these international requests, institutions and not in public ones, in
already very significant, we cannot help but associations rather than in schools. There
note and take cognisance of an almost pal- may be training and university follow-up
pable feeling of a need for philosophy, both concerning innovations on the primary
in the places where it is taught traditionally, school level —without there necessarily
but also outside them. But which ‘outside’? having been any philosophy on the secondary
The present work rightly lifts the veil on level. Innovative experimentation may also
several of these still not well known be officially undertaken by the institution (1) Jeanne Hersch (ed.). Birthright of
endeavours that are not carried out in without, however, being generalised. 1969 (2nd edition 1984).
school, but elsewhere. What exactly do


On gathering the data

By deciding to prepare a questionnaire and of the countries, which enabled the setting
by using the data gathered so as to include up of an extensive database including 1200
the maximum number of issues concerning recipients. Indeed, the reliability of the
the teaching of philosophy, from the start responses required optimising the number
we chose to opt for what was perhaps the of recipients per country, the average
most complex, but from our point of view number reached being 3-4 contacts per
undoubtedly the most dynamic, approach. country, without for all that guaranteeing
Prepared in three languages – French, the absolute veracity of the responses.
English and Spanish – the UNESCO I would like to emphasise here our
questionnaire(2) had two component parts: satisfaction with regarding the results
one qualitative and the other quantitative. obtained at the end our consultation
This was achieved by using different kinds process. The ratio of the countries making
of questions. The questionnaire included a minimum of one contribution responding
several thematic sections relating to the was 126 out of 192 Member States.
levels of teaching philosophy, even though Parallel to this, and right from the time this
not all of them always applied to all the work was conceived, we called upon four
Member States. In this case, it was a matter outside consultants enjoying a significant
of pre-school, primary and secondary amount of expertise both in the field of
levels, higher education and the informal educational science and in research. We
level. While enabling the adoption of a also appealed to those holding UNESCO
certified methodological approach that has chairs in philosophy, as well as to our special
proven itself many times over with a variety collaborators: the International Council for
of subjects, the questionnaire was a tool Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (ICPHS),
facilitating both the coding and entering of the International Federation of Philosophical
data. Our greatest challenge consisted in Societies (FISP), the Collège international de
translating the objectives of the data philosophie (CIPh), and the International
collecting into a research context that was Institute of Philosophy (IIP). All of them
sound from both a conceptual and a supplied us with work sustained by
methodological point of view. In this research, reflection and analysis, especially by
respect, and owing both to its international providing documents of substance, descrip-
scope and the questions it dealt with, the tions of philosophy teaching in their coun-
questionnaire that provided input into this tries, presentations of what is at stake, of
study was unprecedented in nature. reforms, of problems involved, but also of
We were thus lead to develop a specific the challenges connected with them.
plan for engaging in the inquiry that took By gathering the greatest amount of
the following aspects into consideration: information, by involving the greatest number
the objectives and needs in terms of data; of varied, diverse kinds of people, while at
the methods of collecting data; breadth the same time adopting a plan striving to
and geographical coverage; plans for pro- make optimal use of the recommendations
cessing the data; and, trying out the ques- and proposals drawn to the users’ attention, we
tionnaire. Parallel to this, work to identify always sought to be as faithful as possible
resource people was undertaken for each in writing this study.

On ‘best practices’
This terminology systematically used within practices as being the best. It is this
United Nations, and in particular at questioning process, for certain people phi-
UNESCO, led us to inquire into whether it losophical in nature, that I wish to present
was of interest to describe the ‘best’ practices here. Speaking of good practices, and even
existing in the subject. The editorial board more so of best practices, is first of all to set
thus engaged in a most interesting critical, oneself up as a judge, to lay claim to being
though discerning, reflection, regarding entitled in certain way to evaluate
(2) See Chapter V. just how opportune it was to qualify certain excellence. It is also being clear about the


criteria for good practice. Is good practice, deemed necessary setting institutional
it being a matter of teaching practices, a dynamics into motion in order to promote
practice sanctioned by some political, this practice. On this point, we have,
ethical or educational value (an axiological therefore, introduced some nuances into
criterion)? In which case it is the whole our remarks in the course of this study by
philosophy of education that is summoned preferring to talk of practices having stood
to this. the test.
Is good practice that which is useful and
effective (pragmatic criterion)? But effective Lastly, in my capacity as co-ordinator of this
from what point of view: building an study, it is once again up to me to pay
individual’s personality, fighting against tribute to all the people who worked
feelings of failure in school or of personal together with me throughout this process
failure, preventing violence, educating and who contributed, in a dynamic spirit
people to live together in and through for which ‘synergy’ and ‘convergence’ were
debate and to be citizens in a democracy, the key words, to the progression and logic
linguistic mastery in the interaction bet- that led to the realisation of this
ween thought and language, learning to undertaking that I have had the great
engage in personal, critical reflection, privilege of leading through to its
independent judgement, communicating completion.
technical knowledge and self-discipline. Is
good practice professional practice? What This study is not an end, it is a justified
is meant by being a professional in the field appeal to strengthen philosophy teaching
of philosophy? How do we conceive of and to introduce it where it does not exist.
philosophy teaching? Who is competent to It is a means of familiarising people with
judge its quality, its limitations, possible philosophical practices that are still too far
improvements? below the surface and sometimes marginal.
Speaking of ‘best practices’ is ultimately It is a reminder of the role of training minds
passing from the narrativo-descriptive in creating free, aware, responsible,
sphere into the normativo-prescriptive independent people.
sphere, decreeing what should be done,
advising, proposing a model to be adopted. This study is a beginning and aspires to
Yet, what is striking is the diversity of capitalise on a momentum and a coming
practices in the field, which can be together of wishes and commitments at
considered a richness to be preserved from the international level. It is now up to
normalization. The risk of institutionalization, UNESCO and to all of its partners to
when one finds oneself involved in an ‘transform the experiment’, if I dare to put
‘instituting’, and not an ‘instituted’, it that way, and to draw inspiration from
dynamic, is standardisation and the proposals and ideas figuring in this
conformism in the practices. work, the impact of which, I am certain,
In philosophy, one therefore finds oneself will have the expected reverberations in the
facing paradoxical restrictions: safeguarding years to come, with the hope that its true
initiative and freedom on the part of the worth will be recognised in the course of
teachers in the multiple choices they have time.
to make concerning teaching and philosophy,
without which one runs the risk of not
having any more freedom of thought, Moufida
essential to philosophy, either for the
teachers or for the students; or, when Goucha


Copyright : Jérémie Dobiecki

Teaching philosophy and learning to philosophize
at pre-school and primary levels
Philosophy and young minds: The age of wonder

Introduction: The road travelled, the road ahead 3
Methodology 4
I. Questions raised by Philosophy with Children 5 - 14
1) The question of children’s aptitude for philosophical thinking 5
> A philosophical question: what is the relationship between philosophy and children?
> An ethical question: is philosophical thinking desirable in children?
> A political question: can we speak of ‘a right to philosophy’, ‘a right to philosophize’?
> A psychological question: are children capable of philosophical thought?
> A question of will: does the belief that children can learn to do philosophy open up possibilities
in itself?
> A question of the challenge involved: what about children in difficult situations, or those who
struggle at school?
> A question of approach: pedagogy and didactics
> A question about how we learn to do philosophy: is discussion the primary means?
2) The question of the role of the teacher 11
> How much guidance should the teacher give?
> How much input should the teacher provide?
3) The question of educating and training teachers 12
> Academic training in philosophy?
> Didactic training in the skills of philosophy?
> Pedagogical training in debate?
4) The question of innovation: Promote, experiment, institutionalize? 14

II. Promoting philosophically directed practices 15 - 24
at pre-school and primary levels:
Orientations and avenues for action
1) What are the stakes, what are the values? 15
> Thinking for oneself
> Educating for thoughtful citizenship
> Helping the personal development of children
> Improving language, speaking and debating skills
> Conceptualizing philosophy
> Building a didactics tailored for children
Copyright : Jérémie Dobiecki


2) What kind of institutionalization? 16
> Promoting cultural and intercultural aspects
> Promoting innovation inside and outside institutions
> Organizing official trial programmes
> Institutionalizing certain practices
> Organizing a school curriculum
3) What philosophical practices should be promoted in classrooms? 18
> Diverse pedagogical and didactical approaches
> Some practical ideas
4) How can philosophically directed practices be accompanied by training? 20
> Through initial and continuing teacher training
> Through a training policy for trainers
> Through an analysis of philosophically directed practices as a central component of teacher
> Through producing and using relevant didactical material
5) How can philosophically directed practices be accompanied by research? 24
> Stimulating innovation
> Evaluating experiments
> Evaluating the effectiveness of the practices

III. Philosophy with children: 25 - 42
A development to be acknowledged
1) Some successful reforms and practices: 25
A strong argument in favour of philosophy with children
> Notable reforms
> Practices that have been shown to work
2) Institutions and support materials 28
> Two landmark institutes
> Journals about philosophy for and with children
3) Case studies from throughout the world 29
> Europe and North America
> Latin America and the Caribbean
> Asia and the Pacific
> Africa and the Arab States

IV. Philosophy at the pre-school 43 - 44
and primary levels: A few figures
Conclusion: From what is desirable to what is possible 45


Introduction: The road travelled, the road ahead
An interest in Philosophy for Children (P4C) UNESCO studies on the teaching of philo-
naturally leads to a consideration of the sophy specifically approached the need to
legal corpus relating to children’s rights, teach philosophy at pre-school and primary
and in particular to each child’s right to levels. It is true that in 1951 we could not
develop personal opinions and to be assis- yet profit from the work of Matthew
ted by his or her school in this process. Here Lipman, a pioneer in the field whose
we are drawn to the United Nations groundbreaking Discovering Philosophy
Convention on the Rights of the Child, was not published until 1969(3). As for the
adopted in 1989, which among other spe- 1994 study, its general topic – the connec-
cific rights accords the child ‘the right to tion between democracy and the teaching
express [his or her] views freely’ (Article 12), of philosophy – was not expanded to
‘the right to freedom of expression […] to include a discussion of teaching philosophy
seek, receive and impart information and to children, or teaching children to do
ideas of all kinds’ (Article 13) and to ‘free- philosophy.
dom of thought’, (Article 14)(1). The text of
the Convention is resolutely innovative on a If more children are learning philosophy at
philosophical and political level, in that it the beginning of this twenty-first century, it
proposes a concept of children as not only is because more people who work with
needing of special protection, but also as children are creating the conditions to turn
requiring specific services and deserving to the places where they interact with them
be considered active participants in their (classrooms, streets, etc.) into philosophical
own lives. It stipulates that education must communities of enquiry. Attracted perhaps
be carried out within the context of a body by the innovation of this approach, intrigued
of rights: a maltreated child cannot be a by the changes it suggests, or perhaps dubious
truly active participant, even less the about prevailing methods used in the world
author, of his or her own life. A child who of education, these people are engaging in
does not take part in his protection is but the practice of philosophy with children
the passive object of care that others through a desire to find a new, more coherent
impose upon him. One landmark element and appropriate, solution to the perennial (1) Convention on the Rights of
of this innovative concept of the child is question that presses on us ever more the Child (1989):
that the Convention was the first interna- firmly as history advances: how are we to treaties/crc.htm
tionally recognized text to consider children, educate those who will become the adults (2) Philosophy for Children, Report
while still dependent and developing, as a sepa- of tomorrow? P4C represents a certain of the UNESCO Meeting of
Experts, Paris, UNESCO, 26–27
rate category of legal subject. The concept change in the objectives of teaching, and March 1998.
of ‘the best interests of the child’, expres- this has sparked the curiosity and enthusiasm (3) American philosopher Matthew
sed in Article 3 of the Convention is also of of a growing number of people. Although Lipman, born in 1922, was a stu-
dent of John Dewey. In 1974,
particular importance. still in its infancy, we can already see how Lipman founded the Institute for
the solutions it brings to the problems of the Advancement of Philosophy
It is the first time that the teaching of philo- education are rooted in what it is that is for Children (IAPC) at Montclair
State College in New Jersey.
sophy and philosophical enquiry to children unique to humans: our capacity for self- Lipman’s primary goal is to foster
is given a privileged treatment in a UNESCO awareness and self-development. critical thinking – and formal logic
in particular – in children, based
study. It hopes to offer a body of enlighte- Congruous with the modern conception of on his belief that children possess
ning information on a movement that has education advanced by the philosopher the ability to think abstractly and
understand philosophical questions
gained in popularity and recognition in and pedagogue John Dewey, P4C also finds from an early age. Rather than
recent years. Moreover, the growing inte- parallels in older teaching methods, such as attempting to instil any specific
philosophical doctrines, Lipman’s
rest in teaching philosophy to children has those proposed by the philosophers of approach centres on the child’s
developed in response to cultural and poli- Ancient Greece. It is an approach that own reasoning and questioning,
tical needs, as recognized at the meeting of appears to fill a notable gap in contempo- by working through universal
concepts such as rights, justice, or
experts held at UNESCO’s headquarters in rary education, which, while increasingly even violence. Lipman believes that
Paris in 1998, where participants stressed recognising the importance of stimulating children can use their own referen-
ces to develop a more concrete
that it is possible, and even necessary, to the intellectual and moral development of understanding of these topics,
present the rudiments of philosophy in sim- children from a very young age, does not drawn from their experiences and
personal knowledge. For more
ple language comprehensible to young always have the means to achieve as much details on Lipman’s methods, see
children(2). Neither the 1951 nor the 1994 as it could in this area. It is not surprising, Part III of this chapter.


then, to note the interest that P4C has impact on the adults of tomorrow could be
provoked throughout the world. so considerable that it would certainly
make us wonder why philosophy has until
The impact of philosophy on children may now been marginalized or refused to
not be immediately appreciated, but its children.

On the field of study. For the purposes of useful and targeted contributions were pro-
this study, we have defined ‘pre-school’ as vided by experts from within and outside
being before the age of compulsory school UNESCO, and less traditional sources of
enrolment – for example, kindergarten or information also proved invaluable to our
nursery school. In focussing on pre-school research. A substantial amount of informa-
and primary-school levels, much of this tion is available on the Internet, including
study is primarily concerned with children full descriptions of the more significant P4C
in the three-to-twelve year age group. It is activities taking place throughout the
important to keep in mind, however, that world. This concerns a great number of
education systems can vary greatly from countries, with relevant activities including
one country to another: in some national targeted studies, specialized journals, tea-
education systems, primary school includes cher-training programmes, P4C associa-
the beginning of secondary school, while in tions and research centres, and regularly
others it is seen more as a preparatory held national and international conferen-
school. Moreover, countries differ in the ces. A network of researchers, professors,
availability and duration of pre-school and experts in teaching and philosophy
options, before the obligatory school age. were solicited during the development of
this study to contribute to describing the
On the relevance, reliability and teaching of philosophy at the pre-school
exhaustiveness of the sources. The and primary levels in their respective coun-
background and the context of existing tries. Lastly, the questionnaire specifically
international studies in the area of the drawn up by UNESCO for the present study
teaching of philosophy were given great was an invaluable source of information.
attention in preparing the present report.
The documentary sources available today
essentially fall into two categories: very


I. Questions raised by Philosophy with Children
In discussions of P4C practices, or in efforts to guide these practices in one direction or another,
certain key questions repeatedly emerge in relation to a number of fundamental issues.
Controversy surrounds the very idea of teaching philosophy to children, and extends to disagreement
over how teachers should be trained for this purpose and over what further research is needed to
understand P4C today. This climate has given rise to animated debates and led to sharply contrasting
positions. Not only philosophers and professors of philosophy, but also professionals in the field
and teachers of P4C (whether philosophers or not) have contributed to this vigorous debate.

1) The question of children’s aptitude for philosophical thinking
A philosophical question: what is the because of their continual and sweeping exis-
relationship between philosophy tential questioning – to these philosophers, to
and children? philosophize is considering a question as if for
the very first time. Others argue that, while
A variety of terms are used to discuss the tea- there may have been a childhood of philoso-
ching of philosophy to children. ‘Philosophy phy (for example, the rise of European philo-
for Children’, often abbreviated to P4C, is the sophy with the pre-Socratics), there cannot be
term preferred by Lipman. This covers the a child-philosopher, because to philosophize is
whole stretch of primary through secondary precisely to leave childhood behind (for exam-
(4) Freddy Mortier of the University
instruction. Others prefer to speak of ple, Descartes). This raises the philosophical of Gand in Belgium, for example,
‘Philosophy with Children(4)’ (PwC), which has question of the proper age for philosophizing. prefers ‘with’ because of its sug-
gestion of democracy, arguing that
given rise to discussions about whether ‘chil- Plato has been interpreted as being opposed ‘for’ has a somewhat paternalistic
dren’ designates just another audience for phi- to philosophy with children, on the basis of a connotation.
losophy, one of many possible audiences, or passage in the Republic(7), however others (5) German philosopher and psy-
whether it refers to a specific group, for whom point to his dialogues with adolescents – for
(6) French philosopher and writer,
teaching philosophy requires specially adapted example, in the Lysis(8). founder of the Université Populaire
methods and tools: in this case there would be de Caen, France.
one philosophy ‘for children’, for childhood, What, then, is a child? We might contrast the (7) In The Republic, Plato warns
that exposing young people to
and another philosophy ‘for adults’ (or for notion of child to that of adult: at what age philosophical discussion too early
adolescents, if we consider them to be a sepa- does childhood end(9)? Is this just a question of can lead to become sceptical,
contradictory and nihilistic. Plato,
rate group from children). age? Or is it rather a question of a vision of the The Republic (translated by
world? Or of cognitive capacity (developmen- Desmond Lee). Markham, Ontario,
In that case, why not speak simply of school- tal psychology(10))? Or of psychological matu- Penguin Books Canada, 1983, pp.
children, a term that places children specifically rity, a concept that varies from person to per- (8) Plato, Plato Volume III: Lysis,
in an institutional and educational context? Is son, but also across social classes and cultures. Symposium, Gorgias (translator W.
it because beyond the pupil who is learning Or is it determined by ethical and/or legal (civil R. M. Lamb). Cambridge, Mass.,
Harvard University Press, 2006
various forms of knowledge there is a more and criminal) responsibility? We can also (Loeb Classical Library No. 166,
fundamental personality – that of the child? define child in relation to adolescent, by which first published 1925).
(9) The Convention on the Rights
Or because a child is somebody we want to definition childhood ends at puberty. This is
of the Child seems to support a
educate, not merely instruct? Because a child the age range we consider for the purposes of legal-political definition, characteri-
is a person, who has rights, who is subject to this chapter, which is limited to a discussion of zed by the status of political mino-
rity: ‘a child means every human
laws? Such, at any rate, is the interpretation children at preschool and primary levels. being below the age of eighteen
suggested in the Convention on the Rights of years unless under the law applica-
ble to the child, majority is attai-
the Child, which sets out the freedoms that a But how can we define childhood and child in ned earlier.’ (Article 1). This defini-
child can and should be accorded. Or does it philosophical terms? What is childhood? An tion of the age-range meant by
‘child’ is similar to that used in the
have something to do with a specific relations- age, a moment in the biological and chrono- context of P4C, for which chil-
hip between children, as young humans still in logical development of an individual member dhood is understood to include
the secondary school years.
the developmental stage, and philosophy – of the human species? A psychological state
(10) Jean Piaget places the ‘formal
between childhood and philosophy? of mind? A vision of the world? A historical operational stage’ of the develop-
Philosophers differ on this question. Some, like and social construction? Psychologists, socio- ment of abstract reasoning at the
juncture of the primary and secon-
Karl Jaspers(5) or Michel Onfray(6), believe that logists, historians, linguists and teachers each dary levels – at the age of ten to
children are ‘spontaneously philosophical’, have their own answers to this question. twelve years.


Philosophers do too, although they differ separation and divorce. In addition, all children
among themselves. There is also the question question the nature of death from around the
of the relationship between childhood and age of three. Psychologists can help children
philosophy (children’s questions about death cope with these issues by encouraging them
begin from as early as three years of age) – to put their experiences of suffering into
with their never-quenched curiosity, they cathartic words, but children can also learn to
continually question the world about them, think through such questions themselves, to
including existential and metaphysical ques- approach existential questions through philo-
tions about the origin of things, the Earth, sophical reasoning – allowing them to take a
God, friendship and love, the meaning of gro- step back from their emotions and turn diffi-
wing up, of living and dying. Is the child cult situations into subjects for serious
already a philosopher? A little, a lot, or not at thought. This approach is even more effective
all? Philosophers again differ here. Epicurus in the context of the classroom because it
thought that it was never too early nor too becomes a collective process; the children can
late to philosophize. Montaigne recommends break free from their existential solitude by
that we ‘begin with the wet-nurse!’, while for recognizing that the questions they each raise
Descartes, childhood is where prejudices are apply to them all. This can produce a sense of
born, which only philosophy can overcome. reassurance, and a feeling of belonging to a
shared human condition, of growing up
The concept of childhood that P4C implies has within a community.
significant philosophical implications. Is P4C
ethically a matter of viewing children, as they Philosophy has therapeutic virtue, as the sages
formulate existential and metaphysical ques- of antiquity rightly remarked, because it ‘cares
tions, to be ‘valid’ partners in a conversation for the soul’. Not that it seeks to treat pro-
with an adult – in effect, to be small adults – blems directly (today that is the realm of the-
by which token P4C plays a part in nurturing rapists and different kinds of therapy), but
the adult within the child, fostering the deve- many argue that in thinking about how to
lopment of rational individuals who can begin understand life and death, sorrow and the
to think for themselves? conditions of happiness, the philosophical
approach can bring a certain peace or conso-
An ethical question: is philosophical lation: that while teaching how to philoso-
thinking desirable in children? phize is first and foremost a learning – not a
therapeutic – situation, philosophizing is,
Some philosophers, psychologists, teachers however, an exceptionally therapeutic activity.
and parents are concerned that teaching chil- Others feel that, because children ask so many
dren to think too deeply, too soon, could be questions, sometimes with a great deal of
psychologically dangerous. Why plunge them apprehension, it is better to give them the ans-
so quickly into the great problems of life, wers so they feel more secure when confron-
which they will have their whole adult life to ted with the problems of existence.
discover? Why shatter their innocence by Nonetheless, one can never make children’s
making them aware of life’s hardships and tra- existential questions go away, because they
gedy? Why pin their imaginations down with are adult questions that will resurface periodi-
cold reason, why shatter their illusions, why cally over the course of their lives.
‘rob them of their childhood’? To provide answers to a child’s questions is jus-
tified when the questions are technical, histo-
P4C is based on the principle that we should rical, legal or scientific, because we are trans-
not mythify childhood. Many children live mitting knowledge to the child. It is the role of
through very difficult situations from the schools to transmit humanity’s scientific heri-
moment of their birth – children experience tage to the next generation, as this heritage is
famine, slavery, child labour, incest, prostitu- a rationally developed response to questions
tion, maltreatment, bombings, the loss of that humanity has asked itself over the course
loved ones and more. Even in developed of its history. However, simply providing ans-
countries, in peacetime and among families wers to the philosophical questions that
that are comfortably off, many children live science cannot answer, such as those concer-
with parents who are unhappy together, for ning ethics, can keep children from thinking
example, and many children experience for themselves. These are questions to which


children must find their own answers in the one may put one’s own opinions to a
course of their lives, as they develop their criti- philosophical test.
cal and reflective thinking. Yet, although we
should not answer in their place prematurely, In basing the coherence of a P4C methodo-
we must nevertheless accompany them on logy on a political philosophy, proponents
their way, so as to provide help for them if they focus on human rights and the rights of chil-
need it. This is the role of our teachers: to sup- dren as overriding ethical and political priori-
port children in their thinking about these ties that guide the implementation of these
questions and to provide them with opportu- new practices. From here comes a ‘right to
nities to develop thinking skills that will allow philosophy’(11). Others, interpreting this as the
them to understand and to guide their rela- expression of a ‘right to have’ rather than as a
tionship with the world, with other people ‘right to do’, prefer to speak of a ‘right to
and with themselves. philosophize’ because this refers more clearly
to the most recognized of human rights and
A political question: can we speak of places more emphasis on the act
‘a right to philosophy’, ‘a right to of philosophizing.
A psychological question: are
Issues related to political philosophy are impli- children capable of philosophical
cit in any practice of philosophy, and especially thought?
P4C. For example, Lipman proposes a political
model of philosophy that emphasizes the Even if we believe that P4C is ethically desira-
connection between democracy and P4C, ble and politically grounded as a human right,
arguing that stimulating critical thinking in that of philosophizing, we still must show that
children in the context of a ‘community of it is psychologically possible. The practice of
enquiry’ is a means of educating them about discussing philosophy with children presuppo-
democracy. But is the practice of P4C ses that these children are capable of learning
completely bound up in this connection? The to philosophize. A common objection directed
great tensions and even contradictions that at P4C argues that this is impossible, that chil-
have existed between philosophy and dren lack the cognitive development needed
democracy over the course of history make it to philosophize. For reasons of genetic
impossible to think so. Can we develop psychology, it is argued, there is simply no real
methods to teach philosophy to children who way of educating young children in philoso-
are indifferent to, or even hostile towards, phy: children are not capable of logical reaso-
democracy, by basing it on other philosophical ning before they have reached the logical
ideas. Some people maintain that if we adopt reasoning stage of development (ten to twelve
the position of Lipman we are not doing years old) as defined, for example, by the
philosophy for its own sake, or for the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. Yet Lipman
emancipatory value of thought, but because drew from Piaget’s stages of development in
of something that is extrinsic to it – for demo- writing his ‘philosophical stories’, adapted to
cracy, or to ward off social violence. It is children of all ages. What is more, a number
argued that this would be the instrumentaliza- of researchers in developmental psychology(12)
tion of philosophy and a misuse of the have rejected some of Piaget’s conclusions: a
discipline. But this argument only holds for child’s cognitive possibilities might be greater
non-democratic philosophers, because than had been thought. And this appears to
someone who, like Rousseau, has a democra- be the case when tests are conducted not in a
tic conception of politics would see nothing laboratory, with children taking intelligence
improper about the practice, as Diderot puts it, tests given by a researcher, but when they dis-
of a ‘popular philosophy’. From such a stand- cuss issues with each other in a real classroom
point, the concept of a political philosophy situation. Verbatim records (transcriptions of
that promotes democracy and a philosophy class discussions with and between children),
directed at children which is presented in the analyzed by linguists, social psychologists or
form of discussion are not at all incompatible: researchers of P4C report discursive (11) See, for example, Jacques
democracy is based on debate, and discussion competence and forms of ‘micro-expertise’ Derrida, Ethics, Institutions, and the
Right to Philosophy, trans. Peter
that is problem-solving, conceptual and argu- detectable in the language used by children Pericles Trifonas. Lanham, MD,
mentative sets up a procedure whereby even at a very young age. Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.


A second objection is that children lack the have in them, and partly by the fact that tea-
knowledge necessary for philosophical analy- chers will do their utmost to help such stu-
sis, and that epistemological ideas cannot be dents achieve success. Similarly, if a teacher
understood without scientific knowledge. This does not create, within the classroom, a space
view argues that critical thought is a process of in which children can express their thoughts
activating the knowledge one possesses so as freely and spontaneously and formulate their
to understand how that knowledge has existential questions, children may say little
developed, evaluating its pertinence as well as about them. If we do not organize classroom
its scope. ‘The owl of Minerva takes wing only discussions, some children will not learn how
when the shades of night are gathering’, to discuss, and this is true simply because the
Hegel notes: according to this school of ability to discuss is a learned skill. If we do not
thought, the act of philosophizing can occur introduce children to the community of
only after the acquisition of various forms of enquiry, they will not learn to ask each other
constituted knowledge. This is why philosophy questions, to define their terms, or to argue
is often taught only in the final years of rationally when others disagree with them.
secondary school. And as long as we believe that children are not
capable of doing philosophy, they will not
But to those who promote P4C, this objection demonstrate the ability to do it, simply
ignores scientific approaches already being because their teachers did not provide the
used by primary-school teachers to encourage necessary conditions: psychological (such as
children to think for themselves. Such promoting confidence within the group),
methods are often combined with an activity- pedagogical (the community of enquiry), or
based approach – for example, where children didactic (such as setting philosophical goals
work on developing a scientific process rather that relate to the intellectual demands
than just learning about and memorizing of a discussion).
scientific findings. Although this argument The proposal that we begin by assuming that
focuses on scientific knowledge, children are children can be taught to do philosophy – that
even more curious about existential, ontologi- we accept this postulate at face value, without
cal, metaphysical and ethical questions – proof, and from there observe what happens
questions they can think through by drawing when we establish conditions that can pro-
from their own very real experience of life. mote and encourage critical thinking among
children – is an interesting experimental direc-
A question of will: does the belief tion. This approach is also significant ethically,
that children can learn to do because the confidence placed in the chil-
philosophy open up possibilities in dren’s potential for rational thought increases
itself? their ‘zone of proximal development’, to
borrow another term from the Russian
In spite of the debate surrounding the psychologist Lev Vygotsky.
educability of children when it comes to philo-
sophy, it is generally admitted that P4C is no A question of the challenge
longer an issue about which teachers can involved: what about children
remain indifferent. Children are no longer just in difficult situations, or those who
subject matter for philosophical discussion. For struggle at school ?
some philosophers at least, they represent a
group to which philosophy is addressed. One of the arguments most forcefully evoked
against teaching philosophy to children in dif-
The literature in social psychology and education ficult situations, or to children who struggle at
often refers to the ‘Pygmalion effect’ to des- school, points to the problems such children
cribe the impact teachers’ expectations have often have in mastering language skills. This
on student performance: students are more objection maintains that one cannot think
likely to fail if their teachers believe they are without speaking correctly – that there is no
not capable of succeeding and, conversely, thought without language, and that precise
more likely to succeed if their teachers have language is a reflection of complex and struc-
(12) For example, the Canadian
confidence in their ability(13). This effect is partly tured thoughts. Supporters of P4C, however,
psychologist, Albert Bandura. explained by the confidence and self-esteem believe that language is not chronologically
(13) See Part III of this chapter. that students gain from the confidence others anterior to thought, but that both develop


simultaneously. This position rebukes the teacher ensures that certain conditions are
concept that language is purely the expression met. Teachers must listen when children
of already-held ideas (ideas that need only to speak, encourage them in their self-expres-
be formulated). It argues that to speak is to sion, praise what each child brings to the dis-
organize ideas about the world into categories cussion and demonstrate confidence in them.
of thought, and in doing so we develop our This enables such children, through construc-
expression. A word is not a thing. Of course, ting their own thoughts, to recover their self-
each word is a referent, but in its abstraction it esteem by proving to be capable of thinking.
also designates a notion. It is a process of repairing self-esteem, in
which thinking relieves the pain suffered by
Those who practice P4C have observed that children who experience themselves as inade-
when a child wants to express an idea, he or quate and helps them learn (or re-learn) how
she searches for words, and in doing so those to make contacts with other people in a more
words become functional elements of his or confident way and have an easier relationship
her thought. Children’s thought processes can with the group. Such children can in this way
in this way be improved by developing their develop an interior language to use in media-
language skills, but their language skills can ting between felt emotion and the decision
also be refined by developing their thought to act – be it throwing a punch or hurling an
processes. This is especially true because a insult instead. This internal language (‘oral
community of enquiry essentially exists in an internal’ is the term used by the psychologist
oral form: it allows us to learn to think through Jacques Lévine(14)) can open a pathway
discussion. This allows children who do not yet towards reflective consciousness, towards the
know how to read and write to begin thinking discovery that thinking can be enjoyable and a
more deeply. By encouraging oral and verbal source of dignity, and this can set failing
exchanges, children who have difficulties with students back on their feet.
writing can express themselves and maintain
pertinent positions in discussions that would A question of approach: pedagogy
be very difficult for them to write down. For and didactics
them it is a chance to have access to a level of
language that does not obstruct the commu- If we support the teaching of philosophy to
nication of their thoughts, but which on the children in principle, we still need to answer a
contrary stimulates the development of their pedagogical question. How? What tea-
thought-processes through being directly ching methods or approaches should be
confronted with the ideas of other children. used? How can teachers learn to teach philo-
sophy in a way that children can learn to phi-
Another objection to teaching philosophy to losophize? Again, there has been much
children in difficult living situations has to do debate over these questions. Some philosophy
with the fact that these students often appear departments or associations involved in tea-
to have difficulty with abstraction, and many ching philosophy – in France, for example –
argue they require concrete ideas. argue that philosophy is its own teacher, that
Nonetheless, we have observed significant the philosophical approach fosters critical thin-
development by using these practices with king. They contend that we learn to philoso-
children in difficulty or with those who have phize by listening to a lecture or by reading a
failed at school. A few explanations: children philosopher, both of which introduce us to
who fail at school often have problems in their philosophical thinking through the act of thin-
social or family environment – and school king. By absorbing and understanding philo-
often reinforces such a child’s negative self- sophical theories presented in a text or by a
image. That is why we often see such children speaker or a teacher we embark on the route
react by turning inward, remaining silent so as towards philosophical thought. This concep-
not to attract attention; others act provocati- tion harks back to the transmission model of
vely precisely to attract attention to themselves learning, which presupposes a charismatic
and so reinforce their feeling of existing. Such teacher and depends on an old-fashioned tea-
children are very often hyper-sensitive to exis- cher-student relationship in which the stu-
tential problems and may potentially be ready dents are enraptured, motivated and atten-
to enter into a dynamic exchange regarding tive. But what happens when instruction is
the questions that life raises, as long as the democratic and universal, when philosophy (14) See Part III of this chapter.


addresses itself to everyone, where the instruc- however: oral communication, as opposed to
tor is a trained teacher, not simply a philoso- written texts and theses, is considered in
pher? Schoolteachers today have to try to some circles as of only secondary impor-
motivate students who are not necessarily tance in philosophical instruction. Class dis-
convinced of the theoretical and practical inte- cussion is often judged to be a superficial
rest of philosophy, and who do not always teaching method, with serious instruction
share the linguistic and cultural background understood as consisting of lectures or
and norms of the teacher or of the school. presentations delivered by a philosophy
P4C teaching methods today are consistent professor. Lévine, as a developmental psy-
with a general democratisation of the chologist, has certain reservations: a discus-
teaching of philosophy, and draw from sion held with children who are too young
scientific studies of the teaching and learning might not allow the children time to
process. This approach places more emphasis develop their own personal opinions,
on children as philosophers-in-training, on Lévine worries, because they might be too
how they learn and the difficulties they have, preoccupied with reacting to the opinions
than it does on the teacher’s knowledge of of others. The conceptual or argumentative
any philosophical canon or his or her presen- pressure of a philosophically directed dis-
tation of such material. It focuses on how the cussion might short-circuit a child’s natural
teacher, who has a dual training, both in preliminary explorations into more complex
teaching methods and in philosophy, can help thought. These critics argue that it is not
the students overcome obstacles, particularly enough for a discussion to be democratic
the pseudo-certainty children frequently place for it to develop children’s skills in philosophy.
in their opinions. It has more to do with how For a discussion to be philosophically ins-
we learn to do philosophy than with how tructive, a number of conditions must be
philosophy is taught. met. These conditions include establishing
a cooperative community of enquiry, which
A question about how we learn to implies a discourse ethics based on ‘com-
do philosophy: is discussion the municative action’ (Habermas) and an
primary means? authentic desire to establish shared truth,
in addition to encouraging rational thought
Many of the practices used in P4C are based processes. Responses to such critics have
on group discussions. When we question the pointed out that discussion is just one pos-
predominance of this model, we see that in sible learning method, albeit a method that
the world at large, discussion is the most is particularly useful when working with
widespread philosophical method, contrary to children or students in difficult life situa-
what we find in institutionalized education, tions. Discussion is understood here as an
especially at secondary or higher levels, where interactional process that takes place
teacher-driven exposition is more common. Is within a group, is led by a teacher, and fea-
this form contingent on historical, social, or tures verbal exchanges relating to a precise
psychological phenomena that are extrinsic to subject. Such discussions may have several
the discipline itself, or is it intrinsic to philoso- different philosophical objectives, although
phy, linked to the discipline as such? Is a these are often closely inter-related. Among
‘community of enquiry’ or the ‘philosophically these are: exploring the nature of the sub-
directed discussion’(15), just some of many ject under discussion, often through ques-
methods of learning to do philosophy, or are tions; encouraging the children to think
they a manifestation of the natural, genetic, deeply about complex, philosophical
way in which we develop habits of critical thin- questions; developing their capacity to
king? Is it only through being directly pose questions and respond to others in a
confronted with the alternate views held by thoughtful and rational – rather than purely
others that we learn to confront our own emotional or intuitive – manner; promoting
selves – to see ‘oneself as another’, as French a communicational ethics that relies on a
philosopher Ricoeur puts it, or to engage in a cooperative approach to resolve complex or
‘dialogue of the soul with itself’ (Plato)? controversial human problems.

Some critics animatedly disclaim the founda-
(15) See Part III of this chapter. tion and the legitimacy of the discussion form,


2) The question of the role of the teacher
How much guidance should the focussed on doctrine or on the works of the
teacher give? great philosophers, P4C opts for a more pro-
blem-solving and less doctrinal approach,
The teacher’s role is a frequent subject of paying more attention to training the chil-
discussion among teacher-trainers, researchers dren in a way of thinking. Questioning beco-
and P4C practitioners. There are several mes more important than knowing the cor-
different schools of thought: some draw from rect answers, as children learn to think dee-
maieutics, with the teacher maintaining com- ply by questioning their own opinions and
plete control over dialogues so that, as rationale. For this reason, the teacher should
students respond to the questions he poses, not prematurely end or limit an ongoing dis-
he helps them give birth to their own ideas cussion by providing the children with ans-
(Oscar Brenifier(16)); others feel teachers should wers, still less ‘the’ answer, as this would
actively direct discussions with students, inter- bring the children’s, and the group’s, inqui-
action being less important than establishing ries to an abrupt halt. At bottom, P4C prac-
habits of rational debate (Anne Lalanne(17)); titioners believe that we should leave ques-
some prefer a model where the children speak tions unanswered, to encourage students to
among themselves with the teacher remaining explore possible solutions. This is similar to
silent, the aim being to allow them to develop the Socratic model of Plato’s Symposium(20):
their own identities as thinking beings when the handsome Alcibiades offers his
(Jacques Lévine(18)); others argue for a process body to Socrates in exchange for Socrates’
in which children interact progressively more wisdom, Socrates declines, sending him ins-
with each other, via the gradual withdrawal of tead to Agathon, arguing that he knows
the discussion leader, the objective being to only that he does not know (‘I know only
generate peer dialogue (Jean-Francois one thing – that I know nothing’). How then
Chazerans(19)); while some favour a method in can we transmit such philosophical non-
which the essential objective is democracy, knowledge, except by allowing it to circulate
where students are assigned precise roles and in the form of a desire to know(21)? This
the discussion takes place within a controlled implies two attributes that the teacher must
classroom environment (Matthew Lipman). possess: on one hand, modesty with regard
to the possession of the Truth – the teacher
How much input should the teacher affirms this by continuing to search for ans-
provide? wers to the enigmas of the human condi-
tion, and as such is interested in the respon-
In the traditional model of philosophical ins- ses students themselves make to such ques-
truction, teaching and the transmission of tions; on the other hand, the teacher reinfor-
knowledge are paramount: the course ces the importance of desiring truth by
material – that is, its philosophical content – emphasising the ‘debatable’ status of the
is of prime concern. The teacher or instruc- propositions put forward in the course of a
tor may focus on certain philosophical doc- discussion and focussing on the collective
trines or schools of thought, or present the seeking of truth. This gives the knowledge
history of philosophy; he or she may also pursued a cooperative and non-dogmatic
develop a philosophical line of thought as an status, as it is progressively co-constructed
example of the process of philosophical thin- through critical examination of doxa (received
king; or explain the texts of certain selected opinions) over the course of the discussion.
authors, as models of great thinkers. In this Certain authors maintain, nonetheless, that
model, instructors also outline particular phi- the teacher can intervene, but only under
losophical problems and explain why this or certain conditions(22). For even if there is an
that philosopher offered this or that solu- asymmetry of knowledge between teacher
tion, so as to provide students with points of and student, there is equality from the point
reference from where they can begin of view of their shared desire for the truth.
– perhaps – to think for themselves. Why should the teacher be exempt from the (16) See Part III of this chapter.
obligation to be involved in this ethics of (17) Ibid.

When it comes to younger children, however, communication? It is also argued that teachers (18) Ibid.
who would not understand a course that must take care to present their contributions


as possibilities, rather than as their own Opinions on how much input the teacher
beliefs, so that they do not constrain the should provide thus range from the traditional
students’ thoughts regarding the material. content-based approach to teaching to a
Rousseau called this a ‘pedagogical ruse’, a situation where there is far less input from
trick played for the students’ benefit – in this the teacher, who may venture a point of
case a philosophical benefit. view without allowing it to substitute for the
students’ own thoughts.

3) The question of educating and training teachers
One problem confronted by recent innova- more importantly, provide an occasion for
tions in the teaching of philosophy to children children to develop habits of critical thought
is that, precisely because these are innova- (Jacques Lévine). Others question whether
tions, primary-school teachers are rarely well academic training is not irrelevant by its very
trained in P4C. As classes in philosophy are not nature, given that we do not teach major
an established part of most teacher-training authors to children, but seek rather to intro-
courses, P4C is essentially voluntary and is duce them to reflective thought. The debate is
often limited to private or independent divided, too, between those who maintain
schools, or associations. that you cannot learn to philosophize without
having a knowledge of philosophers (an
Academic training in philosophy? argument that pushes forward the age at
which one can learn to philosophize) and
An education in philosophy typically consists in those who think that learning to philosophize
inculcating a knowledge of the great philoso- requires first and foremost an environment in
phical texts that make up the history of which questions are allowed to emerge
Western thought. Courses traditionally focus naturally, to encourage students to formulate
primarily on doctrine and history, and only their own rational thoughts, and that teachers
rarely invoke a problem-solving approach to should help this process along by assisting
examine philosophical questions or to teach students to work through their questions
students to formulate and respond to such together in a group.
questions themselves. This less common edu-
cational method, however, comes closest to Didactic training in the skills of
the models used in P4C. Faced with teachers philosophy?
who have no philosophical training, or whose
experience with philosophy is limited to what The teacher’s profession consists in knowing
they were taught at secondary school, the how to teach, which implies that teachers
common solution is to give them a classic aca- have to acquire a particular group of skills. This
(20) Plato, The Symposium. demic preparation (focusing on philosophical question is ignored by some philosophers who
Oxford/New York, Oxford
University Press, 1994.
theories, texts and major philosophers). This maintain that to teach one needs only to
(21) Along the lines of the inter- solution comes down, essentially, to transmit- know (that ‘teaching’ equals ‘explaining what
pretation of French psychoanalyst, ting to these teachers a body of knowledge: one knows’) – consequently an academic edu-
Jacques Lacan, the ‘stupid tea-
cher’, refusing to remedy open-
ideas, a canon, a philosophical heritage. But cation in the subject would be both necessary
mouthed ignorance, actually sti- there are limits to this method, because kno- and sufficient, the rest being only pedagogy: a
mulates the desire for philosophy.
He does not seek, nor does he
wing facts about philosophy is not the same denaturing of philosophical education perpe-
wait for the ‘right answer’ from thing as being trained to philosophize. trated by the sciences of education. For others,
the student, as a matter of philo- Teachers also have to learn to philosophize if however, the professional identity of a P4C
sophical didactics, for if the tea-
cher adopted this attitude the stu- they are to teach this skill to their students. teacher is central. This identity is twofold:
dent would ‘want to give the ans- The question of how one can be taught to there is a philosophical aspect to it, because
wer the teacher wants’ and not
the answer the student desires for philosophize concerns both teachers and philosophy is the subject matter, and a peda-
its own sake, which is the condi- students. gogical aspect, because it is also a question of
tion of independent thought.
Is academic training really necessary, then? teaching as such. This question of skills comes
(22) Pierre Usclat, ‘Le rôle du
Maître dans la discussion à visée There is disagreement on this point, too. For up on two levels. On the one hand, it depends
philosophique à l’école primaire. some, the main concern is that teachers can on one’s conception of philosophy, of learning
L’éclairage de Habermas’. PhD the-
sis, Université de Montpellier 3,
successfully direct the development of a to do philosophy, of childhood and its cogni-
France. community of enquiry (Lipman) and, even tive potential, and of the role of the teacher,


especially as regards his or her relationship to secretary to record the meeting; and principles
the students’ ideas and questions. On the used to manage a number of speakers (such
other hand, it also depends on the particular as having a moderator to preside over the
methods teachers should employ – for the meeting, or agreeing on rules by which one
teacher of P4C, these can include oral and/or person speaks at a time and in a certain order,
written techniques, the presentation of moral with each speaker accorded respect and prio-
dilemmas, constructing communities of rity given to those who have spoken less than
enquiry, initiating discussions that have both others).
philosophical and democratic aims, engaging
in Socratic dialogue, or asking philosophical Setting up a discussion in this way teaches stu-
question to a class or a group of students(23). dents about democratic methods that pro-
mote collective, intellectual dialogue. The chal-
Pedagogical training in debate? lenge for the teacher is to introduce these
functions and rules in such a way that the chil-
Certain writers question whether children can dren understand their purpose; even better,
really learn to do philosophy through group perhaps, these arrangements can be co-
discussions. In particular they draw attention constructed in class. Its philosophical purpose,
to the difficulty of holding a discussion with a however, gives a particular cast to these dis-
large number of participants, a difficulty that cussions: the group becomes a collective intel-
only increases when it concerns a group of lect, a community of enquiry. As it works
children with a broad range of abilities and through the children’s questions, which often
developmental levels. They also argue that concern the great enigmas of the human
ideas expressed orally are less concise and condition, it is not a matter of convincing
developed than those expressed in writing. others or winning an argument, but of sear-
Others respond that this lucid assessment of ching together for answers and working toge-
the difficulties encountered in the field is inte- ther in a relationship based on ideas (rather
resting, as it lists the obstacles to be overcome than force), in which the other person is an
as arguments against such a learning expe- indispensable partner in the effort to see
rience. It is precisely because students do not things more clearly – not an adversary. The
listen to each other that they should be ins- right to express one’s opinion (doxa) here is
tructed in the ethics of communication, and it counterbalanced by a duty to develop a ratio-
is precisely because they limit themselves to nal argument, such that every objection is an
examples in their arguments that it is neces- intellectual gift, not an act of aggression.
sary to teach them to look for common featu- Because of this, a teacher’s skill lies in cultiva-
res underlying the concepts these examples ting intellectual curiosity, a communicative
illustrate. The objective is to learn to think phi- ethic, habits of collective questioning and rea-
losophically through discussion and during soning, and logical thought-processes. These
discussions. skills must be developed in teacher-training. A
training method commonly used is to put tea- (23) Example: if one defines
Leading, or facilitating, a philosophically dis- chers in the same situations they will later philosophizing didactically as a
thought process that involves two
cussion is not easy, for there are two distinct place their students in (the principle of isomor- or more people and seeks truth,
facets to consider: method – the general ques- phism). In this way they understand the lear- the teacher would attempt to
make students aware of problems,
tion of managing the discussion; and content ning objectives more clearly and can expe- concepts and arguments.
– managing the philosophical direction the rience P4C principles in action, including diffi- But from a cognitivist conception
discussion takes. Facilitating such a discussion culties that can arise and strategies to over- of learning, priority would be
given to the students expressing
requires some skill, as the teacher has to moni- come them. A metacognitive phase following their opinions as a representation
tor the group dynamics while encouraging this the exercise allows the teachers-in-training to of their world. A constructivist
approach would instead focus on
dynamics to develop and regulating the psy- explore the feelings they all had during the dis- how the students construct for
chological and sociological direction it takes. cussion and outline the thought-processes themselves, following their own
personal path of reasoning, a more
The social practice of democracy provides us that it had required of them, and to evaluate complex vision of the question at
with regulative principles to use in creating a the various methods and processes used hand. From a social constructivist
public space for discussion in the schoolroom. during the exercise. position, however, one would
organize situations in which their
These include the recognition that everybody opinions would be confronted
has a right of self expression, above all those with the opinions of others, parti-
cularly those of their peers – the
in the minority; the possibility of preserving the other students (for example,
work of the group through appointing a in discussions).


4) The question of innovation: Promote, experiment,
One key question that animates the P4C enthusiasm of particular teachers and the
debate concerns how we are to move from interest children show in an activity that
innovation to official experiments, and remains somewhat outside their usual
eventually to establishing these new practices classroom exercises.
as part of the curriculum? In other words,
how to make the passage from innovation Any major innovation jolts a system and
to the institution of real change calls for a rethinking of accepted ideas. This
within a national education system? is the case with P4C, which breaks with
Institutionalization of P4C is an extremely numerous traditions with regard to both
interesting proposition, and some countries the teaching of philosophy and the habitual
are already well on the way towards achie- methods and culture of primary-school ins-
ving this. One great advantage of obliga- truction. Teaching children how to philoso-
tory primary schooling is that it provides all phize is a practice that is new in the history
children with a place where they can ask of humanity, although the idea itself may
the questions that are important to them not be. It is a recent phenomenon, initiated
–where they can experience at an early age only thirty-five years ago. But this late-
the spirit of philosophy; acquire a taste for twentieth-century practice has developed
rational analysis, driven by a thirst for truth; from a number of fundamental and
and develop the critical tools they will need convergent streams of thought over the
as individuals to better understand and centuries: a renewed interest in the ideals
navigate though life, and as citizens to of democracy in the eighteenth century led
contribute to public debate, support demo- to the concept of freedom of speech and to
cracy and resist misleading propaganda. calls for public spaces for open debate; a
Rather than leave P4C to the resourceful- shift in our conception of childhood that
ness and enterprise of local initiatives, had its seeds in the work of Rousseau
which can deprive a great number of children culminated in the twentieth century with
of a very meaningful learning experience, the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
generalizing these practices would contri- the progressive appearance and develop-
bute to establishing a common culture of ment worldwide through the twentieth
critical and creative thinking. Adding a new century of a new direction in education
subject in primary school, however, would broke from traditional methods to promote
also entail introducing an effective and an activity-based approach at primary
coherent programme to train teachers in levels; and scientific research on education
these practices and their objectives. Such a in the past few decades has led to a better
programme would need to be included in understanding of the teaching and learning
initial teacher-education courses and in process, incorporating cognitivist, constructi-
continuing professional development. vist and socio-constructivist theories of how
students learn.
Some promoters of P4C, however, would
prefer to receive a degree of official encou-
ragement of these innovative techniques,
rather than having P4C officially introduced
within a national or state education system.
They are sensitive to the contradiction in an
institutional requirement that children be
taught to think for themselves. There are
also concerns that such a reform coming
from on high might encounter too much
resistance, and that such standardization
might detract from the present climate in
which there is a welcome diversity of
practices, and where P4C is driven by the


II. Promoting philosophically directed practices at pre-school
and primary levels: Orientations and avenues for action
UNESCO has always worked to strengthen the teaching of philosophy in the world and to encourage its
creation where it does not exist. In March 1998, a meeting of experts at UNESCO made a number
of specific recommendations on philosophy for children(24).

1) What are the stakes, what are the values?
P4C is associated with a number of values both ethical and intellectual demands of a
or principles that confer on it both an edu- democratic debate. The challenge here relates
cational and a political significance. Six key to the conjunction of childhood, philosophy
implications of P4C can be identified: and democracy.

Thinking for oneself Helping the personal development
of children
A primary concern of P4C is to develop rea-
soning skills, a critical mind and a capacity Learning to think logically is an impor-
to think for oneself in children and teen- tant part of the child’s, and the teen-
agers. Such skills can be learnt through the ager’s, personal development. In expe-
rational exercise of the scientific approach riencing what it is to be a thinking being,
and the rigour of establishing scientific they become aware of their common
proofs. But when it concerns existential, humanity. Through rational discussions
ethical, political, aesthetic, ontological or they also experience stating their opi-
metaphysical questions, which are not nions out loud, in front of the group –
directly related to science, thinking for one- having their ideas listened to and defen-
self involves problem-solving, conceptuali- ding them. Such experiences can streng-
zing, and justifying one’s arguments ratio- then their self-esteem. By engaging in
nally: these are the skills of philosophy. rational discussions with their peers, (24) ‘At the close of the discussion,
the participants adopted the
children learn that they can disagree following recommendations: We
Educating for thoughtful citizenship among themselves without fighting; recognize and assert the impor-
tance of philosophy for democracy.
they experience peaceful coexistence in The way in which philosophy
Communities of enquiry and philosophical dis- which differences of opinion do not should be incorporated into
education depends on the various
cussions are both forms of debate. And as degenerate into emotional arguments, in cultures, the various education
there is no democracy without debate, lear- which they listen to each other and there systems and personal educational
choices. We recommend: 1) That
ning such debating skills at school comes is respect for difference. information on groups and
down to an education in democratic citizens- projects for introducing children to
hip. In addition, the development of critical Improving language, speaking and the philosophical activities existing
in different countries be sought
thought is fundamental to democracies that debating skills and collected, 2) That this
are based on the right to the free expression of information be assembled with a
view to disseminating it, and that
one’s personal opinions (even if this opinion is ‘Thinking through speaking’, particularly in philosophical and pedagogical
in the minority) and the confrontation of opi- the form of group discussions, develops analysis of such experiments be
encouraged; 3) That philosophical
nions in public spaces of open discussion. children’s linguistic capacities as they learn activities be developed with
Learning how to think by oneself at school ins- through social and intellectual verbal inter- children as early as primary school
and that symposia be held for the
tils a freedom of thought and a capacity for actions how to formulate their thoughts purpose of comparing experience
judgement which are invaluable skills for stu- before they express them. In a philosophi- and engaging in philosophical
dents, as citizens of such a democracy, to cal discussion, language becomes a tool for reflection thereon; 4) That the
presence, development and exten-
develop. Learning to engage in rational thought, developing alongside and in sion of philosophy be encouraged
debate and learning to philosophize through conjunction with the child’s thinking. In in secondary school curricula; 5)
That philosophy training for
intellectual discussion are two important working to develop and express their primary- and secondary-school
conditions of thoughtful citizenship – they fos- thoughts, the children learn the importance teachers be promoted.’ Philosophy
for Children: Meeting of Experts,
ter democratic citizens who pursue reason and of precision in language. 26–27 March 1998. UNESCO,
truth in encounters with others and make 1998, p. 29.


Conceptualizing philosophy Building a didactics tailored for
From a philosophical point of view, enga-
ging children in critical thought calls for a Constructing a didactics of philosophy for
redefinition of ‘philosophizing’; a concep- children is a challenging endeavour.
tual reinterpretation of how it begins, its Traditional teaching methods are far from
nature, the conditions of its practice. In appropriate – we cannot imagine teaching
France, for example, the use of the word philosophy to children through academic
‘philosophy’ to describe these new educa- lectures or by asking them to write long
tional techniques has led to debate among papers or analyze classic philosophical
philosophers over whether P4C actually is works. We can at most try to teach them
philosophy at all – based on the argument how to philosophize, try to kindle their
that not all reflective thought is necessarily reflection on their own identities and their
philosophical. This comes back to the ques- relationships to others and to the world
tion of ‘What is philosophy?’ How do we about them.
define ‘philosophy’ and ‘to philosophize’(25)?

2) What kind of institutionalization?
Promoting cultural and intercultural and social psychology – and, more broadly,
aspects in science in general – we must admit that
the didactics of these disciplines have
The various methods and practices associa- changed significantly as well.
ted with P4C appeared in a meaningful
form at a precise historical moment – in the There is no suggestion of imposing one cultural
1970s – in a particular country – the United model upon other peoples, countries or
States – and as a result of the initiative of cultures, but rather, from the basis of sha-
one person: Matthew Lipman. These prac- red objectives that have been endorsed by
tices have since spread across the world. the world’s countries as signatories to inter-
This historical and geographical origin, in national conventions, to promote educatio-
relation to a precise discipline, gives the nal practices that favour a culture of critical
emergence of P4C a particular cultural thinking, a culture of dialogue and a cul-
aspect: it is an innovation in a Western ture of peace. The recommendations pre-
context. While the history of philosophical sented here are designed to be adapted to
practices in relation to young people in the different cultural contexts and to diverse
past remains to be written, there are exam- education policies. The theory of hybridiza-
ples of such practises being used in many tion appears in this respect promising,
parts of the world. In the West, Plato noted because it re-establishes, between abstract
Socrates’ dialogues with adolescents, inclu- universalism and cultural relativism, the
ding Lysias, and rhetorical and theological concept of a universality of rights that can
disputes were organized in schools during take into account the cultural plurality of
the Middle Ages. We might also mention the world’s countries. When we consider
the tradition of debates in Buddhist monas- the unequal distribution of philosophical
teries or the traditional African institution practices in primary schools across the
of ‘palaver’, a process of debate and world, it seems an opportune time to put
consensus. And so we come to the ques- into action a flexible and very diversified
tion of how any method, whatever it may strategy. In countries in which P4C practi-
be, can be extended, reproduced or adap- ces do not exist, such a strategy could
ted to a new context. Not just its scientific include encouraging and developing any
presuppositions, but also any psychologi- initiatives in this area, perhaps through the
cal, pedagogical, didactic or philosophical medium of an association; providing fun-
presuppositions must be taken into ding or other assistance to experiments in
account. Furthermore, in line with the pro- the form of trial classes within the educa-
gress made over the past twenty-five years tion system; or incorporating into the curri-
(25) See Glossary, Annex 3. in cognitive psychology, child psychology cula certain practices judged to be of


formative value for students and which require special funding and training, and
correspond to the core mission of the are usually carried out according to a pre-
national education system. cise protocol and under close supervision.
The new practices will be evaluated with an
Promoting innovation inside and eye to how they could potentially be
outside institutions expanded, if successful, to become part of
the official curriculum(26). Given the growing
Philosophical teaching methods have not worldwide support for introducing new
been institutionalized in many national philosophical practices into primary-school
education systems, and yet in recent years curricula, it is now time to initiate such offi-
their use has expanded rapidly in a great cial trial projects so that the success of
number of countries. These methods often these practices can be evaluated in relation
exist on the margins of the national educa- to national educational objectives.
tion system, and are frequently encouraged
by universities, associations and other net- Institutionalizing certain practices
works. They bear the mark of an innovation
that in many countries represents a clear Promoting, identifying, encouraging and
break with traditional teaching practices. valuing innovative P4C practices at primary
From a centralized perspective (which often school level can be a first step in this pro-
suffers from too much conformity), innova- cess. Organizing official trials within a
tion in itself can be seen as a disturbance. national education system is a further step,
But if an education system maintains this the expression of a stronger political com-
view, it loses any capacity to change from mitment. Institutionalizing P4C practices is
within or to integrate any new ideas. On more ambitious still, as it involves admitting
the other hand, innovation can be a fer- that every child should have the possibility,
ment for the reform of a national or state in school, to develop an ability to think
education system, because, while not reflectively, and should be assisted in lear-
representing a generalized change throu- ning to think independently.
ghout the entire system, it introduces a
new practice that may come from outside There are several possible avenues for
the system or from within it. It provides an action: practices aimed at teaching children
opening, through which a blocked off or to think philosophically could be introdu-
dysfunctional system can breathe fresh air. ced as an option in certain primary schools,
One avenue of action could thus consist in certain regions, or as part of certain curri-
promoting the introduction of philosophi- cula; instructors trained in P4C could give
cal techniques in primary schools where special classes; or these new teaching
they do not yet exist and further encoura- methods could be formally incorporated
ging them in places where they do exist – into the education system for all students in
by publicizing their use and communicating a region or state, or even nationally.
their results as widely as possible. For coun- Whichever method is chosen, philosophy
tries where there are no such practices at could be introduced as either a general
present, it should be possible to initiate methodological reform that cut across all
simple critical thinking exercises for children subject areas, or as part of individual sub-
based on the folk tales or legends of their ject areas, in an interdisciplinary manner.
country, allowing them to express their For example, philosophical reflection of an
own interpretations and then having them aesthetic type could be introduced into art,
discuss various possible readings, without music or drama classes; a reflection on
closing off the exchange too soon by ethics in classes on morality or religion;
providing a ‘correct’ interpretation. political reflection could be incorporated
into civics classes; or philosophical thinking
Organizing official trial programmes of an epistemological nature included in
science or language classes. P4C classes
Experimentation, as contrasted with inno- could also take place in the form of a wee-
vation, involves a political decision to introduce kly programme of philosophy workshops
a new practice into a national education (their duration would depend on the chil- (26) See the example of Norway in
system on a trial basis. Trial programmes dren’s age). Alongside these initiatives, Part III of this chapter.


complementary activities could be offered types of experiences they have had, exam-
to interested students – an example would ples that could be meaningful for them,
be setting up a school philosophy club. and a consideration of their particular sen-
Philosophical meetings and debates could sibilities and imaginations – all are impor-
be organized through UNESCO Clubs(27) or tant elements in their personal develop-
the UNESCO Associated Schools network(28). ment and central to instilling in them a
capacity for critical thinking. In this respect,
Organizing a school curriculum a number of forms of scientific knowledge
must be mobilized: cognitive, developmen-
In terms of institutionalizing such changes, tal and social psychology; education theory
thought must be given to how they can be and knowledge gained through teaching
incorporated into the curricula across all practice; and a knowledge of philosophical
year levels. A coherent and progressive teaching methods.
approach is required to foster, through
regular practice, children’s capacities to At different ages the same questions might
think for themselves, to reason logically be taken up and explored differently,
and to demand intellectual rigour. It is because the power to reflect deepens as it
regrettable to see students participate in develops, along with an enrichment of their
communities of enquiry at primary school experience, an increased ability to express
and then cease to practice this type of oneself in precise language, and greater
reflective activity, or not be exposed to phi- capacity to understand difficult texts. In the
losophy again until university or the final context of improving national or state edu-
years of secondary school. In such cases the cation systems, this gradual progression
children are not being provided with the must be taken into account when develo-
intermediate links needed to consolidate ping a curriculum, appropriate to the chil-
their philosophical approach of questio- dren’s culture and traditions, that focuses
ning, conceptualizing and developing on the children’s abilities to think critically:
thoughtful, rational arguments. the content must continually become dee-
Incorporating P4C across the children’s per and more profound, and demand more
entire school career requires very clearly complex writing and reading skills, espe-
defined objectives, methods, classroom cially as regards substantial literature and
activities, books and other learning mate- specifically philosophical authors.
rials. It must take account of the age of the
students, their cognitive possibilities, the

(27) UNESCO Clubs, Centres and 3) What philosophical practices should be promoted
Associations are groups of people
of all ages, from all walks of life, in classrooms?
and from all over the world, who
share a firm belief in the ideals of
UNESCO as spelled out in its Diverse pedagogical and didactical with various teaching methods and educa-
Constitution and in the Universal approaches tional material. In fact, too strict a standar-
Declaration of Human Rights.
UNESCO Clubs are engaged in
dization of such practices risks rendering
educational activities that promote In general, any practice that develops chil- them unproductive, as it could threaten the
peace and justice. (
dren’s capacities to think for themselves, to intellectual freedom of individual teachers.
(28) The associated schools project
network was established in 1953, have an open mind (that is, to be free of Just as students must be accorded the free-
to implement the goal of promo- prejudice), or to question ideas is to be dom to think for themselves (because
ting UNESCO's ideals through edu-
cation that the organisation's
defended. Any practice that promotes the nobody can do their thinking for them),
founders had set. Its original search for meaning and truth, enlightened teachers must be accorded a similar intel-
aspect is that it coordinates natio- by reason – which teaches students the lectual and pedagogical freedom to make
nal networks of schools rooted in
each member country's educatio- value of questioning and understanding decisions appropriate for their contexts.
nal system. Its goal is to promote the deeper meaning of problems, which Rather than indoctrinating the students,
better understanding between
children and young people around makes them aware of the origins of their the teacher’s role is to help them along as
the world, with a view to building opinions and able to examine the basis of they develop their own answers to
the foundations of solid and long-
lasting peace. those opinions – is to be encouraged. questions about the world around them.
( Philosophical purposes can be associated


Some practical ideas Such exercises develop the children’s facul-
ties of judgment by improving their ethical
Among these approaches, we may cite discernment, so they can arrive at a moral
exchanges of ideas, moral dilemmas, and judgment founded upon rational reflection.
exercises in problem-solving, conceptuali- There are specific exercises instructors can
zation, and argumentation. Beginning with use to develop the process of learning to
questions asked by children themselves is philosophize. 1) Exercises in generating
important. Children are curious, – they questions, learning to examine one’s own
have an innate ‘love of knowledge’(29); they opinion, exposing one’s own presupposi-
ask questions to make sense of the world, tions and examining their consequences.
their questions motivate them and stimu- For example: if we ask ourselves, are
late them to look further into a problem. humans good? , this implies that human
These questions may be asked in class as nature exists. 2) Exercises in forming
part of a structured exercise, or they may concepts. For example: what conceptual
appear unexpectedly. They may also come distinctions are involved in distinguishing
from a question box, whether anonymous between a schoolmate, a friend and a
or not. The questions chosen will be those loved one? 3) Exercises in concluding argu-
that do not require a factual, technical or ments: to say why one has just said some
scientific answer, but have instead a philo- particular thing; to validate one’s discourse
sophical dimension – require reflection in rational terms; to say why one disagrees
because they are difficult, or there might be with a particular idea; to make a rational
several different answers to them (some of objection. Whether to conceptualize or to
which might contradict each other), or argue, children always begin with examples
there may be no clear answer at all (apo- and something from their daily lives – this is
rias). Students can vote to decide which their way of making a connection between
question is to be examined and discussed. an idea or abstract question and their own
But questions may also be drawn from a experience. They seek a conceptual anchor
story or textbook, or an improvised text, from where to begin thinking about a
composed to accompany the children’s phi- question. By helping them overcome this
losophical activity, or a ‘Philo-fable’(30) – a need, they can become capable of greater
story from the body of tales, legends and abstraction and generality of thought.
myths that pass on the wisdom of the If the objectives are both philosophical and
world. The class may also use works of chil- democratic, and the students are seen as
dren’s literature that have an anthropologi- gaining an education in citizenship, the dis-
cal dimension(31). One common practice is cussion will benefit from being clearly orga-
to organize exchanges of ideas among stu- nized from a pedagogic and a democratic
dents in a class, under the supervision of point of view, in which democratic rules
the teacher, with regard to a basic question ensure each child has a chance to speak
the students have themselves chosen to (such as having the students speak in a cer-
discuss. The students’ are often very inte- tain order, or giving priority to those who
rested to find out what other students have not spoken, or ensuring that the
think about the question at hand; experien- youngest members of multi-age classes are
cing socio-cognitive conflicts will help them recognized) and roles are delegated among
develop. the students to confer on them different
It is also possible to use moral dilemmas as responsibilities (president of the meeting,
starting points for thinking(32): in this case, secretary of the meeting, etc.). If the ses-
an ethical problem is presented to the stu- sion, however, aims to combine the deve-
dents. For example: ‘a mother has no lopment of philosophical skills of critical (29) The etymological meaning of
money to live on and her young child is thinking with other types of personal deve- ‘philo-sophy’.
hungry. Should she be put in jail if she lopment, and to improve skills at public- (30) For example, the French texts
written by Michel Piquemal.
steals bread?’ The idea is to decide, by put- speaking, one might select instead a round-
(31) An example is Antoine de
ting oneself in the place of the person table procedure, in which each child is Saint Exupéry’s The Little Prince,
involved in the dilemma, what solution to encouraged to go into detail in expressing (translated by Richard Howard).
Orlando, Fl, Harcourt, 2000.
adopt, clarifying and hierarchizing the his or her worldview by presenting their
(32) See the work of the American
values that are in play in this situation personal response to a given question. psychologist, Lawrence Kohlberg:
through rational, ethical thinking processes.


4) How can philosophically directed practices be
accompanied by training?
Through initial and continuing learn through P4C are possible. While it is
teacher training essential to try to define these skills, we
must take care not to allow our definitions
Whether we are trying to promote an inno- to become too rigid.
vation, organize an experiment, or institu-
tionalize a new method in the interest of What skills, then, must teachers develop?
reform, we have to show that these new The most general skill is probably that of
practices work on the ground, that they are knowing how to teach children to philoso-
more successful than other methods. phize, to think for themselves. This involves
Educational activities that are not associa- encouraging their desire to ask questions
ted with adequate methods for training and helping students follow logical trains of
teachers often fail for this very reason, even thought. To do this with respect to philoso-
if the teachers are skilled at designing tea- phical questions, teachers must remain vigi-
ching approaches and activities that are lant in class to prevent any dogmatism or
formative for their students. Teacher educa- relativism from taking root. In fact, for the
tion in P4C can take many forms, many of teacher, letting children develop their own
which are complementary. When it comes manner of questioning requires a number
to teacher-training, it is important to be of skills: the teacher has to be able to see
concise about exactly what skills the teachers which direction a discussion is taking, to
will be expected to teach their students. plan ahead to ensure that it proceeds suc-
cessfully and that the children are able to
What skills do we want students to learn express their ideas. The teacher should not
through P4C? This depends on how we simply provide answers, but instead main-
define ‘philosophize’ or ‘learning to philo- tain a non-dogmatic attitude to show that
sophize’ in the context of children and there are always many possible answers to
teenagers(33). Many definitions of these a philosophical question, and that any sin-
terms relate to the philosophical canon: for gle answer can be questioned in its turn. Of
Socrates this involves questioning; for course, the teacher must equally avoid the
Aristotle, wonder; for Descartes, doubt. All trap of relativism – to each his or her truth
share a certain conception of philosophy as – as it is always possible for ignorance, pre-
an awakening, as an important element in judice, unfounded certainty, error, disho-
the development of rational, critical thin- nesty or bad faith to play a role in how we
king. But what can be done to encourage a approach a question. The possibility of a
child’s philosophical development and to truth that can be shared by a community of
stimulate his or her critical thinking? What minds, that has been rationally established,
indicators can we use to assess the philoso- must remain the fundamental regulative
phical character of children’s thinking? Can idea underlying all of the group’s enquiries.
this be translated into a skill? This is a diffi- This is the standard that the teacher must
cult problem. In terms of setting and mea- maintain in the class. A few concrete
suring objectives, in teaching philosophical approaches can help show how the chil-
(33) ‘To acquire creative and enquiry and critical thinking we are dren can be encouraged to think for them-
critical-thinking skills that are self-cor-
recting and responsible’ (Lipman) –
confronted with the problem that thought selves. For one thing, children should be
‘to gradually pass from a egocentric, is not an observable or measurable beha- permitted to express themselves without
monologist attitude to a critical, dia-
viour. One must be very careful when defi- fear of consequences, and their ideas
logical attitude founded in intersub-
jectivity’ (Daniel) – ‘to adopt, when ning capacities or skills that are specifically should be encouraged and praised.
faced with an anthropological ques- philosophical, for such definitions may well Teachers must know how to leave open a
tion, an approach that dares to deve-
lop and express a thought’ (Lévine) – not be universal. For example, for those space for speech by their own silence; how
‘to acquire a capacity to develop, in who believe that children should learn to to listen for the philosophical dimension in
the quest for truth regarding ques-
tions about the human condition, participate in a community of enquiry, tea- a child’s question in order to consider it
problem-solving and questioning chers must develop the skills needed to rationally, rather than just listening to its
processes; to conceptualize ideas;
and to argue rationally by presenting
facilitate such discussions in class. But other emotional content; how to avoid giving
theses and objections’ (Tozzi). conceptions of the skills students should their own point of view in the discussion,


because there is a risk that this could bring ignored, and which present an opportunity
the children’s explorations to an abrupt end for further thought. For example, when a
(as they may feel they now have ‘the’ child says ‘just because people look diffe-
correct answer) or otherwise influence their rent, it does not mean they are not equal’,
ideas. that child has made a fundamental concep-
tual distinction between things that hap-
What, then, are the objectives of teacher pen to be so, and things that are so
education in P4C? What methods and because of a law. There are also a number
content material should be used to best of distinctions that are useful as categories
meet these objectives? Philosophizing when we want to ask questions in the right
requires a progression in learning, and tea- way, and distinguish different registers of
ching children to philosophize is not some- importance, such as: the distinction bet-
thing that can be improvised: teaching a ween the possible and the desirable, the
particular school subject requires training in legal and proper, constraint and obligation,
both the academic content and in teaching the concrete and the abstract, the particu-
methods. P4C training can be offered lar and the universal, the relative and the
during initial teacher education, or as part absolute, causes and purposes, principles
of the teacher’s continuing professional and consequences, the real and the virtual.
development. Training providing a basic At any rate, the principle of the isomor-
introduction in P4C is not offered in many phism of situations, those presented to stu-
places, although there are a few cases in dents in class, and also those experienced
which it has been institutionalized in the in training by teachers, appears to be
form of an official programme of professio- essential. It is important for teachers to
nal training with measurable standards. experience these situations themselves
Future teacher-education programmes will during their training, and to personally
therefore have to adjust themselves to the confront the difficulties they give rise to in
varying degrees to which philosophy has terms of the dynamics of learning, and they
been institutionalized at the primary-school should experience for themselves all that
level in that country. can be learned from such situations.
As regards the content of this training: 1)
Classic academic, philosophical training, It can be useful for teachers to know about
which transmits knowledge about philoso- the different teaching material and aids
phy, is always useful for developing the available, and to know how to use them.
capacity of teachers to philosophize by dra- Teachers can try out these materials in trai-
wing from the works of great philosophers. ning workshops, where they can experi-
For a teacher, this is an important intellec- ment with the possible ways they could be
tual investment. 2) An intermediate solu- used in the classroom and determine which
tion would be to find out which questions they feel would be most useful. In general,
are of most interest to children, especially direct experience and analysis of actual P4C
existential questions (such as those about sessions in the classroom, rather than just
growing up, freedom, love or death). in teacher-training exercises, is the most
Teachers should be familiar with some of useful training aid, as it allows teachers to
the great contributions philosophers have recognize the difficulties they are likely to
made to these concepts, as these can illu- encounter in class and to understand why
minate their attempts to respond to the some things work and others do not. In this
children’s questions. For example, there are respect, teacher training can run concur-
the attributes of friendship as presented by rently with teaching, because in this way
Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics(34), or we mix together, in an interactive fashion
the origin and nature of love as presented that is not just alternation, training sessions
by Plato in the Symposium. 3) Another way and hands-on experience, so that teachers
of approaching the question is to give tea- can prepare their next classes by analyzing
chers a list of things to watch for when lis- what they have just experienced in class.
tening to the children’s discussions – to (34) Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics,
translated by Terence Irwin.
help teachers identify, as they emerge, pro- Indianapolis, Hackett Publishing
blems and questions that should not be Company, 1985.


Through a training policy for trainers children respond to the learning process.
Continuing analysis is required because it
Teacher training will be most successful if it is allows educators to understand their own
supported by a well-planned structure to train actions and to be more successful in tea-
the teacher-trainers. If teachers or associations ching by being more conscious of what
have already introduced innovative philosophi- they do. Analysis improves the teacher’s
cal practices into a country, their experiences understanding of student reactions, and
can be used to inspire others, and to teach their psychological and learning difficulties.
these methods to those who will in turn be Finally analysis leads toward a better grasp
training schoolteachers; they can point out the of the common variables that can have an
difficulties they have encountered and ways impact on the running of a class, of which
they have tried to overcome them, and the teachers may well not be fully aware: such
teaching material they have found to be use- as time and space management problems;
ful. But a practitioner is not automatically a students’ difficulties in carrying out assi-
teacher trainer. This second level of training – gnments; or differences in how long stu-
teaching the teacher trainers – can be difficult dents need to finish a particular task, or to
to approach in countries with few teacher trai- participate in group discussion.
ners. It may be necessary to send potential tea-
cher trainers into other countries in which What kind of analysis is this? There are two
these resources exist, or to bring in qualified models of analysis in the human sciences.
educators to the country interested in institu- The comprehensive or clinical model analy-
ting these new practices. zes the teacher’s pedagogical intentions
There is, nonetheless, always the danger in and how the teacher experiences the class
transplanting methods from one country to in psychological, pedagogical and didactic
another. These methods must be closely ana- terms. The analyst must take care to main-
lyzed and have the flexibility to adapt to local tain a certain distance when constructing
realities. A desire to develop critical thinking in this identification, because otherwise the
children implies that teachers are themselves observations would not be truly objective
involved in questioning their own occupation and would be of little value to the teacher.
in the most general terms. Teacher trainers The explanatory model, however, takes the
must thus provide an example of this capacity teacher as an object of external observa-
for critical thought: instead of simply applying tion, using methods that claim to be rigo-
methods they have been taught, they should rous, behavioural, even quantifiable, in an
arrange training situations that have been effort to describe and explain what
adapted to the local requirements and the happened in a class and why, as objectively
objective in view, namely, promoting children’s as possible.
abilities to think critically and creatively. To analyze an educational situation, one
Training while practicing is also a possibility in must consider all those involved (students
this situation. and teachers) and the meaning-giving
dimensions associated with the situation,
Through an analysis of especially both the teacher’s and the stu-
philosophically directed practices dents’ relationship to knowledge. This
as a central component of teacher includes the interpersonal relationships that
training operate with the class; the group dynamics;
general questions of classroom manage-
Why is such analysis necessary? By analysis ment and authority; and the way in which
of an educational situation we mean all these are present in the school, the local
making an attempt to understand the reali- area, and the surrounding political and cul-
ties encountered in contexts in which tea- tural environment. Training the teacher-
ching and learning take place, and what trainers helps teachers to analyze their
outcomes can be expected from such class- situations as educators: they are urged to
room activities or from the introduction of philosophize for themselves, through self-
P4C practices into a school’s curriculum. questioning in particular. This does not just
This analysis tries to make teachers aware show them how to teach a particular sub-
of, and understand, the way they approach ject, but places them in the middle of the
the profession of teaching and how real practice of teaching.


Through producing and using relevant widely available when Lipman developed
didactical material his method, may be very useful for children
who live in a multimedia universe.
Whether it concerns introducing or encouraging 5) Another possibility for those who find
new ideas, launching or assisting an experi- Lipman’s stories not very literary or too
mental project, or institutionalizing P4C as ‘didactic’ for children is to base P4C classes
part of the curriculum, learning to philoso- on other books, specifically written for chil-
phize in primary school can be greatly faci- dren, as starting points for philosophical
litated by using appropriate teaching mate- thinking. The texts selected must be subs-
rials – these may already exist, or they can tantial in that they have a certain existential
be created specifically for this purpose. depth – they should require an interpreta-
These include textbooks addressed directly tive effort on the part of the children to
to children, information for teachers, as determine their meaning. Beyond their nar-
well as teaching material that is addressed rative content they should introduce
to both (for example, textbooks for stu- concepts and ideas that will stimulate the
dents often have companion teacher children’s critical thinking. The children
manuals). While some books for teachers then can work together to unravel or exa-
simply present P4C practices, to inform tea- mine the possible meanings of the text,
chers about them and to try to stimulate over and above any simple understanding
their interest, others offer detailed exam- of the story: through the text they and the
ples and instructions for in-class activities. teacher/facilitator can identify questions it
There are a number of ways to develop broaches and use them as the basis for a
appropriate P4C learning aids: group discussion.
1) The first solution, which has been adop- 6) A similar process of engaging and deve-
ted in a number of countries, consists of loping critical thinking can be inspired
translating Lipman’s purpose-written sto- through tales that form part of the chil-
ries and their associated teacher manuals dren’s cultural heritage, or tales from other
into the local language(35). The advantage cultural traditions: folk stories, legends and
here is to have immediately available a fables that constitute an inexhaustible
complete method, tested and stabilized, reservoir of thought-provoking ideas and
including concrete support material for wisdom. Myths, above all perhaps, in dea-
children (stories written for them) contai- ling with the question of origins, remind us
ning, implicitly or explicitly, many classic of the universality of the human condition
questions from Western philosophy. There and its mysteries. More specifically, Platonic
is also practical advice for teachers on for- myths, when presented in a form accessible
ming a community of enquiry, along with a to children, can lead them to think about
wide variety of exercises that they can concepts such as truth and falsehood (The
choose for their students out of workbooks Allegory of the Cave), the relationship bet-
(35) Matthew Lipman’s P4C
that go along with the stories. ween power and good (The Ring of Gyges), teaching materials include:
2) In some countries, Lipman’s stories have love (The Myth of Aristophanes), etc. Using Elfie. Montclair State College, New
also been adapted to the local culture; that such literary or mythical stories can foster Jersey, Institute for the
Advancement of Philosophy for
is, certain episodes are adapted to make children’s critical thinking by engaging their Children (IAPC), 1988.
them more meaningful in terms of the cul- sensibility and their imagination: by identi- Kio and Gus. Montclair State
ture, the traditions and the context of a fying with the hero, they live vicariously College, New Jersey, The First
Mountain Foundation, IAPC, 2nd
particular country. through his or her adventures, and this sub- edition, 1986.
3) In some countries new books have been jectivity gives great substance to the ques- Pixie. Montclair State College, New
written for children ‘in the style of Lipman’, tions the story provokes. The stories and Jersey, The First Mountain
Foundation, 1981.
with the same objectives and the same characters, part of humanity’s great collec-
Mark. IAPC Montclair, New Jersey,
techniques in mind, but referring more spe- tive archetypes, become shared references 1980.
cifically to the culture of the country for the class or group and open them up to Harry Stottlemeier's Discovery.
Montclair State College, New
concerned. greater intersubjectivity in their philosophi-
Jersey, The First Mountain
4) New or improvised materials can be writ- cal conversations. Foundation, 1974 (2nd edition
ten narratives, as with Lipman, or they can 1980).
Suki. IAPC, Montclair, New Jersey,
take the form of photograph albums, 1978.
comic books, even films. New technologies Lisa. IAPC, Montclair, New Jersey,
(especially audiovisual) that were not 1976.


5) How can philosophically directed practices be accompanied
by research?
As well as the need to introduce training educational reform that merits the financial
for teachers who choose to try P4C, or who and human investment they require.
are obliged to introduce P4C into their
curricula, research into how these practices Evaluating the effectiveness of the
are employed at the primary-school level is practices
highly desirable.
In terms of institutionalizing P4C, research
Stimulating innovation can also serve to evaluate its effectiveness
in terms of educational objectives, and also
Research can stimulate innovation and with respect to the consequences such
foster its development even in places where changes have on students, teachers, the
P4C does not exist. This has taken place in national education system, perhaps even
a number of countries in which university on society as a whole. Research might
philosophers are the source of P4C practi- consider some of the following questions:
ces. As P4C is a new arrival in the history of has the introduction of P4C in primary
the teaching of philosophy in the world, it school been effective in making students
would seem to be prime territory for resear- think about questions more deeply at
chers. Indeed, it enlarges the traditional school? Has it helped students develop self-
scholarly and university-based community esteem, especially those who struggle at
that concerns itself with philosophy, school? Does philosophy in fact have a the-
bringing in younger students, and finding rapeutic value, as Plato believed? Does it
itself in the process obliged to invent proce- contribute in a generally positive way to the
dures, methods, arrangements, tools, and construction of children’s personalities?
other means of support that are new, all Does it contribute effectively to educating
involving essential philosophical and students about citizenship and democracy?
didactic questions. This recently opened up Does it tend to prevent or diminish violence
terrain for research, which exists in only a in school, especially where particular pro-
few countries, must be worked over all the blem areas are concerned? Does it contri-
more, for there are many approaches. This bute to learning and mastering language
is also an occasion for researchers to work skills and the skills of oral debate and
closely with teachers on definite educatio- rational discussion?
nal practices, for example, in the form of
active research. Such research is especially
apt for attempting to evaluate the impact
these new practices can have on both stu-
dents and teachers, as regards skills requi-
red and skills to be developed, and this also
applies to the training provided for

Evaluating experiments

Research is also essential in evaluating experimen-
tal teaching methods. Experimental projects
must be closely monitored and studied as
rigorously as possible – which is why resear

chers are vital – to determine whether they
are worth continuing and extending to
other classes or groups (perhaps to even-
tually be included as part of the general
curriculum) and whether they constitute an


III. Philosophy with children:
A development to be acknowledged
1) Some successful reforms and practices:
A strong argument in favour of philosophy with children
Notable reforms obligatory class debates based on the stu-
dents’ interpretations of literary works directed
There are some examples in the world, rare at young people, with the opportunity to pro-
but edifying, where philosophy for children long these debates in a more decontextualized
has been institutionalized, or is in the way through philosophical discussions over
process of being institutionalized, at one of the essential questions the text raises. Similar
three levels: 1) cases where, although P4C half-hour debates are an obligatory part of
has not been institutionalized in the pri- civics classes (citizenship education) which give
mary-school curriculum, it has received students an opportunity to take part in and
encouragement from educational authori- organize philosophical discussions concerning
ties – the example of France; 2) cases where moral and political philosophy. As these inno-
(36) Some interesting examples are
the interest in P4C has been taken into vations in no way disrupt the existing educa- to be found in a number of theses
account by educational authorities and has tion system, but rather support its major on philosophy at primary school by
led to official experiments – the example of objectives, they are encouraged, although researchers at the University of
Montpellier 3 in France – for
Norway; 3) cases where philosophy has without going so far as to become institutio- example: Gérard Auguet, ‘La dis-
been the institutionalized and is part of the nalized across the school curricula – which cussion à visée philosophique aux
cycles 2 et 3 de l’école primaire:
primary school curriculum – the example of could be viewed as too much of a confronta- un nouveau genre scolaire en voie
Australia. tion for the traditions of teaching philosophy d’institution’ – this thesis aims to
show how, as a new teaching
in France.(36) practice that has yet to be institu-
1) Official encouragement of innovative tionalized, P4C tends to be seen as
new genre of schooling; Yvette
practices: France 2) Official development of an experiment: Pilon ‘La dimension philosophique
Norway(37) à l’école élémentaire et l’intercul-
Philosophy is not part of schooling in France, turel’ – a close examination of the
objectives of intercultural educa-
officially and significantly, until the final year of In 2005, the Norwegian government took tion and P4C that distinguishes
secondary school – where it is taught for up to the initiative of commencing formal experi- their similarities and explains the
importance of retaining a close
eight hours per week as a component of lite- mentation with P4C in schools. Trial classes connection between these two
rature classes. However, P4C practices have have been organized in fifteen primary and teaching areas, it argues that each
allows the other to show its full
developed in France over the past ten years at secondary schools, for children from six to potential; Sylvie Espécier, ‘La
the primary-school level (ages six to ten years). sixteen years, and have involved forty-three Discussion à Visée Philosophique à
l’école primaire: quelle formation?’
There is no rejection of these practices in prin- teachers. Several goals are pursued, in par- – this thesis tries to answer the
ciple by those in charge of primary education ticular the development of ethical compe- fundamental and increasingly pres-
because they share their fundamental objecti- tences, critical thinking skills and the capa- sing questions of what objectives
to aim for and what content to
ves: improving language skills and mastering city to engage in collective, democratic propose when setting up a trai-
oral communication, educating for citizenship, debate. The teachers attend two days of ning session or programme for pri-
mary-school teachers eager to use
and developing the skills of rational argument training each semester, and they are kept P4C in their classrooms; Nicolas
and critical thinking. up to date as the course gradually evolves Go, ‘Vers une anthropologie de la
complexité: la philosophie à l’école
through external and internal reviews and primaire’ – this study attempts to
For this reason, many teacher-training institu- visits to classrooms. Every month, the tea- understand how children think, to
determine which teaching techni-
tes and school supervisors in France have faci- chers submit a report in which they address ques favour the emergence of phi-
litated the development of these practices by a number of specific areas. The project has losophical thinking, and to deter-
organizing initial and continuing training in come at a cost, in that room has been mine the anthropological sources
of erudite philosophy.
P4C and research into this area, even though made on the students’ timetable for the (37) Synopsis of a presentation by
philosophy is not traditionally included in pri- new component, and it has met with some Prof. Beate Børresen of Oslo
mary-school and pre-school curricula in resistance from those who argue that University College at the interna-
tional conference ‘Philosophy as
France. There are also movements within the reflection is not as fundamental as sponta- Educational and Cultural Practice:
education system itself to develop this innova- neous expression, or that philosophy is too A New Citizenship’, held at
UNESCO Paris, 15–16 November
tion. For example, secondary-school classes in difficult for the students. Overall, it has 2006, in celebration of World
French language have since 2002 included been a very innovative experiment. Philosophy Day.


Box 1
An emblematic and instructive example: The Australian appropriation of P4C

It was a difficult task making the education ries, and combined philosophical research gramme has aroused great interest and
decision-makers in Australia accept the groups with innovating and entertaining the Buranda school receives many
idea of teaching philosophy at school. The school activities. State organizations were requests for visits from teachers from
benefits of teaching philosophy are varied, also created, of which some came toge- Australia and overseas. Staff members
and they are more difficult to quantify than ther to form the Federation of Australasian have been sought out to speak at confe-
those of other teaching innovations – and Philosophy for Children Associations, rences and to train other teachers.
while teachers count among its staunchest which later became the Federation of Buranda school and Education Queensland
supporters, their voices are not heard. Australasian Philosophy in Schools also offer a training course online. In the
Although some of the advantages of philo- Associations. With the exception of state of Victoria, a growing number of ins-
sophy can be measured in terms of an Queensland, where Buranda primary titutions, from the primary education level
improvement in literacy and numeracy, the school contributed a great deal and wor- to Universities, have introduced courses in
major advantages are probably in areas ked in collaboration with the Ministry for philosophy. The Victorian Association for
which lend themselves more to qualitative Education, these state organizations Philosophy in Schools has received a sub-
study. remain the principal source of teacher-trai- sidy for the recruitment of a coordinator
ning in philosophy. and regularly holds workshops for tea-
The arguments in favour of including philo- chers. The association has a website and
sophy in school curriculum were born out- The teaching of philosophy has spread lit- encourages schools to share their resour-
side the mainstream of educational tle beyond primary education – and even ces regarding philosophy – but here too,
research. Laurence Splitter was the first to there it has not been adopted across the the principal movers in favour of philoso-
introduce P4C practices in Australia, in board. It is sometimes brought in at the phy come from outside the central educa-
1984. After working with Lipman, Splitter school-district level, but most of the time it tion system structure. In Sydney, a gro-
directed a workshop on teacher-training in depends on the initiative of individual wing number of schools are integrating the
Wollongong, in New South Wales, in 1985, schools or, more often still, individual tea- methodology of the philosophical commu-
then another in Lorne, in Victoria, in 1989. chers. While there are some very success- nity of enquiry into their school curriculum,
The participants at the Lorne workshop, by ful philosophy programmes in place for and at least two of the city’s education
creating associations and drafting school more gifted children, communities of philo- zones are considering introducing the tea-
textbooks, had the most visible impact on sophical enquiry could benefit all children. ching of philosophy. When Tasmania esta-
the introduction of P4C in Australia. Even though the teaching of philosophy at blished its new Essential Learning curricu-
Philosophy seemed difficult to reconcile primary school is gradually spreading, the lum, it accorded philosophical reflection a
with the empiricism of the majority of the Ministry for Education will have to become central place. The apparent lack of a cohe-
research undertaken at the Australian involved to really make a difference. rent and concerted philosophy pro-
Council for Education Research (ACER), gramme, however, has led to increased
and it encountered a certain resistance. One can cite a positive example in calls for philosophy classes, as proposed
However, ACER added the P4C books to Queensland, where the state school at by the Association for Philosophy in
its catalogue and became the principal Buranda, a working-class part of Brisbane, Tasmanian Schools. In every Australian
source of information about it. has achieved remarkable results since it state there are places where philosophy is
incorporated the teaching of philosophy taught at primary school, and all states are
Other voices also made themselves heard. into its curriculum eight years ago. It recei- now working actively towards incorpora-
Philip Cam, of the School of Philosophy of ved the title of Queensland Showcase ting philosophy classes into the last few
the University of New South Wales (UNSW), School of the Year in 2003 and the years of high school, but there is not yet
an eminent personality at the national level Outstanding National Improvement by a any concerted approach with regard to the
as regards P4C, published short texts that School award in 2005. Its results have intermediate levels.
were easy to use in class. Tim Sprod, from been spectacular. For eight years, the stu-
an independent school in the state of dents of the Buranda school have obtained
Tasmania, published a book that enabled exceptional results on both academic and
teachers to use texts already in school social levels. They have a reputation for Stephan Millett
libraries. DeHaan, MacColl and knowing how to solve problems, and vio- Director of the Centre for Applied Ethics
McCutcheon of UNSW also wrote books lence or bullying is rare even non-existent and Philosophy, Curtin University, Perth,
that used works available in school libra- at the school. The success of the pro- (Australia)(38)

(38) Stephan Millett, presentation submitted at the international conference, ‘Philosophy in Schools: Developing a Community of Inquiry’. Singapore,
17–18 April 2006.


3) Institutionalizing philosophy at degree of freedom to use their own
primary school: Australia as a reference initiative.

Some countries have gone further than to There are three key aspects to this method.
encourage innovation or carry out official Firstly, it develops a culture of questioning
experiments, and have integrated philoso- at school, because it focuses on the chil-
phy in the primary school curriculum. This is dren’s own questions. Secondly, it proposes
the case in Australia. anthropological textbooks that are based
on a narrative, in which the children can
Practices that have been shown to identify with the characters and situations
work presented. Finally, they establish within the
classroom an organized space where the
Matthew Lipman and his method. This children can discuss human problems,
method is recognized as having had the where each has, democratically, a turn to
greatest influence on the development of speak, but with the understanding that
P4C in the world. Rejecting the conception with freedom of expression comes a duty
of children put forward by Descartes, that to argue rationally.
they are uncritical and prone to error and
prejudice in their judgments, Lipman sug- A number of criticisms have been addres-
gests instead that children can learn to sed at Lipman’s methods, among them the
think for themselves if they are given the argument that by basing the classes on
right conditions. Lipman thus opened the novels, the students are discussing things
door to a new way of teaching children, they have only experienced second hand,
one that certainly had antecedents in the and that this limits their real involvement
work of Epicure, Montaigne and Jaspers, with the questions and reduces the debate
but that had not received much attention in to a relatively lightweight discussion, rather
modern education systems. From Lipman’s than developing opinions about their own
work, this idea has grown and has since experiences. There are other criticisms too:
been explored throughout the world. that the approach is overly logical, and the
Lipman developed his method gradually, exercises repetitive; that it is based on a
basing it pedagogically on the concept of purely utilitarian conception of philosophy;
active learning (Dewey), psychologically on or that it subordinates critical thinking to a
theories of child development (Piaget), and democratic purpose, so instrumentalizing
philosophically on reflective techniques philosophy. It remains undeniable, howe-
derived from the Western philosophical tra- ver, that this method has added new
dition (Aristotle’s logic of deductive infe- dimensions to the concepts of learning to
rence, Descartes’ methodological scepticism). philosophize and philosophical practice:
1) The postulate that children are capable
The method is complemented by a sizeable of philosophical thinking, according to
body of teaching materials that have been which children are not simply ‘cultural
extensively field-tested and are continually dopes’, to use Garfinkel’s term, incapable
being revised and updated: in the United of thinking for themselves; 2) the convic-
States, for example, these have proven tion that it is possible to learn to philoso-
especially useful for educators who have phize through oral debate and a process of
not had any training in philosophy. sociocognitive questioning, and not only by
Lipman’s publications include seven books reading the works of the great philoso-
for children which broach clearly defined phers; 3) the idea that to philosophize is
philosophical problems while taking the not to have no opinion, but to question
children’s age into account. These cover and develop one’s opinions; 4) the idea of a
age levels from kindergarten through to ‘community of enquiry’ based on the
the end of secondary education(39). Each contributions of student-philosophers; 5)
book has a companion instructor’s manual the historic opportunity, in the tradition of
that consolidates the objectives of the ses- Greek democracy and the philosophy of
sion and includes lesson plans and student Enlightenment, to connect philosophy to
exercises, providing flexible suggestions for democracy, in a didactics that promotes a
instructors while allowing them a great public space within the school for the rational (39) Op. cit.


Box 2
An example of philosophically directed discussion in a mixed-level class (France)

We can cite an example where a philo- dren who have particular problems or nions; the ‘observers’ choose not to
sophically directed discussion (in are disadvantaged in some way’ take part in the discussion in order to
French, a Discussion à Visée (Sylvain Connac). For this reason the give others a chance to present their
Philosophique, or DVP) has been suc- team of teachers at the Antoine positions; and the ‘facilitator’ (gene-
cessfully used in a mixed class of chil- Balard school have gradually incorpo- rally the teacher) endeavours to help
dren of ages six to twelve years in a rated philosophical teaching techni- the participants develop the intellec-
district of Montpellier in France with a ques into co-operative classes. Even tual skills required for philosophy. In
high proportion of immigrant families. though the topics of the discussions this cooperative environment, the
The class is run by Sylvain Connac, a vary, the approach remains almost more advanced children rapidly
primary-school teacher who holds a the same, and the questions that form become vital resources for the rest of
doctorate in education. ‘Cooperative the basis of the discussion come from the group and help the group as a
classroom principles seek to develop the experiences of the class mem- whole improve the level of critical thin-
an educational environment in which bers. The children sit in a circle and king. This is possible through listening
everybody helps one another. In are allocated specific roles: the ‘presi- to what is said during the debates and
France, Célestin Freinet has develo- dent’ opens the discussion by remin- to the ideas and advice provided by
ped a teaching method based on sha- ding all of the rules; the ‘reformula- the observers afterwards.
ring and seeking truth, trial and error, tors’ explain what they understood of
free expression, communication and a what he or she said; the ‘summarizer’
variety of educational techniques. As will summarize the discussion as it Michel Tozzi
a teaching method that militates for progresses; the ‘scribe’ will write the Expert in didactics and professor of
education for all, it is common to find key points on the board; the ‘deba- philosophy, University of Montpellier III
cooperative classes offered for chil- ters’ will prepare their ideas and opi- (France)

2) Institutions and support materials
Two landmark institutes centres are autonomous, and many of them
have formed regional and national associa-
Two institutes merit particular attention. tions. Formal affiliation with the IAPC requires
Together they form a combined network that one or more of the centre’s staff has recei-
that is regarded as the most extensive in ved certification in P4C through graduate
the world in this field, with an overall uni- coursework at Montclair State University or by
fied, constructive approach to promoting attending an IAPC International Summer
P4C. Inspired originally by Lipman’s Seminar, or through an equivalent programme
methods, both of these groups have since recognized by the IAPC. To be accepted, cen-
embraced other P4C methods as well. tres must be involved in one or more of the
following kinds of work: Translation and publi-
The Institute for the Advancement of cation of the IAPC Curriculum; engagement
Philosophy for Children (IAPC)(40). The with school-age children in philosophical
IAPC, a non-profit educational institute enquiry ; preparation of schoolteachers to faci-
founded in 1974 by Montclair State litate philosophical enquiry with students;
University, New Jersey, has since its creation empirical and theoretical research in P4C;
been largely responsible, together with its development and testing of new
affiliate centres, for the proliferation of curriculum in P4C. They must also communi-
Philosophy for Children programs in cate regularly with the IAPC regarding this
schools and other settings around the work.
world. The IAPC is a member of the
International Council of Philosophical Today there are numerous ways to approach
Inquiry with Children (ICPIC), a network of P4C, many of which are not derived from the
philosophers, teachers and institutions inte- work of the IAPC. Although the IAPC occasio-
rested in engaging children in philosophical nally finds reason to critique particular
enquiry. There are numerous Philosophy for curricula and teaching methods, it welcomes
Children Centres around the world that are this diversity and encourages cooperation
formally affiliated with the IAPC. Though among colleagues practicing different
academic/iapc/ they often collaborate with the IAPC, these approaches.


The International Council of it are practised. There are also numerous
Philosophical Inquiry with Children national associations. For example, many of Box 3
(ICPIC)(41) A network of philosophers, tea- the Latin American countries have centres An example of distance-
chers and organizations interested in enga- promoting philosophical enquiry with chil-
learning for teachers
ging children in philosophical enquiry, ICPIC dren. Altogether, over sixty countries are
was founded in 1985 in Elsinore, Denmark, loosely affiliated to ICPIC.
to take forward at an international level the
Michel Sasseville’s online
pioneering work of Professors Matthew ICPIC provides a model of constructive dia- course, ‘Observation and
Lipman and Ann Margaret Sharp of the logue for children of all nationalities and Philosophy for Children’, offered
IAPC. Developed by Lipman and Sharp, the cultures. When it was founded, Lipman’s through Canada’s Laval
‘community of inquiry/enquiry’ model of programme was the only systematic curri- University, is very interesting for
several reasons. The format
teaching philosophy to children recons- culum in philosophical enquiry for children makes use of resources offered
tructs the rigid relationship between pupils from the ages of six to sixteen years, and by new technologies to offer a
and teachers into a dynamic, dialogical therefore, naturally, provided a model for new type of distance-learning
experience. It brings children in
relationship between enquirers and facilita- other countries, many of which translated
as part of the teacher-training
tors. That relationship is also at the heart of the material. However, some countries have and makes them a key part of
the European Union Comenius project, since developed different materials for use the course, through videos of
‘Developing Dialogue through in schools, and most countries have their children interacting through dis-
cussions in the classroom. This
Philosophical Enquiry’(42), which pilots a own teacher-training programmes. There course brings together the
course for teachers of all subjects and all is, then, great diversity and continuing dia- communities of enquiry
levels by ‘Philosophy for Children’ educa- logue within ICPIC about the principles and constructed by the children
tors from eleven European countries. These best practices of philosophical enquiry with being observed and the commu-
nity of enquiry created by the
countries represent roughly half of the children. adult students as they discuss
members of the European Foundation for their observations.
the Advancement of Doing Philosophy with Journals about philosophy for and
Children (SOPHIA(43)). with children
Two other formal, regional networks pro-
moting philosophical enquiry are the North A number of journals, such as Childhood
Atlantic Association for Communities of and Philosophy, Aprendar a pensar and
Inquiry (NAACI(44)), which involves Canada, Critical and Creative Thinking are devo-
the United States and Mexico, and the ted to philosophical activities with chil-
Federation of Australasian Philosophy in dren. These present practical examples,
Schools Associations (FAPSA(45)). FAPSA also research findings and case-studies, and
works in loose affiliation with a number of together present a useful snapshot of
Asian countries where P4C or variations of P4C practices throughout the world.

3) Case studies from throughout the world*
Europe and North America There is also a great deal of discussion
about helping children to cope with the
Germany. The interest in P4c in Germany crisis of orientation and identity that cha-
seems to cluster around the work of two racterizes the modern world. To philoso-
writers: Professor Ekkehard Martens at the phize is above all to enter into a discourse,
University of Hamburg and Professor to clarify and justify our beliefs and our
Karlfriedrich Herb at the University of point of view, and with children this begins
Regensburg. Both focus particularly on the with discussing the everyday contemporary
ideas that philosophy requires philosophical problems that the can face, and by encou- * Countries according to
alphabetical order in the original
teaching methods and that any P4C raging them to think by themselves. French version.
approach must be able to be justified in Martens analyzes four principal philosophi- (41) Commentary by Roger
terms of its objectives, the methods used cally founded directions in P4C: 1) the dia- Sutcliffe, President of the ICPIC.
and the material taught. A lot of attention logue/action route, which, in the Platonic
is given to the difficulties in following the tradition, pursues three goals: to think by
progression of students and in precisely oneself, to think together and to develop (44)
measuring their acquired knowledge. one’s personality; 2) the analysis and faculty/RMorehouse/NAACIWebPage.htm


children to participate in political life.
Through this initiative, study programmes
Box 4 and teacher-training programmes have
Thinking, and other journals about Philosophy for Children been developed at the University of
Philosophy in Munich(51).
Thinking, the Journal of Philosophy ners, but to all those interested in tea-
for Children. Published by the IAPC ching philosophy to young people(48). One notable group is the German-Japanese
since 1979, Thinking is a forum for the Critical and Creative Thinking – Research Initiative on Philosophizing with
work of both theorists and practitioners Australasian Journal of Philosophy
Children (DJFPK(52)), whose purpose is to
of philosophy for children, and publishes for Children. Published by the
such work in all forms, including philoso- Federation of Australasian Philosophy promote competency in philosophical-ethi-
phical argument and reflection, class- for Children Associations (FAPCA). cal reflection. The DJFPK’s primary goals are
room transcripts, curricula, empirical Diotime–L’Agorà. An international to develop and enhance instruction in
research, and reports from the field. review of didactics of philosophy,
The journal maintains a tradition in publi- published quarterly since 1999 by the
ethics and philosophy, and to provide sup-
shing articles on the hermeneutics of Académie de Montpellier, France. It port for efforts to develop philosophical-
childhood, a field of intersecting discipli- looks at innovative practices in philoso- ethical reflective competency in related cur-
nes including cultural studies, social his- phy in France and throughout the world, ricular areas such as religion, history and
tory, philosophy, art, literature and psy- particularly concerning philosophy for
choanalysis. It also publishes reviews of children. (In French.)(49) cultural studies. The DJFPK also encourages
books that concern philosophy and chil- Journal 100: European Children extra-curricular forms of philosophical-ethi-
dhood – whether the concern and its Thinking Together. Children from ten cal learning, such as philosophizing in
expression be philosophical, fictional, European countries write together in
pre-schools or in groups especially organi-
(auto)biographical, historical, pedagogi- one periodical. Currently published in
cal, theoretical, empirical/experimental, Catalan, Dutch, English, Hungarian, zed for this purpose.
phenomenological, poetic, curricular or Italian, Polish and Portuguese.
other(47). Questions: Philosophy for Young The DJFPK also examines the theoretical
Aprender a pensar. Published in Spain People. Publishes the philosophical
from 1990 to 2000 by Revista Internacional questions – and answers – of young
foundations of philosophy to evaluate their
de los Centros Iberoamericanos de people and their teachers, including phi- applicability and usefulness in curricular
Filosofía para Niños y CrianÇas, 24 volu- losophical discussions, drawings, philo- and extra-curricular teaching and learning.
mes. (In Spanish.) sophical writing by students and articles The initiative is especially focused on ways
Childhood and Philosophy. Published offering advice and ideas for teachers
by the ICPIC, Childhood and Philosophy and parents interested in facilitating phi- in which each culture’s transmission of
features articles, transcripts, curricula, losophical discussions with young peo- philosophical-ethical reflective competency
news items and reviews, and features ple. It is sponsored in part by the can be integrated into international and
some useful graphics. It is addressed Northwest Center for Philosophy for
trans-cultural conceptions of promoting
not just to P4C theorists and practitio- Children, (The United States)(50).
tolerance and respect vis-à-vis the unique-
ness of others.
creation of abstract concepts, drawing on
the natural way that children play with Austria(53). P4C, as an educational pro-
words and invent secret words and langua- ject, began in Austria in 1981. In 1982,
(46) Ekkehard Martens, ges, a way for them to create concepts; 3) the Council of Philosophy Teachers
Philosophieren mit Kindern. Eine children’s capacity for wonder – this direc- became involved and made the national
Einführung in die Philosophie.
Stuttgart, Germany, Reclam,
tion approaches philosophy through the educational authorities aware of the
1999. great philosophical questions about happi- possibilities of introducing P4C program-
(47) ness, freedom, time, language and identity; mes in schools. The first lessons were
4) the philosophy of the Enlightenment for given in schools in 1983, which were
A searchable index of citations
to articles from Thinking, with children, which takes up Kant’s maxim also used as teacher-training workshops
abstracts of articles from 1992 ‘dare to know’ (sapere aude).(46) (this involved 4 classes with a total of
and the full text of articles
beginning in 1996, is available at
120 children). In 1984, the Federal
the Education Full Text database In 2003, Karlfriedrich Herb, Professor and Ministry for Education, Science and
produced by the Wilson Web: Culture authorized a pilot P4C pro-
Chair of Political Philosophy and History of
ducat.htm Ideas at the University of Regensburg, with gramme in schools (20 classes and 600
(48) Roswitha Wiesheu, founded the Kinder children). The Austrian Centre of
(49) philosophieren, or ‘Children Philosophize’ Philosophy for Children (ACPC) was
(50) project in Bavaria. Its aim is to establish founded 1985, to promote philosophical
(51) These programmes have enquiry as an important part of the pri-
been developed by Prof. Barbara
philosophy as part of the contemporary
Weber from the University of educational environment of children, by mary and secondary school curriculum
Regensburg, who is also the working jointly with pre-schools and by organizing international conferences,
author of a special edition of
Thinking on P4C in Germany primary schools to develop practical, goal- teacher-training seminars and works-
(November 2007). oriented teaching methods that encourage hops. The ACPC also encourages interest


in new approaches and teaching
methods and the development of groups Children philosophize
of philosophical enquiry for children,
young people and adults. The ACPC is a Input Wondering- Goals
founding member of the SOPHIA net- Questioning
work. It has already established a library Philosophical Sources, - Orientation
Childrens’ Questions, for Meaning
and is putting together a documentary
Concrete Situations in Life
centre for studies of P4C; it also publi-

shes the quarterly publication Info-
Kinderphilosophie. Over the past twenty Philosophical Thinking-Talking - Dialogical Skills
years, P4C has been introduced to more Process Philosophical Methods,
Dialogical Techniques
than four thousand Austrian teachers

and ten thousand Austrian children.
Output Valuing-Acting - Finding Values
Belgium. There are various groups involved Philosophical Attitude in Daily Life - Good Judgments
in P4C in Belgium. Participants at the through Social Actions, Political
Participation within the Society
February 2004 Conference on Philosophy
for Children, directed by Claudine Leleux
and held at the Parliament of the French
Community of Belgium, grouped P4C acti-
vities in the country into the following three Box 5 The PhARE association, serving as a guide
categories(54): 1) The non-profit PhARE asso-
ciation (‘Analysis, Research and Education PhARE: ‘The name refers to the main also challenges ‘magic’ or ‘spiritual’ dis-
in Philosophy for Children’), founded in activities of the association, which are courses that suggest that incantation
1992; 2) The non-profit associations, to Analyze, Research and Educate in the alone is enough to achieve our desires,
field of Philosophy. Phare is a metaphor or the discourse of propaganda, which
Philomène and ‘Il fera beau demain’ (‘it will and a symbol [the French word for ‘bea- delights in creating distorted beliefs –
be sunny tomorrow’). Both of these orga- con’ or ‘lighthouse’, phare comes from going as far as negating the obvious.
nize teacher-training activities. ‘Il fera beau the island of Pharos, where the There are many ways to do philosophy
Lighthouse, or Pharos, of Alexandria with children, from reading a philosophi-
demain’ draws on the work of Lipman and
was built in the 3rd century BC]. Invisible cal story to discussing their metaphysi-
Michel Tozzi, preferring the terms ‘learning itself in the night, the Pharos, the cal questions about death, fear, joy or
to think’, ‘learning to reflect’ or ‘learning seventh wonder of the ancient world, is the origin of life or proposing philosophi-
abstract thought’ rather than ‘philosophy a source of light. Its beacon lights the cal approaches to concepts such as
way for ships so that they can guide time or space. Philosophy for Children
for children’ – to distinguish these new themselves safely through the dark- seemed to us to offer, when compared
methods from the teaching of philosophy ness. We aim to promote, with energy to previous approaches, an original
as an academic discipline; and 3) The and conviction, the use of the commu- alternative that deserved to be develo-
Charte de Philosophie-Enfances(55), which nity of enquiry as the best method to ped further. This is why we made a
train people to think critically and make conscious choice, which we remain
resulted in the organization of philosophi- reasonable and responsible judge- committed to: that of creating a space
cal workshops for children of five to eight ments. In establishing a community of that encourages the effective use of lan-
years in five schools in the Watermael- enquiry, one creates a context in which guage and teaches the skills one needs
thought and discourse are freed from to be a democratic citizen capable of
Boitsfort district. These formed the basis of
dogma, where various types of self- self-improvement.
the documentary film Les grandes ques- deception that are fed by discourse limi-
tions(56), which proposes that the commu- ted to praise or blame, to taking posi- Extracts from an interview with
nity of enquiry serves a purpose in itself and tions without reflexive examination, can professor Marcel Voisin, President
be confronted and held to question. of the PhARE association
does not necessarily need to lead to any Discussion within such a community (Belgium)
The most influential of these in Belgium is
PhARE (52) The ‘Deutsch-Japanische Forschungsinitiative zum Philosophieren mit Kindern’ (DJFPK – ‘German-
Japanese Research Initiative on Philosophizing with Children’) is a cooperative research effort centred at
the Hodegetics Institute of the College of Education, Karlsruhe, and the Department of Learning
Canada. The most widespread approach Science, Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University. Its spokespeople are Professors Eva
Marsal from Karlsruhe and Takara Dobashi from Hiroshima (
is that developed by Matthew Lipman
(53) From an interview with professor Daniela G. Camhy, Director of the Austrian Centre of Philosophy
and his colleagues. Dr Marie-France for Children (ACPC):
Daniel, professor at the University of (54) Claudine Leleux (ed.), La philosophie pour enfants: le modèle de Matthew Lipman en dis-
cussion. Brussels, de Boeck, 2005. Claudine Leleux is Assistant Professor in Philosophy and
Montreal, describes P4C activities in
Epistemology of Disciplines and an Expert Advisor to the Parliament of the French Community of
three Canadian provinces: British Belgium.
Colombia, Ontario and Québec. In (55) Signed on 21 September 2001.
British Colombia, Dr Susan T. Gardner is (56) Directed by Isabelle Willems.


the founding director of the Vancouver has studied Lipman’s methods since
Institute of Philosophy for Children, 1982. As a result of a long tradition of
whose principal mandate is to adapt and dividing the school system into two sub-
to translate philosophical material for systems, one Catholic the other
students at secondary and university Protestant, state schools in Québec have
levels. Dr Gardner is currently setting up for a long time included religious educa-
a group for Canadian teachers using the tion as part of the formal curriculum,
Lipman approach, the Canadian Alliance with a course on morals offered as an
of Philosophy for Children Practitioners. alternative. The teaching of morals
Discussions with the network of state- without any religious affiliation has thus
run and private or independent schools developed in the context of a long
in the Vancouver area are also in debate over the place of religion in
progress, with the goal of establishing schools. Philosophy can be seen as part
P4C in the area’s primary and secondary of a number of different classes in
schools. In Ontario, the official educa- Québec’s schools, including morals and
tion curriculum (pre-school, primary and ethics, French language, mathematics
secondary) emphasizes the development and citizenship education.
of critical thought at school from
pre-school level (from the age of five As for work on, and with, the P4C
years). Moreover, teacher education in approach, there are two main facets in
(57) Marie-France Daniel,
Les Contes d’Audrey-Anne: contes
Ontario includes a compulsory compo- Québec: theoretical and empirical
philosophiques, illustrations by nent of teaching to prevent violence. research and hands-on teacher-training.
Marc Mongeau. Québec, Le Loup
Since 2004, a growing number of state- The first is centred at the University of
de gouttière, 2002.
(58) Marie-France Daniel,
run and independent French-language Montreal, while the second consists
Dialoguer sur le corps et la vio- schools, particularly in Toronto, have almost entirely of courses offered by
lence. Un pas vers la prévention:
guide philosophique. Québec, Le
introduced the P4C approach, in great Laval University. There are other smaller
Loup de gouttière, 2003. part due to the work of Dr Daniel. associations involved in P4C, who are
(59) Canadian Philosophical Classes are based on her book, Les not formally affiliated with the IAPC:
Association –
contes d’Audrey-Anne(57), used conjointly these include the Canadian Philosophical
project/#english; with the teacher-companion book, Association’s ‘Philosophy in Schools’ pro-
(60) Published by Ediciones de la Dialoguer sur le corps et la violence: un ject; the work of the Institut Philos; and
Torre, Madrid.
pas vers la prévention(58). In Québec, the the ‘Prevention of Violence and
P4C approach has been publicized pri- Philosophy for Children’ project of the
(62) Information provided by Prof.
Félix García Moriyón. marily through the research work of association La Traversée(59).
(63) Source: Michel Sasseville, Anita Charon, a professor at the
Laval University, Canada. University of Québec in Montreal who Spain. Founded in 1987 as part of the
Spanish Society of Philosophy Professors
(Sociedad Española de Profesores de
Box 6 Filosofía de Instituto, SEPFI), the Centre for
Philosophy for Children of the Community
Didactics and pedagogy at Laval University
of Valencia carries out numerous P4C acti-
vities: it has co-published Spanish editions
The Faculty of Philosophy at Laval A graduate-level programme aimed at
University, Canada, began offering pro- preventing violence and training tea- of seven of Matthew Lipman’s books, along
fessional training in P4C in 1987. Today chers to observe, understand and direct with their corresponding teacher
it offers twelve subjects and three trai- a philosophical discussion with children. manuals ; it organizes nationwide tea-

ning programmes in P4C: Each of these programmes include the
Certificate Programme in Philosophy for online subject ‘Observation and
cher-training classes, including annual six-
Children. Students take five one-term Philosophy for Children’, offered through day continuing professional development
subjects in P4C, including an optional the university’s website (in French), seminars for teachers; it also publishes jour-
internship, and five other Philosophy which trains teachers to observe and nals, such as Aprender a Pensar and an
subjects. understand P4C in action through video-
Micro-Programme in Philosophy for taped class discussions where children annual P4C journal that it distributes in PDF
Children. (Five one-term subjects.) are engaged in a community of enquiry. format(61). One of the most emblematic ini-
Introduces students to the breadth of tiatives carried out in Spain has been the
the relationship between philosophy in Extracts from an interview with Michel
Filosofia 3/18 project (see Box 7)(62).
practice and education. Sasseville, Professor, Faculty of Philosophy,
Micro-Programme in Philosophy for Laval University, Québec (Canada)
Children and the Prevention of Violence. United States of America(63). A number
of P4C techniques have been applied at the


Box 7
An enthusiastic adventure: The Filosofia 3/18 project in Spain

GrupIREF was founded in Catalonia in king are understood in pragmatic and ment of the curriculum itself, which now
1987, with the aim of promoting not purely speculative terms. The covers the entire span of formal educa-
research in the teaching of philosophy. Filosofia 3/18 project has translated tion from pre-school to the final year of
The Filosofia 3/18 project began with and adapted four programmes from the secondary school. It includes complete
the translation and adaptation of IAPC curriculum into Catalan, for chil- P4C programmes and materials that
Matthew Lipman’s story, Harry dren of ages eight to sixteen years. For have been developed by other interes-
Stottlemeier’s Discovery. A school curri- children between three and eight years ting initiatives and European projects,
culum for children from the ages of of age and for those of ages sixteen to such as ECODIALOGO, which produces
three to eighteen years was then pro- eighteen, the project has created new a CD-ROM available in five languages
gressively developed, giving its name to material more adapted to the education (Catalan, Spanish, English, German and
the project itself. IN 2004, almost 2000 system in Spain. GrupIREF (Grup Portuguese) as part of an interdiscipli-
people were working on this project and d’Innovació i Recerca per a nary programme to develop resources
more than 300 primary and secondary l´Ensenyament de la Filosofia – ‘Group to promote cooperative, meaningful, cri-
schools – state and independent – were for Innovation and Research for the tical, creative and thoughtful in-class dia-
involved, amounting to approximately Teaching of Philosophy’) is an entirely logue within the context of environmen-
25,000 students in Catalonia alone, autonomous, non-profit organization tal education.(64)
without counting the teachers working in involved in teacher education and the GrupIREF also offers a wide range of
other areas in Spain and abroad (such creation and promotion of new teaching teacher – education courses and publi-
as in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico). materials. shes a trimestral journal Bulletin
Based on the narrow relationship bet- Filosofia 3/18.
ween thought and language, Filosofia The curriculum developed by GrupIREF
3/18 focuses on four types of activities: is composed of a variety of materials Extracts from a contribution by
listening, speaking, reading and writing. designed in response to the needs of Irène de Puig, Director of GrupIREF
The objectives of teaching critical thin- the schools and the progressive enlarge- (Spain)

primary-school level in the United States. Of at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley,
particular interest is a ‘Philosophy at school’ Massachusetts has created and developed a
programme of undergraduate and postgra- Web site for teachers, parents, children and
duate classes given by Dr Beth A. Dixon at the others interested in philosophy and children's
Department of Philosophy of SUNY University literature. He uses the method of introducing
in Plattsburgh, New York. ideas to the children by reading a story.
Professor Wartenberg’s site also presents
At the Center for the Advancement of reviews and summaries of a selection of books
Philosophy in the Schools (CAPS), created in for children that have a philosophical
2000 at the University of California, Long content.(66)
Beach, Debbie Whitaker is in charge of a class
for upper-level and graduate students in philo- France. Philosophical practices were intro-
sophy called ‘Philosophy and Education’. The duced later in schools in France. P4C has
students conduct weekly philosophical works- developed at the primary school level since
hops with children in local schools, drawing on 1996, its progress accelerating notably
stories and poems and often including role- since 2000(67). The teaching of philosophy,
playing games, video clips from contemporary however, has never been and is still not a
films that raise philosophical issues and inspire formal part of the primary-school curricu- (64) English and Spanish versions
critical thinking. lum in France, a country with a long tradi- are available at
tion of teaching philosophy at the last year (65) Childhood and Philosophy.
Thinking: Journal of Philosophy
John Roemischer’s course at the Department of secondary school. The introduction of for Children & Analytic Teaching.
of Literacy Education of the State University of philosophical techniques at the primary (66) Source:
New York, Plattsburgh, is also notable. level has also been sharply criticized by the
Listen also to a podcast interview
Roemischer has developed a course in tea- supervisory body for philosophy in France with Prof. Thomas Wartenberg at
ching and literacy for graduate students, titled (the Inspection générale de philosophie) Just One More Book: www.justone-
‘Philosophy and Children’s Literature’. and the association of professors of philo-
(67) For a discussion of the growth
Numerous articles about the course have sophy in state schools (Association des pro- of P4C in France, see Michel Tozzi,
appeared in the periodicals published by fessors de philosophie de l’enseignement `The emergence of practices with a
philosophical purpose at school
Montclair State University(65). Thomas public, APPEP). Initially introduced by a and college: how and why?’, in
Wartenberg, of the Department of Philosophy small number of innovative educators, P4C Spirale, No. 35, 2005.


techniques are today evoked as a way to students discuss their interpretations of
address the major concerns of France’s edu- works of children’s literature, or by debates
cational institutions. on philosophical questions. Myths, notably
those of Plato, are also used as materials for
The progressive introduction of P4C practi- philosophical reflection. Philosophers and
ces in France is manifested in several areas: philosophical institutions in France have
in the many P4C classes offered for tea- begun to reassess P4C in recent years(69).
chers, both as part of initial training and
continuing professional development, at Recommendations resulting from a confe-
Institutes of Teacher Training (Instituts de rence on Catholic Education in France in
formation des maîtres, IUFM) and Centres December 2001 encouraged the develop-
of Continuous Education (Centres de for- ment of philosophical questioning at pri-
mation permanente, CFP); an annual natio- mary and secondary school as one of eight
nal and international conference introdu- priority areas. A March 2003 conference
ced in 2001 that brings together experts, held in Ballaruc, France on philosophy at
educators and researchers; numerous schools(70), attended by France’s General
publications for both students and Inspector of Philosophy, agreed on the
teachers, including books from a variety of need to establish teacher-education cour-
publisers; the integration of existential and ses to accompany the development of P4C,
social topics into other books published for as part of both initial and continuing tea-
children; the inclusion of P4C workshops at cher education. The ‘democratic philoso-
open universities (Universités Populaires) in phic’ stream considers that traditional uni-
a number of regions of France; and press versity courses in philosophy – with lectures
articles and television reports on P4C. It is on philosophers and different schools of
notable too that university research centres philosophy – are insufficient if they do not
are also becoming interested in these new encourage philosophical group discussion.
teaching practices. A marked variety of It is clear that it remains very useful for tea-
practices and different directions are deve- chers to learn about some of the classic
loping in France, often with support from philosophical discourses, in that it is impor-
Department of Education supervisors and tant, when facilitating P4C group discus-
(68) Description provided by Prof. advisors on primary-school education. sions, to understand the philosophical
Michel Tozzi.
Notable among these are the following: implications of the questions that the chil-
(69) Marcel Gaucher and Michel
Onfray are in favour of philosophy dren raise. For example, the question ‘can
for children; André Comte- 1) The Lipman method. This was the first one drive through a red light?’ can be
Sponville has written a text for
children – Pourquoi y a-t-il quelque P4C method to be introduced in France, understood materially (it is technically pos-
chose plutôt que rien? [‘why is albeit relatively late, through the teacher sible), legally (it is against the law), or ethi-
there something rather than
nothing?]; Yves Michaux, a profes- training institutes of Caen and Clermont- cally (it could be ethically desirable, for
sor at the Sorbonne, wrote the Ferrand in 1998. Lipman’s method inspired example, to transport somebody who was
book La Philo 100 % Ado
[‘Philosophy 100% Teens’], Paris,
a great number of P4C techniques used in in danger of dying to hospital): this is an
Bayard Presse, 2003; the former France today, although it was rapidly trans- essential consideration when listening to a
Minister for Education, the philo- formed with the creation of a large body of question philosophically(71).
sopher Luc Ferry, considers that
‘the use of practices that call French classroom materials.
themselves philosophical at pri- 3) The Socratic method of Oscar
mary school is a major innovation
in the education system.’ 2) The ‘democratic-philosophical’ stream(68). Brenifier (72). Brenifier, founder of the
(70) The theme of the 2003 confe- Developed from the work of Michel Tozzi, Institute of Philosophical Practice, returns
rence was ‘Debates at primary and the objectives pursued are very similar to to the Socratic approach to philosophical
secondary school: philosophical
discussions or reflexive thinking?' it those of Lipman, but Tozzi proposes a dialogue. Socrates saw his role as analo-
was attended by representatives structured democratic apparatus in which gous to that of a midwife, helping students
from twenty academies and from
the Bureau of Innovations of the the students each have a precise function, to develop their own ideas by carefully gui-
National Ministry for Education. and which makes intellectual demands of ding the group’s discussion through ques-
(71) Other interesting analyses can the students to develop their philosophical tions and interjections and by rephrasing
be found in J. C. Pettier and J.
Chatain, Débattre sur des textes skills of conceptualizing, arguing rationally different concepts, so as to develop a pro-
philosophiques: en cycle 3, en and questioning. As well as continuing gressive and logical train of critical thought.
Segpa et ailleurs au collège.
Champigny-sur-Marne, France,
research into these methods, workshops Brenifier has produced a large body of tea-
CRDP-Académie de Créteil, 2003. are offered for teacher development. The ching materials, including the series Les
(72) practice is enriched by debates in which petits albums de philosophie published by


Autrement Jeunesse, and PhiloZenfants, examples or situations. During the stu-
published by Nathan (both in French). The dents’ discussion, the teacher remains a
teacher guides the class, encouraging the spectator who is at once outside the discus-
children to develop a reflective and questio- sion and monitoring it; the teacher’s role is
ning attitude. A similar approach is advoca- to encourage the students’ growing capaci-
ted by Anne Lalanne(73), who pioneered this ties to think critically about common ques-
method in France in 1998: when conside- tions concerning the human condition. The
ring a question, a student proposes an idea, teacher’s presence is all the more symbolic
which other students then must rephrase in because it is silent. This silence authorizes
their own words to demonstrate how well the students to speak, as they are not, or
they understand it. Once it is clear that all no longer, confined by a desire to give the
of the group has understood the idea ‘correct’ answer to the teacher. The silence
completely, the facilitator asks them if they is an invitation to speak, but without being
disagree in any way. The students again judged or evaluated. The children can talk
work together to rephrase each objection about issues that have a direct relation to
until the class as a whole has understood. their lives and their thoughts. The children
At this point the teacher asks them to res- express their ideas in the presence of their
pond to the objection and the process peers – their thoughts assume a public
continues. The ideas can be followed by dimension by being articulated and addres-
methodically writing them up on the board. sed to the others (although it is not inten-
ded that they enter into an argumentative
4) Jacques Lévine’s method. Lévine, a debate in which each seeks to make the
development psychologist and psychoana- best argument)(74). The experience of sha-
lyst, has developed since 1996 a teaching ring an anthropological conversation bonds
and research method for children from pre- the students together in a common culture
school (ages three to four years) through to that gives a certain depth and calm to the
secondary school (sixteen year-olds). The way they express their ideas, in spite of
teacher starts the discussion off, a little their youth and their spontaneity. This
solemnly, by providing a philosophical method has been criticized by certain philo-
question on a subject of interest to children sophers, didacticians and teachers because
and adults (for example, growing up) and it does not aim to teach the children to phi-
asking the children to provide their own losophize in the sense of developing their
opinions. The children discuss the question critical thinking, but to encourage the chil-
for ten minutes, with the teacher remaining dren’s personal development by cementing
silent. A baton is passed around to give their identity as thinking beings – by lear-
each child a chance to speak. The session is ning that they have something to say about
recorded and the tape is then played back a question that is fundamental to all peo-
to the class, who can interrupt at any point ple, themselves included. By increasing
to add to the discussion. This psychological their confidence in their capacities as thin-
method centres on the idea that children king beings, and improving their self-
join humanity through exercising their criti- esteem, the children can more readily
(73) Anne Lalanne is a schooltea-
cal thinking – Lévine uses the term cogito, engage in personal reflection and partici- cher noted for developing a tea-
a direct reference to Descartes – within a pate in a community of enquiry. ching method based on the orga-
nization of group workshops in
group involved in a philosophical discussion which the children learn to philo-
(a group of cogitans, or ‘young thinkers’). Italy. A number of organizations in Italy are sophize, guided by an adult, by
focussing on three aspects: deba-
The children work in a situation that is involved in P4C. Two major centres carry out ting techniques, democratic values
psychologically conducive to developing teacher training and research activities: the and the intellectual requirements
of philosophy.
autonomous thinking, recognizing that Central di Ricerca per Insegnamento Filosofico
(74) For the philosophers of the
their ideas are connected to, but distinct (CRIF)(75) in Rome and the Interdisciplinary Enlightenment, particularly Kant,
from, those of the others in the group. The Centre for Educational Research on Thought ‘publicity’, or the public expression
of thoughts, is essential from the
students work in the presence of the tea- (CIREP)(76) in Rovigo. Together they are responsible democratic and the philosophical
cher, who initiates the session and from the for experimental P4C classes in around fifty point of view.
start emphasizes the anthropological schools scattered throughout Italy, although it (75) Founded and directed
by Antonio Cosentino,
nature of the question by pressing upon is difficult to estimate the actual number of
the students its universal, psychological classes involved. They offer three principal tea- (76) Founded and directed
dimension that goes beyond any individual cher-training options: 1) An annual residential by Marina Santi.


Box 8
Discovering and disseminating philosophy for children: The CRIF in Italy

In 1990, Marina Santi and I took part in subjective dynamics in learning, and of the first teacher groups to initiate expe-
a training course in P4C at the University how academic content is organized. riments in these techniques. After fifteen
of Dubrovnik, given by Matthew Lipman years working in this area, we have
and Ann Sharp, with the assistance of 2) The conception of a meeting point, in come a long way. P4C in Italy is without
other European colleagues. We were a new sense, between philosophy and question a reality – recognized nationally
certain that this educational project offe- the education sciences, where philoso- and internationally.
red incomparable promise. Personally, phy can be looked at not only as one of
as a philosophy teacher I had seen the the education sciences but also as the When the teaching of philosophy puts its
limits of the traditional teaching place where education takes on a life as identity as an academic discipline aside
approach to philosophy, which was a total and complex formative expe- for a moment, it can then devote itself to
overly centred on the transmission of its rience (logical, social, emotional), and working more directly with students’ cri-
historical content. I had many questions where the theoretical and the practical tical and creative thinking skills, by orga-
still, however, concerning how to define elements of the learning processes nizing itself as a framework to facilitate
a philosophical problem and the metho- intermingle and blend smoothly toge- and support ‘ecologies of mind’ and the
dological options and teaching materials ther. processes of constructing and recons-
available. Two key elements of this new tructing meaning.
approach greatly impressed us: Along the way we were joined by Maura
Striano, Professor of General and Social
1) The active and constructive character Pedagogy at the University of Florence.
of the training, which came down to an Together we believed that it was worth Extracts from an account by professor
inversion of the traditional relationship the effort to make P4C known in Italy, by Antonio Cosentino, Director of the
between academics and teachers. This translating materials (these are now Centro di Ricerca per l'Insegnamento
suggests a reassessment of the rela- published as part of the collection Filosofico (CRIF), Rome
tionship between subjective and inter- Impariamo a pensare(80)) and by forming (Italy)

teacher development course (intensive trai- Numerous articles and studies have also been
ning), which includes sixty hours of practical published in various specialized journals(79). The
and theoretical classes aimed at providing tea- most significant result is the finding that trai-
chers with the knowledge and skills to intro- ning teachers in P4C techniques, if carried out
duce P4C techniques into their classrooms. A appropriately, has an impact on the entire tea-
second level is designed to increase the tea- ching profession and has implications in every
chers’ expertise and enable them to in turn area of child development, from cognitive and
train other teachers. 2) Local courses, organi- epistemic to psychological and interpersonal.
zed in conjunction with schools or associa- This places P4C at the centre of educational
tions, or regional education research institu- changes in Italy today, in particular because of
tes(77). These comprise fifty hours of training, recent reforms that focus on the principle of
inside and outside the classroom. 3) Advanced autonomy.
(77) Istituto Regionale Ricerca
courses are offered at the University of Padua.
Educativa (IRRE – ‘Regional The university’s research programme develo- Norway. The Children and Youth
Institute for Educational ped from a review of experimental P4C activi- Philosophers Centre (CYP)(81), a member of
(78) Antonio Cosentino (ed.),
ties and of the epistemic and methodological both ICPIC and SOPHIA, aims to spread know-
Filosofia e formazione: 10 anni di dimensions of P4C. In comparison with other ledge about philosophy (in general) and philo-
Philosophy for children in Italia similar analyses, the review highlighted the sophy with children (in particular), and to sti-
(1991–2001). Naples, Liguori,
2006. close connection between P4C and debates mulate children and youth to engage in philo-
(79) over philosophical practices and the role of sophical activities. CYP tries to achieve these
philosophical enquiry in developing skills for goals by arranging seminars and offering
(80) Published by Liguori.
thoughtful citizenship (notably during an consultation services for people who engage
(81) The CYP is a private company
owned by Ariane Schjelderup and international meeting held at the university in in philosophical practice with children and
Øyvind Olsholt. They were the first 2002 and a 2005 meeting at the Centro Studi youth, by facilitating dialogues with children
Norwegian philosophers to work
systematically with children, begin-
e Formazione Villa Montesca). There is a sizea- and youth, and by writing articles and sprea-
ning in 1997 and 1999. See ble body of literature in Italian on P4C, with ding information through the Web. CYP’s first
the reference being the Impariamo collection practical experience in P4C was carried out in
(82) Ariane Schjelderup, Filosofin
Sokrates, Platon og Aristoteles. published by Liguori in Naples, which includes two kindergartens in Oslo in 1997, where they
Oslo, Gyldendal, 2001; Øyvind teaching materials such as philosophical sto- began weekly dialogues with the children over
Olsholt and Harald Kr. Schjelderup,
Exphil03: en komplett guide. Oslo,
ries with accompanying teacher manuals – a period of two months. Since then CYP has
Universitetsforlaget, 2006. notably the volume Filosofia e formazione(78). initiated several further education programmes


Box 9
The challenges for philosophy for children in Norway

Scandinavian societies adhere strongly existential qualm that the IAPC seems to University. There is a worry that an ope-
to social democratic thinking where jus- use philosophical thinking as a mere tool ning up towards practice represents a
tice and equality are leading ideals. It is to achieve certain desirable (and exter- threat to the theoretical work already
quite natural for a Norwegian teacher to nal) ends : improved reading and writing, being done especially at the philosophi-
treat children with humility and respect – improved output in other subjects, open- cal institutes. Maybe something could
both important facets of Lipman's ness and friendliness, democratic attitu- be done on a governmental level? In
‘caring thinking’. On the other hand, the des etc. In this way philosophy loses Norway we now have a network group
image of philosophy as an esoteric art intrinsic value. Our activities are mostly whose objective is to gather the human
for the ‘inner circle’ still prevails with non institutional and we receive no gene- and institutional resources within the
many educators. This sometimes makes ral support or subsidies from the state. field of philosophy with children.
it difficult to introduce philosophy for This greatly limits the possible scope of Philosophy with children is still in its
children to new audiences. So, commu- our activities. This is the main reason eclectic stage in Norway. Teachers are
nity of enquiry in Scandinavia has its limi- why we have concentrated on other are- still busy trying out different practices
tations and advantages. nas (art institutions, philosophy clubs, and methods, searching and using diffe-
philosophy camps, etc.). There is a rent kinds of resources. We believe that
Over years of practise we have tried dif- great need for academic research in this teachers would welcome an open data-
ferent ways of preparing and facilitating field (philosophical and pedagogical). It base on the internet where they could
philosophical dialogue with different age is our impression that students of peda- exchange and comment upon each
groups and children from different back- gogy and philosophy are often open to other's material. Such a database must
grounds, but our main focus was and is test new ways of applying philosophical be open for everybody to view and
on the dialogue itself, we are still practice. If seminars were offered at uni- review. Academic background informa-
hesitant to introduce too many versity level, many students would pro- tion (theoretical considerations) and
‘pedagogical’ games and ‘tools’, i.e. to bably enrol. We need academics who research could, and should, be made
let the ‘orchestration’ of the dialogue practice philosophical methods, who available as an integral part of the data-
replace the dialogue itself. We do not can be the ‘bridge’ between Academy base’.
use Lipman's material, although we were and the work being done in schools and
greatly inspired by the curriculum when kindergartens. We offered to do this
we started to create our own material. ‘bridging’ effort at the University of Oslo, Ariane Schjelderup and Øyvind Olsholt,
We find his curriculum culturally foreign, but regrettably we never managed to founders of Children and Youth
bearing too much upon American culture organise it financially. There is resis- Philosophers – CYP
and world view. There has also been the tance at the institutional level in the (Norway)

in kindergartens. CYP also produces teaching ‘Veienmarka’ project, prepared for Norway’s
materials. In 1999 it published Filosofi i skolen, Ministry for Education in 2007, proposes (83)
by Ariane Schjelderup and Øyvind Olsholt, replacing a semester of the religion course (84) In late 2006, the CYP ran a
pilot project of weekly, one-hour
which was the first Norwegian textbook about with a course in philosophy for sixteen-year- philosophy classes for two tenth-
philosophy with children, and in 2006 it publi- old students(84). grade groups (sixteen year olds) at
the Veienmarka school in
shed ExphilO3, a textbook especially written Honefoss. Classes in religion were
for the preparatory course in philosophy that is Czech Republic.(85) At the University of South replaced by philosophy courses for
required for all new students at the University Bohemia, the Department of Philosophy and a six-month semester. The CYP
evaluated each student quantitati-
of Oslo(82). This book also contains teaching Religious Studies and the Department of vely, based on their individual
resources for Norway’s high-school subject on Education and Psychology have been working results within philosophy groups,
their written work and a final, oral,
religion, a subject that includes ethics and the in close cooperation on a P4C project. The group examination. Neither the
history of philosophy. It includes ethical dilem- project is officially supported by the university systematic replacement of classes
in religion by philosophical dialo-
mas, discussion plans, exercises and question- management, although people involved in it gues nor the quantitative evalua-
naires to accompany a multiplicity of religious have many other duties and responsibilities at tion of the students’ critical thin-
king had been undertaken before
and philosophical texts. In 2002, CYP started the university. The objectives of the project are: in Norway. Prior to this, from late
developing a website for teachers and pupils 1) to train student teachers, educators and 2005 through to early 2006, the
in primary and secondary schools. The site teachers to foster democracy in schools CYP had taken part in another
pilot project entitled `Who am I?'.
offers teaching material in the six main school through dialogue in education as well as fos- Its principal idea was that all stu-
subjects (Norwegian, English, Social Studies, tering critical, creative and caring thinking by dents at fifth, sixth and seventh
grades in the county of Ostfold (a
Religion, Mathematics and Natural Science) ‘converting classrooms into communities of total of approximately 10,000 stu-
accompanied by questions and exercises to philosophical enquiry’; 2) to research the pos- dents of ages ten to twelve years)
were to have a ninety-minute phi-
use in philosophical dialogues in the class- sible benefits of incorporating philosophy in losophical discussion with a profes-
room(83). The site aims to help pupils and tea- primary and secondary school curricula; and 3) sional philosopher. The conversa-
tions discussed topics related to
chers to discover philosophy as an integral part to research the possibilities of using philosophi- identity, timidity, history and know-
of all school subjects. The final report of CYP’s cal enquiry (philosophical dialogue) together ledge


practice. At about the same time a Centre for
Box 10 philosophical enquiry was established in
A foretaste of philosophy for children in Scotland Glasgow, where Dr Catherine McCall had
begun work with Scottish children and
Clackmannanshire school council, in above that of students who did not have parents. Her work was remarkably successful.
Scotland, is the first local authority in any training in philosophy. This has been McCall has recently begun running courses for
Britain to announce plans for philosophy maintained among those now in secon- primary teachers and is creating a new
lessons for children from the nursery to dary schools, despite no further formal
resource for ‘personal and social education’ in
secondary school level. Primary school exposure to philosophy. The council has
children in the region have already been been awarded a grant from the Scottish secondary schools, which is being widely
taught ‘philosophical enquiry’. This Executive, and plans to extend philoso- distributed. In England, within three years of
encourages what its creators call ‘gui- phy to secondary schools and nurseries. the founding of SAPERE, a three-level training
ded Socratic dialogue’ – by inviting chil-
dren to consider open-ended questions ‘Pupils to get a philosopher’s tone’.
structure for teachers was established, based
such as: ‘Is it ever OK to lie?’ A follow-up Maev Kennedy, The Guardian, on the model developed by Professor
study suggests that the IQ of the chil- 6 February 2007 Matthew Lipman. This training encourages
dren is now an average of 6.5 IQ points (United Kingdom) the ‘communities of enquiry’ approach, but it
encourages teachers to select materials them-
with games in working with children as a selves – often stories, but sometimes films,
means of education(86). In 2006, the same uni- pictures or works of art – that will stimulate
versity began to teach P4C as a complex philosophical questions and discussions. This
module of optional subjects at the Faculty of training structure has proved both popular
Theology, this module has also been officially and robust. In the twelve years or so of its exis-
recognized by the Faculty of Education and tence, over 10,000 teachers have passed
has resulted in a specialization certificate for through the basic, two-day training. About
future primary-school teachers. one in ten of these have proceeded to the
four-day Level-2 training, which is followed by
The university has also built up a network of action research and a written assignment, eva-
in-service teachers practicing P4C with their luating their own practice. P4C is still seen as
students. Outlooks for the near future include a leading approach to the development of
establishing official cooperation with ‘thinking skills’. Its capacity to stimulate crea-
educational institutions in which tive as well as critical thinking in young minds
teachers are interested in doing philosophy is continually being revealed in observations of
with children, carrying out further research practice. OFSTED, the national schools inspec-
into the function of philosophy as part of the tor, has unfailingly commended teachers and
primary school curriculum, extending coope- schools for incorporating P4C into their curri-
ration with Czech Scouting, and publicizing cula, even though it is still not officially requi-
and promoting P4C within the university and red. It is estimated that 2,000 to 3,000 schools
to the outside world. in England, Scotland and Wales have P4C in
their curriculum, and there is every reason to
United Kingdom. Prior to 1990, no primary suppose that this number will continue to
school in the United Kingdom offered philoso- grow significantly as the various national curri-
phy as part of their curriculum. There was, cula move further in the direction of skills-
however, a small group of educators, inclu- based learning and teaching. SAPERE is not
ding Robert Fisher, then director of the currently seeking for philosophical enquiry to
(85) Comments provided by Dr Thinking Skills Centre at Brunel University, be mandatory within the primary curriculum,
Petr Bauman, coordinator of the who were experimenting with P4C, and they but it is hopeful of increasing support for tea-
Filosofie Pro Deti project within the
Department of Education, Faculty received a considerable boost in 1990 when chers in their initial training, as well as in conti-
of Theology, at the University of the BBC produced an hour-long documentary nuing professional development. Perhaps
South Bohemia in Czech Republic,
about P4C, called ‘Socrates for 6 year olds’, there will soon be enough teachers with the
(86) Lipman’s novels and teaching which was seen by a wide audience. The skills themselves to justify a strong recommen-
manuals have been translated and documentary aroused great public interest in dation, if not requirement, that all schools
adapted to the Czech cultural
context and published in the series
P4C, which led to the founding in 1991 of a make provision for the philosophical
La Traversée, as have been the national charity, now based at Oxford Brookes education of the country’s youngest citizens(87).
books published by Laval University University, called SAPERE (Society for
(87) Overview by Roger Sutcliffe,
Advancing Philosophical Enquiry and
President of SAPERE and ICPIC. Reflection in Education) to promote the


Latin America and the Caribbean cular, at the Faculties of Philosophy and
Humanities of the University of Chile, the
Argentina. Experiments with P4C have University of Serena, and the University of
been carried out since 1989 in an indepen- Concepción, which intends to open a post-
dent school in Buenos Aires. The graduate programme in P4C. In various
Argentinean P4C Centre was created in secondary schools in Santiago de Chile and
1993 at the University of Buenos Aires. other parts of the country, P4C has been
Lipman’s programme has been translated introduced in the form of workshops based
and published in Argentina, as well as on the Lipman method and the research of
other textbooks and series. Chilean professors such as Olga Grau and
Experimentation remains predominantly Ana María Vicuña. In recent years, several
restricted to independent schools, although teacher education programmes have been
certain regional branches of the Education offered by Chilean universities, including
Department, such as that in the town of seminars on subjects such as ‘philosophy
Catamarca, support the introduction of and children’ or ‘philosophy and education’.
P4C experiments in other schools and the
training of teachers in these techniques. Colombia. P4C in Colombia follows almost
exclusively the Lipman programme, which
Brazil. The Brazilian Centre of P4C was has been translated and adapted for
created in 1989 in São Paulo(88). Thousands Colombian children. One of the teacher
of teachers have been trained there, manuals, the Suki manual, was rewritten by
learning the Lipman programme before the Colombian professor Diego Pineda to
introducing P4C in schools across the coun- incorporate works of South American lite-
try. There is also a large P4C centre in the rature. There is also training courses for
town of Florianopolis, which is developing teachers at various levels, as well as regio-
a course similar to that of Lipman and pro- nal and national meetings involving stu-
ducing P4C texts. A few universities have dents from eleven to thirteen years.
created sizeable projects to train teachers
and to further develop P4C: at the Mexico.(90) P4C was brought to Mexico by
University of Brasilia, for example, the Albert Thompson, a professor at Marquette
Filosofia na escola project is aimed at tea- University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and
chers and children from state-run Matthew Lipman, who came to teach it at
schools(89). Similar experiments are being Anahuac University, Mexico City in 1979. It
carried out at other universities: the has continued to expand in Mexico since
Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul the 1980s. Students in Education Sciences,
(Porto Alegre), the State University of Rio Philosophy and Psychology at Anahuac
de Janeiro, the Federal University of Juiz de University carry out research into P4C and
Fora, the Federal University of Fortaleza and administer the critical-thinking aptitude
still others. Some municipal branches of the tests developed by the University of New
Education Department – examples are Jersey in state and independent schools. In
those in Uberlândia (Minas Gerais), the 1990s, the Ibero-American University
Cariacica (Espírito Santo), El Salvador set up a programme called ‘Dialogue’,
(Bahia) and Ilheus (Bahia) – have initiated which trains teachers in the skills needed to
official projects to introduce philosophy at bring students into meaningful discussions
primary school. Overall, more than 10,000 and encourage them to interact with each
teachers and 100,000 children at state other using strategies such as the commu-
schools and independent schools have had nity of enquiry. P4C teaching materials
at least some experience with P4C. have been translated and adapted for Latin
American countries by the Latin American
Chile. The first P4C experiments in Latin Center for Philosophy for Children (CELA-
America, took place in Chile, in 1978, FIN), created in 1992 in San Cristóbal de las
when nuns of the Maryknoll order began Casas in Chiapas. CELAFIN has contributed
using the programme created by Matthew to the development of P4C in Costa Rica, in (88)
Lipman in several communities. In the Guatemala, and currently in Nicaragua and (89)

1990s, work on P4C in Chile was concen- Paraguay. There are ten P4C centres in (90) Overview by Michel Sasseville,
Professor of Philosophy at Laval
trated at a handful of universities: in parti- Mexico, all of which offer teacher-education University, Québec, Canada.


form the basis for democracy, tolerance for
Box 11 diversity and education for peace.
The introduction and development of philosophy for children in
Peru. Interest in P4C has increased consi-
I started to work in the field of philoso- cher training in P4C. I myself have direc- derably in Peru in the last ten years. Since
phy for children after having attended a ted several training courses in P4C in 2000, workshops have been carried out at
workshop in 1981 in New Jersey organi- Bogota and many other parts of the the Buho Rojo association(91). These works-
zed by Matthew Lipman, Ann Margaret country, as well as in Ecuador and in
hops use an adaptation of the Lipman
Sharp and teachers from several coun- Panama.
tries. For several years, the concept of Even though our starting point was the method, taking as a starting point the
P4C did not make any headway in Lipman programme, we did not stop novel Sophie's World(92), and participants
Colombia, and I worked alone on this there. I have written three texts that develop new teaching materials as part of
topic for seven or eight years. It is only focus on ethical problems. They are tit-
since 1999 that this movement has led: Checho y Cami (a short story to
Buho Rojo’s ‘Applied Philosophy’ project –
begun to be felt in Colombia, in the form introduce children of five to six years of the materials are later used in secondary
of two events: the publication of some age to critical thinking and philosophical schools(93). The children who benefit are
of the novels from Lipman’s original pro- dialogue); La pequeña tortuga (‘The mostly from low-income families who live
gramme, and the beginning, in just a few Little Turtle’ – a story that promotes ethi-
secondary schools in Bogota, of a cal reflection, in relation to issues in the in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.
somewhat systematic development of natural and environmental sciences) and
P4C. For our part, we have preferred to El miedo (‘Fear’ – a series of short sto- Uruguay. In cooperation with the working
act on a purely personal basis, rather ries written for primary-school children
group of the University of Buenos Aires,
than institutional. For some years now that introduce various ethical topics –
we have held regular meetings among justice, truth, cruelty, etc.). For each of work related to P4C began in the 1990s.
ourselves to develop a small network these texts, I have also prepared a cor- The Uruguayan Centre for Philosophy with
that we call `Lysis', in reference to the responding teacher’s handbook. My idea Children was founded in 1994. Several
young man who discusses with is to develop, in the medium term, a cur-
Socrates the significance of friendship. riculum for teaching children about
experiments have been carried out in
We have advanced quite a way in various ethics that has a philosophical outlook. schools in Uruguay, the most significant is a
areas, and this in spite of the limitations programme in operation at the Shangrila
specific to an underdeveloped country state school under the responsibility of
affected by serious economic, social Diego Antonio Pineda R. Soy, Associate
and political conflicts. I have translated Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, Marta Córdoba. P4C methods are also used
and adapted to the Colombian context Pontifical Xavierian University, Bogota in independent schools, for children from
the seven novels of Lipman’s pro- (Colombia) three to fifteen years of age. P4C has also
gramme. For the past eight years, we
been introduced in the Philosophy of
have also worked hard to promote tea- s/Filosofia/dpineda/pineda1.html
Education programme at Uruguay’s
teacher-education institutes.
courses; carry out research; and translate,
adapt or create teaching materials. Venezuela. The Caracas Centre for
Founded in 1993, the Mexican Federation Philosophy for Children, located at the
of Philosophy for Children meets each year Central University of Venezuela, has taken
in different parts of the country. Mexico is part in various research activities in
the only country in the world to have hos- conjunction with Spanish researchers. One
ted the ICPIC conference twice, at specific project focussed on children and
Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. P4C logic, and included a study carried out with
teaching materials were developed at the schoolchildren in Guarenas, Catia and
conferences for Mexico’s indigenous popu- Burbujitas, and with schoolteachers in
lation, which comprises sixty-four ethnic Chirimena.
groups and thousands of schoolchildren. In
Mexico City, the Ministry for Primary Asia and the Pacific
(91) Education has encouraged the develop-
(92) Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s Japan. Professor Takara Dobashi(94) and
World: A Novel about the History
ment of P4C for more than 10 years; it is
of Philosophy, translated from now part of the curriculum in over four Professor Eva Marsal(95) have worked intensi-
Norwegian by Paulette Moller. hundred pre-schools, primary schools and vely together since 2003 on an internatio-
London, Phoenix House, 1995.
secondary schools in the region, in rural as nal research project, ‘Das Spiel als
(94) Department of Learning well as urban areas. Some schools require Kulturtechnik’, part of which concerns P4C.
Science, Graduate School of that teachers complete 150 hours of trai- In August 2006, the German-Japanese
Education, Hiroshima University
ning in P4C. Most of the schools involve Research Initiative on Philosophizing with
(95) University of Education,
Karlsruhe, Germany believe that P4C offers children a chance to Children (DJFPK), a cooperative research
(96) For more on the DJFPK, see develop their critical thinking and to have effort based at the Karlsruhe University of
the case study on Germany. practical experience with the values that Education(96). The goal of their work is to


create a solid theoretical base for P4C, with the IAPC. According to professor
drawing on Western philosophers such as Hashim, the objective of the CPIE is to res-
Socrates, Hume, Goethe, Rousseau, Kant tore the philosophical spirit of research and
and Nietzsche, and on the Eastern philoso- intellectual rigour as called for in the Koran.
phers Takaji Hayashi, Shûzô Kuki and the
pedagogue Toshiaki Ôse. Marsal and The objective of the CPIE is to become
Dobashi reconstructed P4C as archetypical known as a centre for the development and
play (Urspiel), based on Plato, Nietzsche practice of philosophical education, with an
and Hiuzinga, and as archetypical science aim of producing individuals equipped with
(Urwissenschaft), based on Socrates and good judgement skills. The CPIE intends to
Hayashi’s theory of clinical pedagogy(97). The offer to all the possibility to understand and
classroom approach combines the clinical appreciate Islamic thinking and educational
approach to teaching of Hayashi with the philosophy, and its practice, and in particu-
didactic theory of the German professor lar its connection to truth, knowledge,
Ekkehard Martens (especially his concept of moral values, wisdom, and logical and criti-
a ‘Five-Finger Method’)(98), and with cal thought, so as to develop good judge-
Lipman’s concept of a ‘community of ment and be able to discuss ethical ques-
enquiry’(99). tions in a rational way. The centre’s activi-
ties include: 1) providing training in philo-
One of the principal interests of the project sophical research, the community of
is to establish intercultural comparisons enquiry and democratic processes for
between the anthropological concepts of school and university students, as well as
children in Japanese and German primary for teachers, professors and the public; 2)
schools. Dobashi reformulated the collaborating with schools, the Ministry for
Japanese lessons of teachers Takeji Hayashi Education and other educational establish-
and Toshiaki Ôse, then reproduced them in ments to introduce philosophy program-
a German context to examine cultural diffe- mes in schools; 3) developing modules on
rences and similarities between the anthro- Islamic philosophy to be used in schools, in
pological concepts of primary school chil- educational institutions and in the P4C pro-
dren in the two countries. For the project, gramme; 4) conducting research on philo-
Marsal and Dobashi reproduced Takeji sophy in education, Islamic educational
Hayashi’s P4C lesson based on the riddle of thought and other related subjects; 5)
the sphinx from Homer’s Odyssey(100). In publishing Malayan educational materials;
2006, thirty-five years after Hayashi origi- 6) organizing local and international confe-
nally gave the lesson to a third-grade class rences; and 7) organizing courses on philo-
at the Tsubonuma primary school in Japan sophy for schools and philosophical
on 3 July 1971, Hayashi’s pictorial material research for the public. In terms of instruc- (97) Takeji Hayashi, considered the
and questionnaire were again used to sti- tional materials, the CPIE uses a selection of leading contemporary ‘child philo-
sopher’ in Japan, applied this
mulate philosophical thinking in a third- Lipman’s stories. At first these were transla- concept in his primary-school les-
grade class at Peter Hebel primary school in ted for use during the experimental stage. son ‘What is a human being?’.
Karlsruhe, Germany. This approach allowed Today, however, following a shift in the lan- (98) The five fingers represent five
types of questions : 1) phenome-
them, through qualitative research guage policy in Malaysia towards English, nological, 2) hermeneutic, 3) ana-
methods, to compare how Japanese and Lipman’s original texts are used, localized lytical, 4) dialectical and 5) specu-
German children structure their arguments, for use in Malaysia by translating names,
(99) Professors Dobashi and Marsal
and to compare the contents of their foods and festivals, etc., to ones more reco- have also edited together two
dialogues. gnizable by local children. Even if new issues of the journal, Kärlsruher
Padagogische Beiträge, on the
resources were created in the future, such subject of innovative teaching and
Malaysia. In 2006, the Institute of as stories and materials with more connec- learning techniques (No. 62 and
Education of the International Islamic tion to Malayan culture, professor Hashim No. 63, 2006).
(100) The riddle of the Sphinx,
University of Malaysia was given the univer- says there is little in Lipman’s stories that posed to Oedipus, asked: ‘Which
sity’s consent to set up a Centre for can be regarded as shocking from a moral creature in the morning goes on
Philosophical Inquiry in Education (CPIE). point of view. The CPIE also uses the ‘com- four feet, at noon on two, and in
the evening upon three?’ It refers
The CPIE is the second centre of this type in munity of enquiry’ method. The activities of at once to our diachronic identity
Malaysia; the Centre for Philosophy for the CPIE are entirely situated outside of the and to our identity as Homo faber
– humans as ‘makers’, technologi-
Children in Malaysia was also created by formal school curriculum . According to cal animals who control their envi-
professor Rosnani Hashim and is affiliated professor Hashim, attempts to talk with the ronment by constructing tools.


Ministry of Education have so far not been here, along with the school’s role in their
successful. Philosophy is still not taught as education, the place of reason in early lear-
a school subject in primary or secondary ning and the function of philosophy in all
schools in Malaysia. Neither is taught at this.
Universities as a field of study: it is taught
as philosophy of education, of science etc., This study does not claim to be an inven-
but there is no Department of Philosophy. tory of all of the research undertaken in the
world on the practice of philosophy at pri-
Africa and the Arab States mary school: feasibility studies, trial pro-
grammes, case-studies and observation,
According to our research and the respon- teacher-training studies and experimenta-
ses to the UNESCO questionnaire, virtually tion, and university studies – especially
no P4C initiatives appear to have been those within the IAPC and ICPIC networks.
instigated in schools in the region of Africa It attempts instead to furnish the reader
and the Arab states – or if they have, they with a broad range of information and
have yet to be publicized via the Internet or questions based on the current state of P4C
in journal articles. throughout the world today. There is a
large body of research on these issues – this
In Africa, there is very little activity in the can be explained by the innovative nature
area of P4C, apart from the work of a of P4C in the history of philosophy tea-
handful of academics at three African uni- ching and the many implications of these
versities: Kenyatta University, Kenya (in the new practices, which lead us to rethink our
Department of Philosophy)(101) ; the Institute understandings of childhood, philosophy,
of Ecumenical Education, Nigeria(102); and philosophers, the teaching of philosophy,
the University of the Western Cape, South and learning to philosophize. Also, because
Africa (in the Faculty of Education and the so many academics, in particular philoso-
Centre for Cognitive and Career phers, have invested a great effort in analy-
Education)(103). zing and advancing these practices, which
were first introduced thirty-five years ago.
There seems to be no P4C centres at all in
the Arab states, and if any activities in this
area exist, they have not been publicized;
the region seems to be a blind spot as far
as P4C is concerned, which is an issue that
needs to be looked into. However, many of
the essential questions that this area raises
were heavily debated by Arab philosophers
of the Middle Ages, and this debate conti-
nues today, in particular concerning the
(101) Contact: Prof. Benson K. relationship between faith and reason – cri-
Wambari. tical to the design of education systems
(102) Contacts: Dr Stan Anih and
Father Felix Ugwuozo.
and the practice of teaching children. The
(103) Contacts: Prof. Lena Green social status of children and their status
and Prof. Willie Rautenbach. within the school system come into play


Conclusion: From what is desirable to what is possible
The pre-school and primary levels of education valuable research has been and continues
are determinant, because these are the to be carried out on the philosophical, peda-
years in which habits of creative and critical gogic and didactic implications of these
thinking are instilled in children. practices and their effects on children.
Encouraged by the body of research related
to this area, especially in the fields of There remains, obviously, a long way to go
developmental cognitive and social psycho- to develop these practices throughout the
logy, and in the language and education world. But this is not to propose for a
sciences, the analysis of philosophy for moment that a universal, exportable model
children presented here is based on the would be either possible or appropriate.
presumption that it is possible to learn to This would be to ignore the diversity of
philosophize from a very young age, and situations, the plurality of cultural contexts,
that this is, in fact, strongly desirable for and the variety of education systems and
philosophical, political, ethical and educational their objectives. A plurality of practices and
reasons. a diversity of pedagogical and didactic
approaches throughout the world is highly
This survey of P4C throughout the world desirable, because philosophy itself is
shows the great progress that has been greatly diverse. A great variety of strategies
made in many countries with regard to are advanced here, and the best among
introducing philosophical teaching practi- them are precisely those that welcome the
ces for children from the ages of three to richness that such differences offer.
twelve years, and developing corresponding
training programmes for teachers. Much


Copyright : Jérémie Dobiecki

Teaching philosophy in secondary education
The age of questioning

Introduction: The different aspects of philosophy in secondary education 48
Methodology 49
I. The presence of philosophy in schools: 51 - 66
Some controversies X
1) The spread and removal of philosophy teaching in schools 51
2) Teaching philosophy through other subjects 53
3) The dynamic between secondary level and university 57
4) Training for secondary-school philosophy teachers 57
5) Observed reforms: To what end? 61

II. Suggestions to reinforce the teaching 67 - 74
of philosophy at secondary level X
1) The construction of the critical mind: The cognitive, affective and social subject 67
2) Theoretical and historical approaches to teaching 68
3) Further promoting the teaching of philosophy at secondary level 71
4) Interactions between philosophy and other disciplines 72
> An interdisciplinary approach: philosophy and physics – the application of mathematics
> An interdisciplinary approach: philosophy and biochemistry
> An interdisciplinary approach: philosophy and music
> An interdisciplinary approach: philosophy and visual arts

III. Taking stock: Institutions and practices 75 - 90
1) The diversity of school systems around the world 75
2) Teaching methods and practices around the world: Case studies 76
> Latin America and the Caribbean
> Africa
> Asia and the Pacific
> Europe and North America
> The Arab World
3) Other examples of initiatives at national and international levels 89

IV. Philosophy at the secondary level: A few figures 91
Conclusion: Philosophy during adolescence: A force for creative change 93
Copyright : Jérémie Dobiecki


Introduction: The different aspects of philosophy
in secondary education

It is not the goal of this chapter to offer a to be based on the illusion (found also at
repertory of philosophical curricula around the the university level) that a better training of
world. Such a project would be quite useless. the mind can be obtained by focusing on
The teaching of philosophy today cannot be substantive content than on developing
reduced to a series of curricula, official students’ critical abilities. It is as though a
programmes, or teaching annuities. As the structure based on education as developing
teaching of philosophy is a considerable issue students’ logical faculties – their free judge-
in most educational systems, it seems wiser to ment, their critical thinking – has been
approach the question from the angle of the replaced by a concept of teaching as des-
problems that it raises; the sometimes tempo- igned to persuade – of education as serving
rary, sometimes longer-term solutions found as a vector of key ideas that students are
to such problems; and the accommodations supposed to uncritically absorb. Yet the
that these generate. capacity to criticize all ideas, even those
held to be just – in other words, the capa-
The different aspects of teaching philosophy city to rebel – is an essential element in the
to adolescents reflect the difficulties posed by intellectual training of young people. An
this discipline and the concerns it raises among obedient citizen may well be a good citi-
administrators, teachers and students alike. zen, but he or she will also be able to be
Several recent case studies are presented here; manipulated – and is also likely some day to
these are intended to function more as take up positions other than only the career
situations particularly representative of the that he or she has trained for.
questions we’re addressing than as examples
to be followed. But can a general survey of the Other elements provide room for optimism.
position of philosophical education at the Throughout the world, communities of tea-
secondary level be absolved of such a task? It chers and pedagogical specialists are
is hard to say. Sometimes philosophy’s place playing an increasingly active role in promo-
seems to be shifting towards the universities; ting philosophy teaching and in opening up
sometimes it seems to be gaining new ground to larger networks the debate over tea-
within school systems. It should perhaps be ching methods and practice that arises in
noted that philosophy appears more and some form or another almost daily. In this
more to be treated as a technical discipline chapter we will look at examples of tea-
and so tends to be taught within specialized or chers’ associations banding together in
even vocational courses, although it is gene- protest against the cutting of class time for
rally subordinated to other subjects – such as philosophy, or to discuss cultural issues in
civic education or different forms of religious the teaching of ethics in their country, and
instruction, –when it comes to teaching youn- successfully proposing curricula reforms.
ger students. There is a strong tendency to These contributions are of immense value,
(1) Roger-François Gauthier, The attribute a growingly functional aspect to and they have a key place among
Content of Secondary Education
around the World: Present Position secondary education in general. This direc- UNESCO’s concerns with regard to secon-
and Strategic Choices. Paris, tion is visible not only in the proliferation of dary education and the place of philosophy
UNESCO, 2006 (in the series:
Secondary Education in the
technical subjects in secondary schools; within it(1).
Twenty-First Century). This study even the humanities are tending to lend
presents an analysis of the content
of secondary education around the
increased value to functional subject
world and shows how questions of matters. In the higher levels of secondary
content – long ignored or judged school – the levels in which the teaching of
to be self-evident – are in fact stra-
tegically important to the success philosophy has historically had a place – the
of educational policies. It draws training of the mind is sometimes delega-
the attention of decision-makers
and educational experts to the ted to disciplines oriented towards action,
enormous scope and importance such as the social sciences or political
of the subject, and argues it must
be treated clearly, methodically
affairs. There is nothing in itself that is to be
and consensually. deplored in this tendency, even if it seems


In producing a report on the teaching of add to the steadily weakening relation bet-
philosophy at the secondary level around ween secondary education, universities and
the world, it is useful to ask what place the research, whereas these three levels should be
finished product is intended to occupy mutually reinforcing one another.
among the mass of information available Another question essential for understanding
via specialized publications, networks of the malaise that philosophy in schools is
experts, official documents and of course confronted with today is illustrated by the
the Internet. In preparing this study, it extreme variety of practices included under
became rapidly apparent that it could not the umbrella of ‘the teaching of philosophy’.
be conceived as simply an analytical The data received during the course of this
directory of practices in use in different study suggest there is a dichotomy between
countries. By choosing a report form over a philosophy’s presence as a taught subject and
compilation of contributions, as was the the inclusion of philosophical concepts or
case for the Teaching and Research in ideas across other subjects. It is almost custo-
Philosophy Throughout the World(2) series in mary for reform movements aiming to reduce
the 1980s, we have, however, indicated that classroom hours in philosophy to claim inspira-
one principal goal of this study is the systema- tion from the philosophical nature of other
tic identification of existing practices. But our existing or proposed subjects – most often
intention is not to simply study the teaching of classes in ethics, civics or religious education.
philosophy in secondary schools on a country- Conversely, it happens just as often that other
by-country basis, but to isolate and compare subjects allied with more political or sectarian
the principal forms and modes in which this doctrines are levered into place in the name of
teaching is carried out worldwide. To succeed philosophy.
in this endeavour, a basic hypothesis was pro- This chapter also includes an overview of the
posed from the start: at the secondary level, major forms that secondary education systems
the direction that philosophical education around the world can be grouped into. This
takes stems as much from the philosophical indicates that philosophy has its privileged pla-
content taught as from any inclusion of philo- ces – the higher levels of secondary school –
sophical ideas or skills within other disciplines but that it is far from restricted to them. On
in the school curricula. To put it differently, the the contrary, in certain situations we can see a
overall presence of philosophy in schools must reallocation of philosophy from the higher
be considered. levels of secondary schools to more technically
A report such as this is a labour of synthesis, oriented schools. This chapter examines the
and as such provides a solid foundation from different practices used in these types of tea-
which to develop future actions. From the ching, their scope and the different definitions
outset, several key issues were raised in or objectives assigned to them. To this end we
constructing this report. First, the question of have taken a close look at several examples
the presence of philosophy in schools. A crisis that appear particularly representative of the
of philosophy must be noted in this regard, for major questions in connection with the tea-
the general tendency today is unquestionably ching of philosophy at secondary level, and
towards decline – and there are multiple the challenges it must confront. These real-life
reasons for this. There will be no question in examples also bring into question the rela-
this chapter of trying to hide philosophy’s tionship between the teaching of philosophy
somewhat tarnished image. Yet, in a context and local cultural traditions, as well as the
in which schools are expected to demonstrate choices that must be made between different
a closer connection to the real, and current, pedagogical paradigms.
world, philosophy is not always seen as parti-
(2) Daya Krishna, Teaching and
cularly relevant. This malaise of philosophy, In addition to questioning the pertinence of Research in Philosophy: Asia and
which goes beyond just the question of its these practices, this chapter proposes several the Pacific. Paris, UNESCO, 1986.
Also, Teaching and Research in
presence in schools, is coupled with the fragile avenues of reflection. The relationship bet- Philosophy: Africa. Paris, UNESCO,
status of teachers at the secondary level – ween secondary school and university – a 1984. (Numbers 2 and 1 in the
series, Studies on Teaching and
and philosophy teachers in particular. burning issue for the contemporary tea- Research in Philosophy Throughout
Difficulties that teacher-training systems face ching of philosophy – is also broached. the World.)


This is supported by a number of more- for this study, have filled an important gap,
specifically pedagogical suggestions. however, by updating the available data on
philosophy teaching throughout the world.
In the first place, there appear to be two The questionnaire has not only provided a
major approaches to the teaching of philo- country-by-country analysis of the teaching
sophy in secondary schools, which corres- of philosophy, but through the respon-
pond historically to the two-sided nature of dents’ comments and suggestions it has
philosophical research. On the one hand, also provided feedback in the form of living
there is the theoretical or logical approach images of how the evolution of educational
to philosophical problems – which places systems is perceived and lived out by its
the accent on rational analysis and the participants. As one respondent wrote with
development of students’ logical and intel- reference to Spain, ‘any hypothesis to do
lectual faculties through exercises in thin- with the real work of the philosophy tea-
king and practical work on theoretical cher in the classroom can only come from
issues. On the other hand there is the impressions obtained through contact with
historical approach to the teaching of colleagues’. Thus the answers to UNESCO’s
philosophy – in which this is understood as 2007 questionnaire represent an essential
a presentation and reflection on the contribution to the series of studies in this
contents of the ‘philosophical tradition’ or field that have been carried out by UNESCO
canon. since the 1950s.

Secondly, it seemed appropriate to look not Diotime-L’Agorà(3), an international review of
only at the benefits but also the limitations didactics of philosophy, has also provided a
of the teaching of philosophy in schools. At very rich source of information for this pro-
(3) A quarterly review founded
a time when teaching is going through ject, particularly as concerns case studies
in 1999, Diotime-L’Agorà has been marked transformations, it would be too from around the world. Finally, we have
published solely in electronic simple to sing the praises of philosophy explored the aims and impact of the most
format since issue No. 19
of November 2003. Edited without looking at the question of its notable reforms in this area.
by Michel Tozzi, a professor pedagogical utility, its function, and the
at the University of Montpellier III
in France, Diotime is published limits on its teaching. Yet there is a serious
on-line by the Centre Régional lack of studies and of recent data here. The
de Documentation Pédagogique
of the Academy of Montpellier –
present study, and the responses to the UNESCO questionnaire used to collect data


I. The presence of philosophy in schools:
Some controversies
1) The spread and removal of philosophy teaching in schools
Should we be speaking of a crisis of phi- Nonetheless, the situation is not entirely
losophy in secondary education? The negative. The cases of Morocco and
term seems inappropriate if we take into Tunisia, and to a degree Brazil, show that
account the diversity of trends at the awareness of the importance of philoso-
international level, trends that cannot be phy can reach the level of politics. In
reduced to negative or positive signs of Ireland, where philosophy is absent from
trouble. In many circumstances, pressure schools, it is nonetheless credited with
to improve the status of technical, busi- the capacity to ‘create an active and
ness, or applied academic subjects have enlightened citizen’. A Belgian corres-
led to a reduction and even cancelling of pondent sees philosophical education as
philosophy classes in schools. In other a means for opening minds to ‘global
cases, cultural or political resistance have citizenship through philosophy’. In Chile,
discouraged a more substantial presence emphasis is placed on philosophy’s social
of the discipline. Certain countries, such function – of ‘guiding adolescents in
as Belgium, seem to wish to preserve a issues concerning their sexuality, the
balance between the teaching of secta- dangers of taking drugs, and subjects of
rian and secular or non-sectarian ethics, a psychological nature’. In Nigeria, a
while at the same time considering the ‘strengthening of values’ is put forward
opportunity to double up or even replace in support of philosophy teaching.
these with actual philosophy courses. Debates, proposals and suggestions for
Elsewhere, as respondents from several change regularly arise, bearing witness
African countries have informed us, the to the energetic commitment of philoso-
difficulties tied to university-level philo- phy teachers around the world, and to
sophy instruction are having an effect on their devotion to the field itself. The
teacher-training, contributing to a dimi- lively discussions around recent changes
nished interest in philosophy on the part to teaching hours within Québec’s
of students. Moreover, the almost consti- CEGEPS (Collèges d’enseignement géné-
tutional absence of philosophy in secon- ral et professionnel, or ‘General and
dary education in English-speaking coun- Vocational Teaching Colleges’) system
tries should be noted. At the very best it show that, even when faced with reduc-
is available as an option, which is the tions in the number of hours taught, or
case in the United Kingdom and in cer- even the elimination of philosophy alto-
tain schools in North America. In gether, the teaching community is capa-
Cambodia we are told that ‘a few years ble of organizing itself in response. The
ago the Ministry of Education withdrew many teachers’ associations and journals
philosophy from the primary and secon- of philosophical pedagogy, and the
dary curricula’. In the Republic of development of remarkable events such
Moldova, philosophy courses in secon- as the Philosophy Olympiads(4), are all
dary schools have been replaced by clas- signs of a vitality that should be encou-
ses in civics and law. These courses are raged and supported. In particular, the
taught by non-philosophers, while the idea of creating associations of philoso-
course in general philosophy is optional phy teachers where none currently exist,
and is excluded from the final three years and of their coordination at the interna-
of secondary school. In the Russian tional level, could substantially bolster
Federation, philosophy is not taught at philosophy’s standing in different school
the secondary level. systems. (4) See Chapter IV.


What are the main reasons for this visible cultural pedagogy, the material
resistance to an increased presence of conveyed can easily appear to students
philosophy in secondary education? It and teachers alike to be abstract and
would seem that pressure for increased stripped of concrete relevance to their
scientific and technical training is some- culture. On this point, it should be noted
times, and wrongly, accompanied by a that, while there were a great many res-
devaluation of the humanities. ponses to this section of the UNESCO
Philosophy is often the first to be sacrifi- survey, it was received with almost com-
ced in such unfavourable environments, plete silence by respondents from Asian
with literature and history generally countries. A single Indian respondent
being more solidly anchored in the local wrote, very soberly, that ‘Gandhi is deba-
cultural identity. Philosophy is often vie- ted’, and two respondents from Thailand
wed as a foreign – or frankly, Western – stressed the links between
subject. In this respect it should be philosophy, Buddhism and religion. In
emphasized that the trend towards a Africa, on the other hand, there were a
general ‘technicalizing’ of secondary lot of responses. For example, a teacher
education is often part of a politics of from Botswana writes that ‘this is a new
national affirmation in which the quest subject and the majority of our senior
for economic growth is accompanied by lecturers were educated in the Western
a reaffirmation of national identity. philosophical tradition. Thus they do not
Another trend that needs to be taken necessarily have an equal regard for
into account is that of a persistent and other traditions’. In Côte d'Ivoire, philo-
animated dialectic between philosophy sophy teaching depends essentially on
teaching (seen as synonymous with free Western textbooks, with local thinkers
thinking) and religious ethics. The recent almost entirely ignored. The same occurs
reforms in the Spanish educational sys- in Niger, where ‘the inadequacy of peda-
tem are at least partly a result of the gogical training and the absence of
progressive secularization of the system, resources for community-based training
and directly bolster the place of philoso- is a handicap in this field. Teachers have
phy in schools. The situation in Belgium difficulty relating African cultures and
is similar, though the positions are rever- the pertinent African or Africanist
sed. A Swedish correspondent, in answe- authors to philosophy’. And yet, the
ring UNESCO’s survey, notes ‘enormous Central African Republic offers a course
resistance to the teaching of philosophy, in African philosophy, in which African
manifested primarily by many of the authors are studied in comparison with
country’s religious groups’. It is worth Western authors, while in Madagascar
keeping in mind that this dialectic can be ‘the course in Malagasy philosophy has
presented in many different ways, and been cancelled because they considered
that claims for both an increased and a it to be already covered in the
reduced position for philosophy in Madagascan course’. In Algeria, there is
secondary education can be made by ‘a strong presence of Arab philosophers
opposing sides and for opposing such as El Farabi, Ibn Sina, Ibn Roshd, El
reasons. Djabiri, and Hassan Hanafi’ in course
content. In Jamaica ‘at university we
A particularly delicate question that teach the ideas of Garvey, CLR James,
must be approached with appropriate Nettleford and Orlando Patterson’. In
caution concerns the relationship bet- New Zealand there is ‘growing attention
ween traditional cultures and philosophy being paid to indigenous philosophies
instruction. A teacher from Bangladesh, and ethical systems, though they are not
in responding to the UNESCO survey, associated with specific philosophers’.
writes that ‘our culture is Oriental, but at More often the preponderant influence
the secondary level only Western, of the history of Western philosophy is
Aristotelian logic is taught’. The teacher acknowledged (Cameroon), there is a
has raised a significant issue here. For habit of referring almost exclusively to
even though the training of the critical the European tradition (Argentina), and
mind cannot be reduced to an ethical or the bulk of the curriculum focuses on


Greek, Medieval European, and modern constitute but meagre contributions to
English, German, and French philosophy even an introductory education in philo-
(Chile). In Paraguay, during the last two sophy. Supplementing classroom training
years of secondary school there is a with free reading is also an essential
‘consolidation of the Western cultural element of a successful education, in
heritage’. The protection of a cultural philosophy as in other subjects. It would
heritage must avoid any weakening of fit perfectly naturally into UNESCO’s
identity. Philosophy should not serve as a priorities in this field to establish a pro-
training vector for the transmission of a gramme addressing this deficit of mate-
body of values. On the contrary, it should rials. Let us note in closing what
remain an open form of education that Professor Carmen Zavala wrote in 2005,
aims to train the critical mind – critical of in addressing the low esteem in which
knowledge as opposed to passively philosophy is often held by philosophers.
absorbing it. In Venezuelan schools we She speaks of ‘the view, widely held
see, particularly at the university level, among contemporary philosophers,
that ‘in the majority of schools, the sub- according to which philosophy serves
ject ‘Latin-American and Venezuelan and should serve no purpose’, conti-
Philosophy’ is an option (where it exists nuing; ‘In Peru this view divides into two
at all). It is only recently that it has principal branches. The first, maintained
become mandatory in a few schools’. by the Ministry of Education, consists in
Note also that a correspondent from supporting the notion that philosophy is
Mauritius, where philosophy is taught a Western mode of expression that we in
through the last four years of secondary Peru can and should ignore. Just as we
school, finds that ‘Hinduism is taught should in general abandon the illusion of
expressly in order to preserve and pro- progress because it is a Western myth.
mote cultural values’. Yet another This second branch of this view is pro-
Mauritian adds that the point of tea- moted by the Consejo Nacional de
ching philosophy in the island’s schools is Ciencia y Tecnología, the National
to ‘preserve the ancestral culture and Science and Technology Council
traditions’ and to ‘know their cultural (CONCYTEC). It critiques the possibility
ethos’. Another problem in many schools of any truly scientific knowledge,
is that of providing students with access arguing that knowledge is itself merely a
to the texts or libraries that would totalizing discourse that serves to justify
enable teachers to integrate the official the society in which it operates. In this
curricula into the school. While there are view, philosophy is held, like literature,
important differences by country, region to be able at best to suggest new ways
(urban or rural) and type of establish- to approach questions. This point of
ment (state or independent), it would view is backed up by a campaign to
appear that students only rarely have merge the teaching of philosophy and of
access to books and philosophy reviews literature. That is to say, to remove the
and that, when they do, these collec- specialization in philosophy from the
tions are often out of date and country’s state-run universities’(5).

2) Teaching philosophy through other subjects
(5) Carmen Zavala, ‘Repensando el
The animated debate over philosophy the history of philosophy teaching in para qué y el cómo de la filosofía’.
instruction in secondary school that has French-speaking Belgium, the introduc- communication presented at the
National Congress of Philosophy in
been going on in Belgium for some tion of a non-denominational ethics Peru, 2005.
decades seems to us to be representative course in Belgian schools occurred in the (6) Véronique Dortu, « Histoire belge
of the tensions between philosophy, reli- context of an old rivalry between des cours philosophiques »,
in Diotime-L’Agorà, 21, 2004.
gion, and ethics. It reflects a dialectic Catholic establishments and secularizing
between sectarian and non-sectarian forces(6). Introducing a course in secular (7) Ibid.
education that is also to be found in ethics was supposed to create a balance (8) Entre-Vues, Revue trimestrielle
Spain, for example. As Professor with religious education, which had long pour une pédagogie de la morale,
48/49 and 50, 2001. Belgium.
Véronique Dortu reminds us in outlining been considered the sole carrier of morality


and civics. The Pacte Scolaire, written At a strictly pedagogical level, such
into law in 1959 and subsequently revi- ethics courses present three immediate
sed to include references to Islam and to difficulties. The first is inherent to the
Orthodoxy, has brought about the follo- very nature of the field of ethics, in that
wing situation: ‘In official as well as in it exerts a constant pressure to move
pluralist primary and secondary institu- away from logic and epistemology, as
tions, the weekly calendar includes two well as from any systemic review, even a
hours of religion and two hours of summary one, of the history of philoso-
ethics. In subsidized, sectarian indepen- phy’s principal ideas. Secondly, as Dortu
dent schools, the weekly calendar includes underlines: ‘So-called “philosophical”
two hours of instruction in the corres- courses are no longer subject to final
ponding religion. By religious instruction evaluation. But in the students’ eyes, a
is meant instruction of a religion course with no final exam is an unimpor-
(Catholic, Protestant, Judaic, Islamic, or tant course. So it is not taken seriously,
Orthodox) and of the moral code inspi- and the rumour quickly spreads that not
red by that religion. By ethical instruction much of anything happens in it. Having
is meant instruction in non-sectarian taught ethics for four years in various
ethics’(7). The main arguments for and different institutions, at every grade level
against replacing these ‘philosophical’ and in every stream, I can attest to this.
courses with an actual course in philoso- In every new class, the same problem
phy have been developed in two special appears: convincing the students of the
issues of the Belgian journal of ethics utility of the course and the importance
teaching, Entre-Vues(8). At the social and of applying themselves to it’(10). Thirdly,
cultural levels, the coexistence of courses most accounts indicate that, because of
of a sectarian nature with ethics courses the special nature of these courses –
of a secular or non-sectarian nature gives which are more concerned with counter-
cause for concern about a weakening of balancing sectarian ethics than with
republican equality in favour of maintai- occupying an independent position in
ning ‘moral communities’ tied to reli- the school curriculum – non-specialized
gious, sectarian identity. According to teachers are generally called upon to
Professor Dortu: ‘the Pacte Scolaire has teach the discipline. This aspect seems to
only reinforced the isolation of these be an offshoot of a differentiation
networks, and in according absolute among educational zones. Referring
legitimacy to the coexistence of ethics again to Dortu: ‘No specific qualifica-
and religion classes, it has locked out any tions are required to teach ethics or reli-
possibility of doing things differently. gion. While those with degrees in philo-
There is no immediate interest in the sophy or romance philology or history
idea of creating a philosophy course’(9). are often given priority, it is not uncom-
The situation in Flemish Belgium, howe- mon to come across teachers with
ver, has evolved such that since 1989, degrees from other faculties, sometimes
students in the life sciences stream take even working without teaching aids. The
a course in ‘Philosophical Currents’ (wijs- two hours of ethics or religious studies
gerige strommingen). This is one of the are very often the time slots that nobody
reasons that so many practitioners have wants’(11). However, the report on inclu-
felt pushed to speak of a second-best ding more philosophy in education
solution in the form of a combined (Introduction de davantage de philoso-
course on sectarian and secular ethics. phie dans l’enseignement), delivered to
This suggests that the desire for seculari- the Parliament of the French Community
sation had led to countering sectarian of Belgium in November 2000 by Deputy
ethics courses (containing the essence of Bernadette Wynants, confirms that
religious education) with mirror-image ‘there is an almost perfect consensus on
courses in which non-sectarian ethics the need to introduce more philosophy
(9) Dortu, op cit. would be taught. But these courses seem in education’, with differences of opi-
(10) Ibid. to have blocked the path to any ulterior nion concerning only the means of
(11) Ibid. introduction of a course in philosophy achieving this and the relationship bet-
(12) itself. ween philosophy courses and courses in


religious ethics. This follows a report by religion. This dynamic seems to be parti-
a 1992 ad hoc commission, the Sojcher cularly active within Europe. While one
Report, that outlines in detail the current German teacher notes that ‘only those
debate in Belgium, and deserves to be who are not taking religious instruction
read in its entirety(12). It contains, notably, are required to choose philosophy or
an accusation that schools are inadequa- ethics in place of religious studies’, ano-
tely preparing youth to live in a pluralis- ther adds that in the same Land (state),
tic society, and insufficiently developing ‘this subject is called ‘Ethics’ or ‘Values
their critical thinking. Philosophy is posi- and Norms’, and a third acknowledges
ted as an answer to these deficiencies or that ‘one must admit that many teachers
gaps, in that it teaches students skills in of religious studies also display conside-
analysis and argumentation. The Sojcher rable expertise in philosophy’. In Finland,
Report argues for a cross-disciplinary “Ethics and the Philosophy of Life’ is an
approach that would examine the alternative subject for students who are
various concepts underlying each disci- not members of a church. In Ireland,
pline taught, and also promotes suppor- during the last years of secondary educa-
ting the social studies as a group – these tion - sixth and seventh level - named
ideas amount to a transformation and State religion syllabus, which includes
decompartmentalization of philosophy ethics, has a strong orientation towards
courses so that they provide a true edu- the study of philosophy. In Luxembourg,
cation in ethical pluralism. The ideal of moral education is taught by philosophy
philosophy teaching is defined as a trai- professors, while in Lithuania, philoso-
ning in philosophical questioning that phy is taught within their ethics courses.
crosses disciplinary boundaries. Such a In Estonia, philosophy appears under the
project to transcend disciplinary divides title ‘Ethical Systems throughout
is nonetheless likely to bump up against History’. In Norway we are told that phi-
organizational problems, especially in losophical and ethical subject matter are
relation to the training background and covered at the primary and secondary
professional habits of certain teachers. levels in a course entitled ‘Christian
The situation in Belgium is no exception. Knowledge, Religious Education and
Moreover, because of the discussions it Ethics’. In India, philosophy is taught as
has generated at different levels over the ‘Ethical and Environmental Education’, in
past years, it can even be taken as an order to sensitize students to the preser-
illustration of the problematic dynamics vation of the environment and to moral
that govern the relationship between and religious values. We might take a
philosophy and religious instruction – brief look here at the moral education
above all at the ethical level. This dialec- courses in South Korea as an example of
tic can be found all over the world. In the teaching of philosophy via other
certain German Länder (states), philoso- subjects.
phy serves as a substitute for those stu-
dents who do not wish to take religious Other respondents, in particular French,
studies. This is the case in Bavaria, Ethiopian, Icelandic, Mexican and
among other Länder. We should also Uruguayan, stressed the secular nature
note the remarks of a respondent to the of philosophy instruction in their
UNESCO survey from Botswana: ‘there is countries.
an attempt to teach ethics at the secon-
dary level. But at the same time there is A very interesting discussion has been
resistance to ethics, primarily out of underway these past years in Uruguay. A
ignorance, which confounds ethical edu- document produced in 2002 by Mauricio
cation with the teaching of religious Langon, president of the Uruguayan
morality’. Association of Philosophy, testifies to a
lively discussion about the reorganiza-
A simple collating of responses to the tion of the teaching of philosophy in the (13) Mauricio Langon, ‘Philosophie et
savoirs au bac uruguayen aujourd’hui
survey reveals – without even going into three final years of secondary school. (II)’. Diotime-L’Agorà, 22, 2004.
the details – a diffuse perception of the Without touching on the issue of philo-
links that historically unite ethics and sophy as a curricular subject, his proposal (14) Ibid.


Box 12
Moral education in the Republic of Korea(15)

Moral education in the Republic of Korea bourhood and school life, iii) social life, that the students can deepen their thin-
is governed at the national level, as a and iv) national life. Five values and fun- king and share ideas about controversial
fundamental part of the country’s curri- damental moral virtues are chosen for moral issues. The subject of civics in
culum. It is one of the ten core subjects each of these divisions. For personal particular is developed principally to
taught in primary and secondary life, these values are: respect for human help students foster their ability to make
schools. These ten subjects are: the life, diligence, honesty, independence judgements. In encouraging role-plays
Korean Language, Moral Education, and self-control. The values to seek in and discussions in the classroom, we
Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, one’s relations with family, neighbours, help them to develop moral values on
Music, Fine Arts, Physical Education, and school are: respectful behaviour, their own.
Foreign Languages, and Art. Ethics text- taking care of family members, etiquette
books are prepared under the supervi- and courtesy, cooperation, and love for
sion of the national authority. Moral edu- one’s school and home town. In their Suk-won Song,
cation is taught from the third year of pri- social life, students must learn the Researcher in Higher Education
mary school through to the first year of values of: respect for the law, considera- Curriculum Policy Division
secondary school. Students have a tion for others, protection of the environ- Ministry of Education
choice between three courses: Civics, ment, justice, and community feeling. (Republic of Korea)
Ethics and Thought, and Traditional Life within a nation requires: patriotism,
Ethics. We are at pains to take an inte- fraternal love for one’s people, aware-
grated approach so that knowledge and ness of security, efforts for peaceful uni-
the emotional understanding of morality fication, and love of humanity. Each unit
lead to practical action. The content of in the manual of moral education covers
moral education is divided into four life several discussion points touching on
areas: i) personal life, ii) family, neigh- contemporary moral issues. This is so

concerns a ‘space for thinking about supervised by a team of interdisciplinary
knowledge’ that would be added to exis- inspectors’ (14). Thus, this collaborative
ting courses in order ‘to open the possi- teaching aims at creating ‘regular spaces
bility of philosophical reflection beyond for dialogue, which will act as communi-
the subject of “Philosophy”’(13). It is a ties of pedagogical enquiry focused on
most advanced and interesting proposal the question of rupture and suture bet-
in that it aims to create a veritable space ween disciplines. They would be able to
for concrete interdisciplinary reflection, update the problematics in relation to
where philosophical thought would be teaching in all subject areas. We are
put to the test by social and cultural phe- designing these spaces as centres for the
nomena, which are the subjects of other ongoing training and improvement of
disciplines. Above all, this new exercise teaching staff. The teacher training for
would not act as a substitute for tea- this exercise will include courses, works-
ching philosophy but would complement hops and seminars, oriented towards
it in the same way other subjects do. Its training in active methodologies, theo-
advocates argue that it should be allot- ries of reasoning, communities of
ted ‘two hours per week and per course’ enquiry and meta-cognition – and
throughout the last three years of secon- towards the psychology and sociology of
dary teaching. The initiators of the pro- knowledge. Our hope is that this syste-
ject propose that ‘to become a teacher matic training will occur regularly in the
of ERSS (Espacio de reflexión sobre los teacher-training institutes (Instituto de
saberes – ‘Space for Thinking about profesores artigas, IPA, and Institutos de
Knowledge’), there should be an open formación docente, IFD)(16)’. A similar and
(15) By Suk-won Song, prepared for
the delegation of the Ministry
call to teachers of all subjects, who doubtless complementary proposal has
of Education of Malaysia during its would have to submit a proposal and been presented by the Philosophy
visit to the Republic of Korea would receive special preparation before Inspectorate of Uruguay, calling for the
on 13 September 2005. participating in this course. A teacher of creation of an inter- and trans-discipli-
(16) Mauricio Langon, ‘Philosophie et ERSS would necessarily work in the class- nary class, reciprocal and complementary
savoirs au bac uruguayen aujourd’hui
room and in coordination with the tea- to the organization of subjects into cur-
(II)’. Diotime-L’Agorà, 22, 2004. chers of other courses. ERSS would be ricula, and conceived as a meeting space


for the different fields of learning, in Uruguay; it was noted that a subject cal-
which ideas and methodologies from led ‘Critique of Knowledge’ has also
diverse disciplines can come together, been responsible for positive develop-
where criteria are not given in advance ments in philosophy instruction. The
but will themselves be subjects of discus- importance of this seems to go far
sion. The Inspectorate holds that a philo- beyond the borders of this country and
sophical disposition would be a precon- to be of general interest.
dition for teachers of this class, regard-
less of the discipline in which they have Many respondents to UNESCO’s ques-
been trained, and that a philosophy trai- tionnaire stressed that philosophical
ning course would be needed to provide notions come up elsewhere in social stu-
backup for the conceptual and metaphy- dies and the social sciences. Let us add
sical background required to approach to that the opinion expressed in one res-
such questions. Taking into account the ponse from Germany – that it is absolu-
responses to the UNESCO survey, this tely necessary that philosophy and logic
proposal is the source of a considerable be integrated into the natural and exact
advance in philosophy teaching in sciences.

3) The dynamic between secondary level and university
Aside from a philosophy course introduced the social studies curriculum of state-run
in 1996 in certain secondary schools in schools for the first through to the sixth
Ontario(17), philosophy in Canada is taught years of school includes among subjects
at the post-secondary and university levels studied ‘the effects of change on physical
in what are known as Junior Colleges in the and human characteristics; the structure
English-speaking regions, and in CEGEPs and functioning of a democratic society;
(Collège d'enseignement général et profes- the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citi-
sionnel – ‘College of General and zens; exchanges in a world marked by
Vocational Education’) in both English- and interdependence and pluralism’(18). Here we
French-speaking Québec. It is worthwhile see an interesting phenomenon, that is, the
citing the account written by André Carrier, drawing of philosophical themes into edu-
a teacher at Lévi-Lauson secondary school cational preparation for citizenship. We
in Québec. should also mention the ‘Philosophy in the
Schools Project’, created in 2000 under the
A Canadian respondent to the UNESCO aegis of the Canadian Philosophical
survey tells us that ‘a curriculum addressed Association(19). The purpose and sequencing
to secondary-level students is presently of this philosophical training are represen-
being tried out in certain schools’. There tative of other types of pre-university trai-
are training programmes in social studies ning around the world, such as the Ciclo
that include teaching of a philosophical Básico Común at the University of Buenos
nature. In Ontario, for example, these sub- Aires(20).
jects include classes on the environment,
on life styles, civics, and economic institu- Now would be an appropriate moment to
tions and activities. An Ontario Ministry of look at the differences in approach bet-
Education document from 2004 outlining ween university and secondary education.
(17) In Canada, education is decided
on at the provincial level, with curri-
cula thus reflecting locally-determi-
4) Training for secondary-school philosophy teachers ned priorities.
(18) Ontario Ministry of Education,
2004. ‘The Ontario Curriculum:
The issue can be approached by conside- i) cases in which a university degree in phi- Social Studies Grades 1 to 6; History
ring two main questions. Have secondary- losophy is required, ii) cases in which the and Geography Grades 7 and 8’.
school teachers of philosophy received an university degree is accompanied or repla-
advanced degree in philosophy? Have they ced by specific pedagogical training (a
received specific pedagogical training? secondary-school teaching diploma), iii)
(21) European credit transfer
Three main scenarios can be identified: cases in which other certificates suffice. system


Box 13
Secondary school philosophy courses in Québec, Canada

Forty years ago, the Québec provincial This in turn translated into an obligation are the preferred means for the practical
government created the CEGEP ‘College to translate the objectives of all discipli- development of this skill. The second
of General and Vocational Education’ nes in terms of activities or skills that level uses what has been learned of the
system – a mandatory educational level the students would have to demons- philosophical approach in developing the
for all students hoping to continue to trate. In philosophy, for example, terms problematic related to conceptions of
either a university or to a technical such as ‘distinguish, present, produce’ the human being. Students learn the key
career. Along with their specialized cour- are used to qualify the results expected concepts and principles with which
ses, all CEGEP students take classes in from students relative to the proposed modern and contemporary conceptions
three core disciplines: philosophy, the content. define the human being, and become
mother tongue and its literature, and aware of the importance of these in
physical education. A 1993 reform saw The skills approach was greeted with Western culture. Practical skills are
second-language learning (English or deep reservations by those involved in developed through critical commentary
French) added to these, but at the the core disciplines, especially from the and a philosophical dissertation. The
expense of teaching time for philosophy fields of philosophy and literature. third level leads students to take inde-
and physical education. Philosophy in Philosophy courses are designed as a pendent and critical stances with res-
particular was expected to educate stu- learning sequence based on thematic pect to ethical values. They learn diffe-
dents in logic, the history of ideas, and content, intellectual skills and the history rent ethical and political theories and
ethics – aims defended by philosophy of ideas. They are organized progressi- apply them to contemporary situations
teachers, moreover, in keeping with vely and in such a way that theoretical relevant to political, social and personal
their experience in Québec. As in other and practical knowledge gained in an life. The three levels also have the subsi-
disciplines, it was also expected to pur- introductory course are reinvested in the diary goal of developing reading and wri-
sue cross-disciplinary goals with regard following courses. The introductory ting skills. In this sense, an accent is pla-
to general intellectual abilities. In this course is devoted to learning philosophi- ced in each level on gaining acquain-
way, philosophy was part of a curricular cal procedures in the context of the tance of a complete work, or on analysis
approach aiming to integrate the diffe- advent and development of Western of major excerpts, as well as on written
rent learning processes. Emphasis on a rationality. In this way, students come to output.
‘skills-based’ approach to pedagogy, understand how thinkers treat a ques-
however, had an impact on the teaching tion philosophically, and they engage in
of philosophy, by focusing it on the the same process themselves by develo- André Carrier(22)
acquisition of measurable skills – or at ping a philosophical argument. Textual Teacher, Collège Lévi-Lauson, Québec
least on skills that can be evaluated. analysis and writing a polemical paper (Canada)

There are tremendous divergences around Japan (minimum of a B.A. in Philosophy or
the world from these three scenarios, all a similar field such as ethics or aesthetics),
the same. We shall quickly run through Mauritius (B.A. in Philosophy), Mexico (B.A.
some of them, while stressing that we shall or M.A.), Portugal (M.A.), Romania (B.A. in
only be giving a few examples, as this study Philosophy), Senegal (CAES – Certicat d’ap-
is not intended to be exhaustive. titude à l’enseignement secondaire,
‘Certificate of Aptitude in Teaching at
1) A degree in philosophy. Examples of Secondary Level’), Serbia (B.A. in
countries in which a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Philosophy), Spain (M.A. in Philosophy),
in Philosophy is required: Bahrain, Bulgaria Syria (a university degree), Thailand (at least
(B.A. or Master’s degree, M.A,), Central a B.A. – monks, having received a religious
African Republic (B.A. and an M.A. in education, may also teach), Turkey (B.A.,
Philosophy, plus a CAPES teaching degree), M.A. in Philosophy, Sociology or
Chad (B.A., M.A.), China (minimum of a Psychology). In Austria, Bangladesh and
B.A.), Côte d’Ivoire (B.A. or CAPES), Croatia Lesotho, an M.A. in Philosophy is required.
(B.A., that is, four years of university), Cuba In some countries, a different certification is
(a university diploma in social sciences or required according to the level of secondary
the humanities), Denmark (at least ninety school to be taught. A correspondent from
ECTS credits(21)), Guatemala (the title of Poland summarizes these dual levels as
Profesorado de Enseñanza Media en follows: ‘The minimum required to teach
(22) André Carrier, ‘La réforme de Filosofia), Honduras (a degree in the social philosophy at the lower secondary level
l’enseignement de la philosophie sciences, education, sociology or social (gimnazjum) is a university degree (licenc-
dans les collèges du Québec’.
Diotime-L’Agorà, 1, 1999.
work), Hungary (a university degree), jat). A Master’s degree is required to be Iceland (B.A. or M.A.), Iran (B.A., M.A.), able to teach in the upper secondary’.


2) Specific training in teaching, comple- in Italy are Modern and Classical Literature,
mentary or not to training in philosophy. In History, Psychology, Sociology, and Social
some countries, accreditation to teach in Studies. In several African countries, a uni-
secondary schools requires specific training, versity degree in philosophy (and other sub-
often but not necessarily in conjunction jects, for that matter), must be followed by
with a university degree. This includes cour- a graduate teaching qualification. In
ses in specific subjects among which philo- Botswana, a B.A. in the humanities –
sophy figures, relative to its place in the Theology or Religious Studies, including
secondary curriculum. Although this Philosophy – is to be completed by a
tertiary-level training might not be compa- Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
rable to true specialization in the discipline, In Congo, philosophy teachers require a
it makes it possible nonetheless to teach B.A. with a mandatory CAPES – ‘Certificate
the various school subjects at a level consi- of Aptitude in Teaching at Secondary Level’
dered by the national educational system to (Certificat d’aptitude au professorat de
be adequate. In any case, philosophy recei- l’enseignement du second degré). Senegal
ves no more special treatment than any requires the same certificate, although it is
other subject. Argentina is one country called a CAES (Certificat d'aptitude à l'en-
where teachers have generally followed seignement secondaire). Madagascar requi-
non-university post-secondary training; res a CAPEN – ‘Certificate of Pedagogical
Norway as well, where the teacher-training Aptitude from an École Normale’ (Certificat
process follows after the regular four-year d’Aptitude pédagogique de l’École
degree. Some teachers at the upper secon- Normale) in Philosophy, in addition to a
dary level are university-educated and must degree in Social Sciences or Theology.
have followed a university-level philosophy There are considerable difficulties in Niger,
course. In the Netherlands, a Certificate of where a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology is
Higher Professional Education’ is required. required ‘because this reflects the core syl-
In Italy, an undergraduate university degree labus taught at university’, but where a res-
must be followed by a two-year pro- pondent noted that ‘although a CAPES is (23) in Québec, the term ‘bacca-
laureat’ refers to the Bachelor of
gramme at a Scuola di Specializzazione required to teach in the last three years of Arts (B.A.), or a first-level university
all’Insegnamento Secondario, ‘School for secondary school, because there is no degree.

Specialization in Secondary Education’. training structure for philosophy in Niger, (24) G. Obiols., M.F. De Gallo, A.
Cerletti., A.C. Coulé, M. Diaz, A.
Offered by most Italian universities, accredi- there are fewer than ten holders of that Ranovsky and J. Freixas, ‘La forma-
tation from one of these specialized schools diploma in philosophy in the country, and tion des professeurs de philoso-
phie. Une expérience à la faculté
is required for all secondary teachers. all trained abroad’. There is reason to de philosophie et de lettres
Among university degrees that are prere- believe that Niger is not alone in this situa- de l’Université de Buenos Aires’.
Diotime-L’Agorà, 18, 2003.
quisites for training as a philosophy teacher tion. Cambodia requires no more than a

Box 14
Teacher training in philosophy in Argentina

There is a long tradition of philosophy as a At first the two streams are taught toge- and problems encountered in their practice
subject taught in Argentina’s secondary ther, after which students in the B.A. classes (short philosophy-teaching assi-
schools. Teacher training for this field is stream have to write a thesis and those in gnments in a secondary school). There are
divided into two main streams: institutes of the teaching stream have to take courses weekly consultation and exchange works-
teacher training for non-university higher in general pedagogy, as well as courses hops throughout the second semester, to
education, and university-level Faculties. specialized in the particular didactics of tea- analyse the development of the classes as
The programme of the University of Buenos ching philosophy. The conceptual content a group, to make any necessary adjust-
Aires’ School of Philosophy and Letters of the discipline is broken into four units: i) ments, and to offer individual supervision of
includes the teaching of philosophy, litera- the basic questions in the teaching of philo- each student’s lesson plans. There is no
ture, history, geography and anthropology. sophy, ii) teaching philosophy in schools, iii) final exam, evaluation being based on the
The faculty offers two degrees for each of the student, learning philosophy in an insti- students’ output throughout the year. This
these teaching fields: the ‘Licenciado’ or tutional context, and iv) the didactics of phi- output is collected and submitted by the
Bachelor’s degree, oriented towards losophy. The content is developed in clas- students at the end of their teaching assi-
research and non-teaching activities, and ses combining theory and practice, in gnments.
the ‘Profesor’, largely oriented towards the which proposals and analyses are integra-
teaching of the discipline at the secondary ted into their practical work, and emphasis Source:
or other levels within the education system. is placed on students analyzing successes


university diploma and one year of training aspect of secondary philosophy teaching. In
in a teacher-training centre. Israel requires some cases this disciplinary confusion is due to
an M.A. in Philosophy and a philosophy the fact that these degrees already include a
teaching diploma or teacher’s certificate. significant philosophical education. More
Finland requires a university degree as well often there is a tendency to believe that a
as teaching certification obtained through philosophical education requires no training in
a university, though the degree can be in a special discipline, in other words, no specific
Psychology or Religious Studies. In one knowledge-set is needed in order to learn
Canadian province (and doubtless elsew- philosophy. It is often the case in Europe that
here as well) we note a technical problem. philosophy teachers hold degrees in other
‘The greatest challenge faced by teachers in fields that have nonetheless supplied a signifi-
Ontario stems from the fact that, while the cant education in philosophy. We learn from
province’s curricula list a course in Germany that the situation varies significantly
Philosophy, teachers cannot enrol in a according to the politics of the different
Faculty of Education solely in order to Länder (state). For some, a university degree in
receive certification as specialists in philoso- philosophy is mandatory in order to teach in
phy. To teach in Québec’s CEGEPs, on the secondary schools. For others, philosophy
other hand, a minimum of a courses are sometimes given by teachers
“Baccalaureat” in Philosophy is required’(23). trained in religion or other disciplines. Among
In Argentina, which seems to be typical of the latter, the most common degrees appear
this region, a 2003 study by the teacher- to be in literature, history and mathematics.
education division of the Faculty of Another writer from Germany informs us that
Philosophy of the University of Buenos ‘philosophy courses have often been revised,
Aires provides an in-depth analysis of the and new elements such as practical philoso-
current situation(24). phy have been introduced; allowing teachers
with other areas of specialization to be
In Uruguay too, a teaching certificate for retrained to teach philosophy. But the great
secondary-school teachers, granted by the majority hold a degree in philosophy’. It is suf-
Instituto de Profesores Artigas, seems to be ficient in Greece to hold a university degree in
interchangeable with a university degree in the humanities, – be it in ancient or modern
philosophy. According to one respondent, literature, history or theology. In the Republic
requirements can vary greatly; ‘Nearly 80 of Moldova, a degree indicating post-secon-
per cent of philosophy teachers at secon- dary studies in philosophy, history, political
dary school are qualified as philosophy science or sociology is mandatory. Secondary-
teachers, or are graduate students in the school classics teachers in Cyprus are regularly
teaching of philosophy. Others have at least given the task of teaching philosophy. In
a B.A. Many have university degrees, Algeria, a social sciences degree is considered
although not necessarily in philosophy, but adequate for teaching philosophy in secon-
in psychology, or similar’. Another notes in dary schools. In Burundi it is usually teachers
confirmation of this scenario that the who have studied literature or psychology
system can call on legal or scientific profes- who give the philosophy courses. They are
sionals if there are no formally qualified selected because they took one or two philo-
philosophy or humanities teachers availa- sophy courses themselves (for example
ble. Let us note that by ‘philosophy tea- ‘Introduction to Philosophy’) early on in their
cher’, we mean not a university professor, university studies. The same holds true in
but anyone holding a Profesor de Filosofia Burkina Faso for psychology graduates. There
(‘Philosophy Teacher’) diploma. Furthermore, as well it is reported that ‘some secondary
as we are reminded by yet a third writer, establishments recruit teachers of a low level
there are a number of M.A. available in the because of problems with salaries’. In Rwanda
humanities which give the right to teach secondary-school philosophy teachers are
philosophy and, need be, a simple B.A. will required to have either a B.A. in Religious
suffice. Yet another correspondent adds Studies or in Philosophy, or an M.A. in
that philosophy is often taught by lawyers. Education. In Zimbabwe ‘the basic qualifica-
3) University degrees in other disciplines. tion for teaching philosophy in primary and
Allowing graduates of other disciplines to secondary schools is a degree in education at
teach philosophy highlights a delocalized the appropriate level’. In Colombia, philosophy


is taught by graduates in philosophy, literature, even come from quite unrelated fields or
education, history or the social sciences. For careers’. In short, concludes another, to teach
Costa Rica, training in theology is sufficient, as philosophy in Venezuela one can count on
is training in social sciences in Ecuador. Haiti ‘practically any higher education qualifica-
requires university training in the field of the tions’, adding that ‘there are cases of teachers
human and social sciences, and Honduras in with incomplete academic training, that is,
the social sciences, pedagogy, sociology or who haven’t finished their studies’.
social work. There are other cases where one
makes do with the available means. According What can we conclude from this overview? It
to one respondent in Bolivia, only a small num- is clear that many secondary-school philoso-
ber of teachers hold a degree in philosophy. phy teachers have not received a university
Experience in Chile is that ‘in the smaller loca- education specializing in philosophy, with trai-
lities, where there are hardly any philosophy ning limited in many cases to a few courses in
teachers, practically any other degree will be philosophy, to credits equivalent to a one- or
considered adequate’. In Paraguay, a philoso- two-year philosophy diploma, or to philoso-
phy teacher could be a teacher in the social phy taught through other subjects. Sometimes
sciences, a lawyer, a seminarian or a psycholo- such incomplete training is supplemented by
gist. The same respondent adds that ‘a accreditation through teaching schools or cer-
Paraguayan Philosophy Society was founded tificate programmes. This situation clearly
ten years ago, with the primary purpose of stems in part from the gap between the num-
promoting secondary-level instruction. To this ber of philosophy teachers – in those countries
day it has been unable to take proper form. where the subject is included in the academic
For the past seven or eight years, two institu- curricula – and the number of university gra-
tions – Salesian and Jesuit – have trained phi- duates in philosophy. On one hand it is certain
losophy teachers. Little-by-little they are wor- that being a schoolteacher is only one of the
king their way into the system. Before that, professional options available to philosophy
the subject was covered by teachers trained in graduates, and not always the most appeti-
social studies, and also by lawyers, psycholo- zing at that. On the other hand, there’s no
gists or ex-priests. Very few held degrees in hiding the fact that, by its very nature and
philosophy. Thanks to the presence of these especially in certain labour markets, school
two institutions, even though they are secta- teaching is capable of absorbing graduates of
rian, the situation is changing bit by bit’. There other subjects. Philosophy, which is often
are many accounts from Venezuela attesting considered to be of a low technical level, can
to the heterogeneous educational back- be seen from this point of view to act as a
grounds of philosophy instructors. We hear of social shock absorber.
philosophy teachers with degrees in sociology,
psychology, literature or education, or with a But there are other, particular situations that
diploma in history, art, mathematics and even must be taken into account. For example, in
law. One correspondent explains that ‘the Brazil – where, since the subject was abruptly
opportunity to teach can be offered to anyone introduced into the academic curriculum,
with an M.A. in teaching, or any other subject there has been a problem finding qualified
that is not specifically science or mathematics. staff. But that can be seen as a transitional
The same is true for related subjects such as phase; the need to review the specifics of phi-
sociology and theology, and for people having losophy teaching in countries with no specific
completed non-accredited ecclesiastical stu- training requirement represents a real educa-
dies’. In other words, ‘as a general rule, secon- tional issue for the future.
dary-school teachers are not philosophers, and

5) Observed reforms: To what end?
Two reform processes deserve to be quantity of commentaries on them, as
looked at here, because each in its own well as their high profile in the press,
way has had a special resonance within bears ample witness to this fact.
(25) The two years of the bachillerato
the field of philosophy teaching. We are An interesting view of the Spanish case is make up the final two years of
referring to Spain and Morocco. The offered by Miguel Vasquez, a philosophy secondary school.


teacher in Galicia and one of the mem- make up the missing classroom hours.
bers of a working group on the teaching Remember as well that during the socia-
of philosophy in that region. The secon- list period a new subject, Ethics, was
dary school system in Spain is divided introduced in the mandatory fourth year
into four main stages: early childhood of secondary school. This new subject,
education (up to six years of age), pri- however, did not go far to compensate
mary education (six to twelve years), for the ground that philosophy had lost
mandatory secondary education (twelve as a subject taught at secondary-school
to sixteen years), and the bachillerato level. Indeed, it must be taken into
(for students of sixteen to eighteen years account that in autonomous communi-
of age)(25). This structure was established ties, which have no native language of
upon the passing of the ‘Ley de their own, ethics is given two class hours
Ordenación General del Sistema per week, whereas students in other
Educativo’ (‘Law on the General communities take only one hour per
Planning of the Education System’, or week.
LOGSE) in 1990. Problems in the applica-
tion of the law, and the many criticisms The LCE, along with other measures
it received, led the government to legis- taken before its enactment, introduced
late a modified version of the law in changes in the application of the LOGSE.
2002, the ‘Ley de Calidad de la First, philosophy was once again made
Educación’ (‘Law on the Quality of mandatory for all streams of the bachil-
Education’, or LCE). During the first lerato. These changes also served to
stage of this reform – given legal expres- strengthen its curriculum, and were
sion by the LOGSE – there was signifi- favourable to new optional subjects tied
cant regression in the subject areas assi- to the philosophy department. In Galicia,
gned to secondary-institute philosophy for instance, the following optional sub-
departments, with regard to the number jects have been offered in the bachille-
of mandatory courses as much as to the rato: ‘Ethics and Philosophy of Law’,
number of class hours. To better unders- ‘Philosophy of Science and Technology’,
tand this regression, it is useful to take a ‘Introduction to Political Science’, and
historical viewpoint and note that the ‘Introduction to Sociology’. The first
relative place of philosophy in the draft of the LOE provided for the cancel-
Spanish system has followed a long ling of Philosophy I in the first year of the
road. Suffice it to say that two subjects, bachillerato, which prompted an impres-
an introduction to philosophy and the sive mobilization of Spain’s associations
history of philosophy, were offered of philosophy teachers, with remarkably
through almost the entire pro-Franco virulent contributions to open Internet
period. That is how things stood when forums. There are very good reasons for
the LOGSE was introduced, whereupon defending the unarguably important role
philosophy was no longer compulsory in that teaching philosophy can and should
the first year of the Bachillerato, except play in the development of autonomous
for students assigned to one of its three and critical citizens. This, notwithstanding
streams. This of course entrained a some dubious extremist positions -
reduction by roughly one-third in course ‘without philosophy there is no critical
hours taught. Only ‘History of thinking’ -, as if the critical dimension
Philosophy’ remained mandatory for all couldn’t also exist in other subject areas;
final-year secondary students. If, further- as if there was no such thing as dogma-
(26) An outline of the reform is avai-
lable at: more, we take into account that the tic academic philosophy (as had once educational reform also reduced the been the case); as if one of the irrevoca-
One can also consult an article of
the Moroccan Association of
weekly hours for all subjects from four to ble purposes of the education system
Philosophy Teachers at www.crdp- three, then we can understand the col- was to provide jobs for philosophy gra- (In
lective discontent of the teaching body, duates. These reasons seem to have
(27) Charte nationale d’éducation forced in a great many cases to teach been echoed in the Spanish legislatures,
et de formation, Commission subjects foreign to their departments – for in the final version of the LOE –
Spéciale Éducation Formation,
Kingdom of Morocco.
such as history or geography or the already approved by parliament – philo- ‘alternative’ to religion – in order to sophy was maintained as mandatory in


all streams of the first year bachillerato, and technical/vocational(28). Each of these
even though the name has been chan- streams is divided into different sections.
ged and new and untested content has The general stream includes scientific,
been added, and even though it is literary, economic and social studies.
accompanied by a troubling uncertainty There are sixteen regional academies of
regarding its allocated class hours. There education and training, with the mission
is talk of a reduction from three to two of enacting educational policy in the
hours per week, with the goal of allo- context of a progressive decentralization
wing room for a new subject from the of the system. Philosophy appears as an
sciences. We could say that Spain’s phi- independent subject in the last two years
losophy programme is a combination of of this secondary system. The pro-
the French and Italian models. As in gramme is divided into four conceptual
France, the ‘Philosophy 1’ syllabus is the- areas the human condition, knowledge,
matic. As in Italy, the ‘Philosophy 2’ syl- politics and ethics(29). Under each area,
labus in the final year of secondary concepts drawn from everyday language
school is historical. In each case there is and introducing different meanings for
a consensus among teachers as to the analysis are the starting point for reflec-
practical impossibility of teaching all of tion and questioning. As an example, the
the content included in the two courses. theme of ‘human condition’ introduces
So in practice, each teacher in the first the following notions: ‘the person’, ‘the
year decides what to teach and what to Other’, ‘history’. The courses can be
exclude, making it possible, for example, adapted, with their titles changing
for one teacher to devote nearly an according to the area of specialization:
entire semester to logic and for another ‘General Philosophy’ in the scientific
not to include it at all. In the second year stream; ‘The Human Being’ in literature;
(the final year of secondary school), deci- ‘Society and Change’ in the economic
sions about the syllabus are determined and social streams; and ‘Activity and
by the university entrance exams, which Creativity’ in the technical/vocational
are organized by the university districts stream. In this regard, Professor Zryouil
of each autonomous community. The specifies that the authors of the curricula
exam in Galicia comprises a philosophi- have preferred to opt for a programme
cal essay based on a subject linked to a of introduction to philosophy and of pro-
list of twenty authors – chosen from motion of its advantages. This is why
among the greatest figures in the history only two themes appear in the curricu-
of philosophy. But each centre’s depart- lum accompanied by specified directives
ment is free to choose only eight of that take into consideration this age
those twenty, on the basis of which the range. These themes are: ‘What is philo-
work for the semester will be organized. sophy?’ and ‘Nature and culture’.
‘Citizenship Education’ is included at
The reform process of the Moroccan lower secondary-school level.
educational system, launched in 1999(26), Philosophy’s strengthened status made it
and grounded in the Charte nationale possible for the Moroccan Minister of
d’éducation et de formation(27), improves Education to announce on the occasion
philosophy’s position relative to the ear- of World Philosophy Day in 2006, that
lier reforms of 1975, 1978, 1981, ‘philosophy is an integral part of the
1984/5 and 1995. The 1999 reform esta- national education system because it is
blished a new pedagogical organization, taught at all levels of secondary and qua-
divided into primary school (six years), lifying schooling’. (28) A preliminary report on this
lower secondary school (three years), reform was released in June 2005.
Réforme du système d’Education
and qualifying secondary school, which We can also refer to the instructive and et de Formation, 1999–2004’.
includes a one-year core programme stimulating remarks made by the Commission Spéciale Éducation
taken by all, followed by two final secon- Secretary General of the Moroccan Formation, Kingdom of Morocco.
dary school years leading to the awar- Association of Philosophy Teachers, who (29) Information provided by
ding of the baccalauréat certificate. notes that the teaching of philosophy in Professor Abderrahim Zryouil,
Students in these final two years are Morocco has gone through two stages. Inspector and National
Coordinator for Philosophy,
divided into two main streams: general, At first, philosophy was taught in French Morocco.


using French text books. The end of the many other countries as well, Lazrak
1960s saw the ‘Arabization’ of the sub- cites those that he feels it is most pres-
ject. At first, the teaching process was sing to address, namely the insufficient
dominant, and philosophy teaching was time allotted to philosophy classes, the
focused on content. Because of this, the lack of working materials, the fact that
syllabus was reduced to the history of there is only one textbook, the absence
ideas, and the course book was full with of a detailed and developed teaching
knowledge in the form of courses from method for philosophy, the rift that
which philosophical texts were essen- exists between philosophy teaching at
tially absent. The philosophy course was secondary and at higher levels, etc. One
actually a lecture series, being brought can cite Professor Zryouil once again,
down, by most of the teachers, to a who emphasizes that since 2003, the
concern for the doctrine to be adopted reform has institutionalized the necessity
in the teaching of philosophy. The to ‘liberalize’ school textbook publi-
second phase began with the reorgani- shing, in order to diversify school
zation of secondary schooling, initiated manuals by introducing competition.
in 1987, according to the system of aca-
demies. In this context, philosophy tea- It is not always easy to find detailed
ching immediately saw a pedagogical information on secondary-school philo-
discourse arise that was no longer sophy curricula, nor to access official syl-
concentrated on a concern with which labi. With regard to teaching in
doctrines to teach, but with ways of tea- Morocco, one respondent to the
ching – the pedagogic aspects of the UNESCO survey reported that ‘philoso-
acts of teaching and evaluating. phy is an integral part of teaching at all
Education became to be seen as a lear- secondary-school levels, because logic
ning process, understood to be focused and analysis are at the heart of all philo-
on the student. This resulted, in 1991, in sophical thought, so students are doing
the following changes: the philosophy philosophy without knowing it. Students
syllabus was divided according to themes take philosophy as a new subject in the
(for example, nature, culture, final two years of secondary school’. The
religion/philosophy or work/property); reference to ‘doing philosophy without
the student manual took on the form of knowing it’ deserves to be emphasized,
a collection of philosophical texts; and given that, as this writer indicates, no
the method of teaching, in which the philosophy is taught whatsoever during
philosophical text now occupied the the first three years of secondary school.
principal place, was no longer reduced Let us add that philosophy is also taught
to a series of lectures. Such changes can within a particular type of traditional
generate questions of pedadogy, either education, as it is included in the final
concerning the usefulness of teaching three years of the secondary cycle in the
philosophy, regarding the question of ‘Law and Sharia’, ‘Lettres Originelles’
how philosophy students should be evalua- (Islamic and Moroccan Studies), and
ted, or concerning questions of didactics. ‘Experimental Sciences’ sections, under
the title ‘Philosophy and Islamic
The teaching of philosophy in Morocco Thought’, and alongside another sub-
has gone through other changes since ject, ‘Contemporary Islamic Thought’. In
1995. A notional curriculum has been this respect ZryouilI explains that, even
introduced (incorporating languages, though the traditional education stream
art, technical subjects, etc.), as has a continues to be part of the Moroccan
textbook comprising a range of philoso- education system, it is no longer exempt
phical texts and excerpts. The Secretary from implementing the sole philosophy
General thus makes the point that move- syllabus applicable to all streams, where
ments for change in philosophy teaching Islamic thought is no longer separated
have brought up fundamental questions from philosophy but is considered as a
and led to a deepened examination of specific and important part of the uni-
the act of teaching itself. Among possi- versal philosophical thought. In a series
ble obstacles, which are to be found in of articles published in Diotime- L’Agorà,


Aziz Lazrak has discussed the difficulty of Vázquez writes that one essential aspect of
putting this curricular and pedagogic the reform envisaged by Spain ‘is the intro-
reform into place, notably insisting on duction of a new subject, Citizenship
the necessity of moving progressively Education, arising from the new law, the
towards a pedagogical model based on LOE. At the secondary level, this subject will
active student participation in the course, be assigned to the philosophy departments.
both through direct reading of texts and It follows from this that a concern for this
increased group discussion. Between the orientation towards citizenship education
stated objectives of the reform, the has also led legislators to change the name
ministerial programmes and actual peda- of the first-level bachillerato (fifth year of
gogical practice, we find the same pro- secondary school) philosophy course to
blems as in other countries. In fact, the “Philosophy and Citizenship”.
likelihood of achieving the reforms’ goals
seems to depend as much on an increa- Even though its curriculum has not yet
sed presence of philosophy in the curri- been confirmed, it has been indicated
cula as it does on any real transformation that this name change implies a change
of didactic practice. In this respect, it is in content as well. The change will likely
always important to distinguish between mean promoting practical philosophy,
curricular and didactic norms, and tea- ethics and politics in particular, and will
ching/learning practices. To examine this mean cancelling the more theoretical
in depth would require grass-roots obser- branches, especially epistemology’.
vation and analysis of professional practi- Although this has not as yet been confir-
ces, not to mention taking into account med, and is a point of conflict between
the influences of individual key teachers political authorities and philosophy
and schools – that is, elements that are teachers, the driving spirit behind this
relatively independent of the system in process of educational change seems to
use within the country or region in ques- be similar to that in Morocco.
tion. We must keep in mind the social
and cultural objectives behind the
Moroccan reforms, which is to intentio-
nally anchor school teachings – both their
content and the presentation of that
content – in the contemporary social and
professional reality. In this general
context, the decision to increase the pre-
sence of philosophy might seem surpri-
sing - the reforms appear to expressly
rebuff any suggestion of a disparity bet-
ween professional training and social
conscience and awareness. According to
Zryouil, if one wants to sum up the
novelty of the reform related to philoso-
phy in Morocco, three salient points
should e distinguished: teaching of philo-
sophy starting from the first year in
secondary education; generalization of
philosophy teaching to all education
streams with no exceptions; and integra-
tion of Islamic philosophy in general phi-
losophy programmes as part of universal
philosophical thought. The socioecono-
mic basis for up-dating school curricula in
Morocco is derived from a heightened
sense of citizenship. This last point brings (30) Aziz Lazrak, ‘Philosophie de la
réforme et réforme de la philoso-
the Spanish and Moroccan reforms closer phie’. Diotime-L’Agorà,
together than one might have expected.


Box 15
The philosophy of reform and the reform of philosophy in Morocco

All educational reforms presuppose a question that orientation by criticizing ches we must sketch out a strategy of
global concept of teaching and learning, the violent confrontations that we can complementarity for philosophy tea-
of humanity and knowledge, of life and have with the technical world. To streng- ching. This should take into considera-
of value. We cannot imagine a philoso- then philosophy’s position is to streng- tion the curricular principles of conti-
phy of reform that is removed from phi- then the presence of culture and to nuity, of specificity and of gradually
losophy and the reform of its teaching. emancipate the education system from increasing the intellectual demands of a
But we have yet to see the generaliza- its misery, from reductionism, from the course. Such a strategy also includes
tion of philosophy teaching in all sec- lived world, from the struggle for self- more closely relating the teaching of phi-
tions of secondary education. Have we preservation. losophy to other subjects. For example,
been remiss in our philosophical duties? no training of the critical mind is imagi-
Why has no consciousness of the neces- Any reform in the teaching of philosophy nable if it is separated from the practice
sity of philosophy developed? What can is in danger of having only a limited of literary and historical criticism. What’s
be done to properly recognize the right impact if philosophy teaching is decon- more, if it doesn’t address the real-world
to philosophy? How can we make this a textualized from its legitimate position situation of the classroom – by detailing
priority for intellectuals, politicians and central to the fabric of society and intel- real philosophical exercises in meaning,
lawyers? Yes, the reform charter sket- lectual debate. The reform of philosophy discourse, reading and writing – then the
ches objectives such as the develop- teaching depends on the curriculum. We reform of philosophy teaching will be in
ment of citizens who are conscious of have learnt from prior experience that name only. We cannot reform the tea-
their rights and responsibilities and are there have always been certain inconsis- ching of philosophy without also refor-
tied to their dignity and their Arab and tencies between content and stated ming our current methods of evaluation.
Muslim identity, but who are also tole- objectives when it comes to philosophy Evaluation has to be demystified by
rant and open to the rest of human civi- teaching. Historically, we have taken two freeing it from ‘monism’ and ‘unifor-
lization. These are philosophical values, pedagogical approaches, the techni- mism’. In short, evaluation and freedom
and their inclusion implies there is a cian’s, which makes technique an end in must be reconciled through adopting the
general need for philosophy to be its own right, and that of pure knowledge principle of plurality.
taught. Philosophy’s role, as I conceive – that is, knowledge for knowledge’s
of it, is to participate in training universal sake. However, these two approaches Aziz Lazrak(30)
citizens and not just Moroccan citizens. wind up separating philosophy from life, Secretary General
The charter may be oriented towards students from the public sphere, and phi- Moroccan Association of Philosophy
the vocational, technical and scientific losophy from its own teaching. If we are Teachers
streams, but it is up to philosophy to to avoid reproducing these two approa- (Morocco)


II. Suggestions to reinforce the teaching of philosophy
at secondary level
1) The construction of the critical mind: The cognitive, affective and social subject
Despite the nuances of the different tea- proposal of learning philosophy is often
ching tools and methods, learning philoso- introduced, confronted with the questions,
phy in an educational setting presents a implicit or explicit, that adolescents ask,
relatively uniform face whatever the age of awash as they are with emotions, surprised
the apprentice philosophers. Of course the by the transformations of their bodies, their
age of the students will have an impact on voices, their sexuality: What is happening
how they respond to being introduced to to me? Who is this person I am becoming?
philosophical ideas: whether they are What actually am I, and what do I want to
young children watching their powers of become? They are shaken, destabilized, by
critical thinking develop from their sensiti- these questions arising from within them-
vity and imagination, or adolescents selves, by the emotion of becoming inde-
confronting crises of identity, or adults. By pendent people, forced to assimilate their
adolescent we mean here a child entering solitude. This can explain some of their
the process of puberty, around eleven to reactions to their immediate environment
thirteen years of age in the West, with all of (often expressed through aggression or a
the tremendous physical, psychological and withdrawal into themselves). Problems arise
social transformations associated with this with how knowledge is dealt with at
period.(31) school: the loss of reassuring cognitive refe-
rence points, the vagaries of learning and
Adolescents seem called to question their the risk of failure weaken a self-esteem
situations almost despite themselves, often already shaken by feelings of insecurity and
becoming argumentative in order to affirm an absence of consistency that are com-
and reassure themselves – to dampen the mon to those going through such a process
question’s fire. The evolution, or even of mutation. Often, the more one is
revolution of the individual during this cracking apart on the inside, the more one
phase of development has significant substitutes an exuberant or confrontational
consequences that need to be taken into external attitude, in an attempt to control
account in his or her education. There are the unruly forces within.
two essential points to keep in mind: i) if
we are to believe what psychology has to The adolescent philosopher, or the begin-
say in this regard, and particularly psychoa- ning of human questioning. How then do
nalysis, the arrival of adolescence marks a we encourage students whose self-aware-
crisis of self-perception that forces the ado- ness is fraught with emotion to rationally
lescent to rearrange his or her psychologi- question their own identities as individuals
cal relationship to the world into a complex with the freedom of thought? How do we
flux that moves back and forth between bring them to ask questions and to apply
childhood and the lure of the new environ- themselves to finding their answers (the
ment. The adolescent’s relationship with philosophical attitude), especially when
the world, with others, and with himself or such questioning can be so deeply distur-
herself sets in motion a problematic process bing (coming as it does from a body expe-
of structuring and restructuring, which has rienced as foreign and strange) that they
its share of astonishment, fear, delight and often want only to silence it, or at least
suffering. ii) Adolescents’ perceptions of appease it? How do we cultivate a questio-
others as helpful or threatening – be they ning spirit in those who, unsure of themsel-
authority figures such as parents or ves, desperately seek certainties, often tur-
teachers, or a peer group – become deter- ning those very certainties on their head in
mining factors in the positions they take acts of defiance? What pedagogical and (31) According to
and how they react. This is the human didactic approach can teachers use to help Michel Tozzi (France)
context into which the educational adolescents move from the matters that


continually preoccupy their thoughts to emotional to a rational response to the
questioning their own identity: from an world about them?

Box 16
The encounter of the adolescent with philosophy
Whereas psychologists listen clinically to understanding that is shared by the group. with the world that needs to be mediated
individual adolescents, asking them to des- Because the personal implications of the by philosophical enquiry, and it is always
cribe their feelings about themselves and word ‘adolescent’ may inhibit students’ wil- surprising to see just how easily they can
their lives and trying to help them put their lingness to speak, we can replace it with a enter into it, perhaps even because of their
suffering into words, the philosopher-facili- more generic term – ‘people’, ‘individuals’, exacerbated existential sensitivity – Lacan’s
tator leads a community of enquiry, compri- ‘us’ (‘Why do we often criticize the legiti- ‘pain of being’. It is important to choose
sed of rational individuals, in a conversation macy of rules?’) – students will nonetheless issues that the students can relate to, so
about the search for meaning in life that is answer on the basis of their life experience. that the facilitator can draw them into criti-
a natural stage of human development. cal thinking through conversation and dis-
This existential search is treated as a sub- For inhibited adolescents who are often cussion that is distinct from their other clas-
ject to examine and discuss, and the philo- afraid to speak out in front of their friends, ses – this can alleviate the concerns of
sopher-facilitator works with the group to and for those who are used to trying to those who find written expression proble-
develop their ideas through questions of a impose their opinions, it is important too to matic – and in which they don’t feel as
cognitive nature, such as: ‘In your opinion, discuss the objectives of the activity. It can though they are working (which is false,
what is the difference between a child and be difficult and complex for them to reco- because they are working, just differently).
an adolescent?’ ‘Between an adolescent gnize that this is not a win-lose activity, nor It is important to impose a democratic
and an adult?’ ‘Can an adolescent be an the time to demonstrate their toughness structure on the discussion by establishing
adult already?’ ‘Can an adult still be an ado- (often a problem with boys), but it is a a few simple rules to determine whose turn
lescent?’ The questions explore the search for meaning: it is a win-win situation, it is to speak, and to ensure the students
concepts of child, adolescent and adult and because all can gain by listening to the opi- understand that they are not looking for any
consider how far these concepts can be nions and ideas of others. This presuppo- ‘right’ answers (as this would put them back
extended, by looking at particular exam- ses that everyone is committed to the acti- into a situation of being academically
ples and discussing in which ways these vity – the teacher’s role and example as a assessed). The students are there to learn
concepts are relevant. ‘valid interlocutor’ (Lévine) is vital here, to to express their ideas and to think through
overcome moments of self-doubt or low problems rationally by exchanging ideas
These questions operate through concep- self-esteem – and committed to taking the and opinions, and to heal the wounds to
tualization and argumentation: ‘When can questioning ever further, to satisfy its intel- their self-esteem that can come from fee-
one say that an adolescent is free?’ (the lectual requirements. The community of ling inferior or stupid when their school gra-
concept of freedom); ‘In your opinion, why enquiry must inspire a climate of confi- des are bad. This can be achieved by
do adolescents often question the legiti- dence between the teacher and the stu- valuing their opinions and working from the
macy of rules?’ ‘Are they right or wrong to dents as well as among the group as a presumption that they can be taught to phi-
do so?’ (concepts of rules and the law, lega- whole, to limit students’ fears of being jud- losophize: in short, by being confident in
lity and legitimacy, ethics and politics); or ged by their teacher or their peers. their potential and letting them know it.
‘As an adolescent, what do you think of
other people’s opinions? Are they justified? This is particularly important with students
(concepts of other people, of opinions or who are failing academically while going
ethics). through the turmoil of adolescence, and
who may often be troubled by existing
Whereas psychology takes a cathartic family or social problems. For these chil- Michel Tozzi
approach to the verbal expression of emo- dren, it is their relationship to the world in Professor and expert in didactics
tions, philosophy looks to language to work general, with others and with themselves, (France)
through conceptual ideas, which can also that is problematic, and a refusal to learn
be cathartic for the adolescent in the way can be a manifestation of their great
that it distances and objectifies these anguish at being confronted by a destabili-
ideas, and from them creates an objective zing stranger. It is this difficult relationship

2) Theoretical and historical approaches to teaching
The Italian model of teaching philosophy schools has long taken the form of a
in school is often considered to be the veritable course in the history of
archetype of an approach based on the thought, organized by author from
history of philosophy. Philosophy is Thales to contemporary philosophers. In
taught in the last three years of scientific 2003, a national conference on philoso-
and literary secondary schools, as well as phy teaching organized by the Italian
in teacher-education colleges. In fact, Philosophical Association (Società
philosophy teaching in Italian secondary Filosofica Italiana, or SFI) provided a


Box 17
The ‘Brocca Programmes’ in Italy
The new programmes propose to teach future both in terms of making decisions the definition (however partial and
philosophy in all streams of secondary about the direction of their studies or incomplete) of learning goals; the propo-
education, including technical, vocatio- professional activities and participating sal of classroom methods that empha-
nal and business streams, because in creatively in society. The presence of size interrelationships between philoso-
this period marked by complexity and philosophy in all streams is motivated by phy and the students; the increased
rapid change we wish to give all stu- its capacity to awaken a critical and pro- value placed on flexibility in teaching that
dents the possibility to learn skills that blem-solving approach; to allow for a is not constrained by having to conform
are fundamental to their personal deve- closer relationship between different to pre-ordained objectives; and the
lopment. This is a matter of helping fields of knowledge; to encourage stu- emphasis these programmes place on a
them to come to their own opinions and dents to reflect on their conditions of life new quality of communicative, dialogical
make their own choices, to develop an and its meaning; and to incorporate a and educational relationship and on new
informed understanding of the world communicative dimension in the tea- ways of student assessment.
around them, to think critically and crea- ching-learning experience,.
tively, to understand the issues under-
lying different situations, to become The particularly innovative elements in
conscious of values and to be able to the Brocca programmes concern the Mario De Pasquale(34)
use information wisely: in short, to make way in which content is chosen; the cen- Chair, SFI Didactics Commission
them able to project themselves into the tral position given to philosophical texts; (Italy)

review of developments in, and the out- studying the principal philosophies that
look for, this teaching method. The disputed them historically and without
situation has recently evolved. The state- acquiring the conceptual and theoretical
ment issued by the special commission skills with which to give them mea-
charged with the reform of secondary ning’(35). De Pasquale argues that this is
curricula – the Brocca Commission, how this profound revision of traditional
named after its coordinator, Beniamino pedagogical practice gives rise to a
Brocca – showed a turning point in the didactic proposal that is at once histori-
methods and content of philosophy cal, oriented towards problem-solving,
courses. Without going into the details and dialogical: the ‘confilosofare’. ‘If the (32) Brocca Commission: ‘Le pro-
here of the proposals made by the com- classroom experience of philosophy poste della Commissione Brocca
(‘Programmi Brocca’),
mission(32), it is interesting to observe occurs within the register of understan-
how philosophy teachers and educatio- ding, of rational clarification, of pro- This is a page on the Italian Web Site
nal specialists have interpreted this ‘new blem-solving, then why can the philoso- for Philosophy. On this point, cf. also
Armando Girotti, ‘L’insegnamento
course’ in secondary philosophical phical experience itself not open onto della filosofia in Italia: nuove teorie e
pedagogy(33). disciplines that are equally oriented nuove pratiche; Alcuni riflessioni a
margine del convegno della SFI’.
This is a real turning point in philosophy towards the advancement of understan- Communicazione Filosofica, 13,
teaching in Italy. During the 2003 confe- ding, the search for meaning – be it 2004,
rence, Mario De Pasquale said that through interrogation or through the (33) Although traditional curricula still
exist in taly, philosophical practices in
‘these past decades of debate over the cognitive approaches of enquiry and the classroom have been consideraby
didactics of philosophy have now made research? There is no need to cancel out influenced by the new directions ins-
pired by the Brocca Programmes as
it clear that there is a false opposition the specificity, the particular richness well as the proposals of the SFI in
between the problem-solving and the and depth of philosophy, by merging it 2000.
historical approaches. Philosophical pro- with literature and art, or by superimpo- (34) Mario De Pasquale,
‘Enseignement de la philosophie
blems are born in the human sphere. sing research methods. The particularity et histoire de la philosophie’.
Classical philosophical analysis has deve- of this intent, the contents, methods and Diotime-L’Agorà, 2, 1999.
loped around problems. It is evident that means of doing philosophy, must all
(35) Mario De Pasquale, ‘Alcuni pro-
the study of philosophy requires know- remain outside of the discussion. blemi attuali in didattica della filoso-
ledge of history, notably in order to dis- Philosophical research methods must fia’. Comunicazione Filosofica, 13. Note also the presentation
cuss and resolve the problems of our remain solidly tied to the thought and by Fabio Cioffi, ‘La situazione della
own time. It is true that one cannot learn rational conduct of research itself. didattica della filosofia in Italia attra-
the encyclopaedic history of philosophy Problems arise from things themselves verso l’evoluzione dei manuali scho-
lastici’, presented at a colloquium at
through the study of historical doctrines and are formulated philosophically the University of Medellin, Colombia,
alone. It is also true that philosophical within the tradition. Students learn to in 2003. This document comes from
the Web site on the teaching of phi-
problems cannot be confronted and dis- recognize, discuss and resolve them in losophy, Il giardino dei pensieri,
cussed seriously by students without class, starting off with reality and


appropriating philosophical content and learning to do philosophy we learn to
methods from the work already done by think, the contrary is not necessarily
philosophers (centrality of the philoso- true. Our French colleagues have taken
phical tradition), and known through the risk in their schools that philosophy
their published works (centrality of the can transform from a mannerism of
philosophical text). The translation of ‘argumentative rhetoric’ or ‘pure debate
these theoretical foundations into peda- of opinions’ into a ‘philosophizing philo-
gogical practice requires a revision of sophy’ between students who do not
traditional practices, a breaking down of know the elements of the tradition or
the rigid barriers that separate different who are not equipped with the means to
fields of experience and knowledge, and read and understand a philosophical dis-
a tendency to promote significant philo- course, nor to prepare one either orally
sophical experiences in which research or in writing. We must bring to the cen-
advances through multiple enquiries and tre of attention the concrete processes
a multiplicity of discourses and langua- by which students learn and produce the
ges – each with its own particular content and form of philosophical know-
strengths. Contributions from other dis- ledge, through which the living philoso-
ciplines enrich the different methods of phy of the students today relates back to
philosophical enquiry, and also allow stu- the tradition’. The Italian discussion and
dents to develop hypothetical solutions De Pasquale’s proposals at the SFI are
that they can then examine, discuss and direct echoes of the ten projects propo-
criticize through intersubjective argued sed by the French Association for the
(36) Ibid. communication’(36). Creation of Institutes of Research into
(37) Association pour la création the Teaching of Philosophy (ACIREPH –
des Instituts de recherche
sur l’enseignement de la philosophie ‘Let’s learn from the French experience’ Association pour la création des Instituts
(ACIREPH), Manifeste pour l'ensei- is De Pasquale’s conclusion. ‘Our French de recherche sur l’enseignement de la
gnement de la philosophie. Paris,
April 2001.
friends and colleagues invite us to reflect philosophie), in response to its Manifeste on the thesis that, while it is true that in pour l’enseignement de la philosophie,

Box 18
Manifeste pour l’enseignement de la philosophie – A manifesto for the teaching of philosophy (extracts)

Sixth project: Integrate knowledge and should learn about the history of philoso- (2003–2004) is indirectly asking a fun-
learning to philosophize. phy. For example, philosophy has damental question concerning the distri-
Learning to philosophize involves lear- always fed on things outside itself, and bution of philosophy class hours in the
ning to think through appropriating philo- we wouldn’t be able to philosophize the final year of secondary school. There
sophical and non-philosophical know- least bit about science, art or religion can be no question of covering, in the
ledge. In exaggerating, often to the were we not equipped with a solid and space of a school year, all of the philo-
point of caricature, the legitimate dis- precise knowledge about certain funda- sophical problems about the world or
tinctions between thinking and knowing, mental episodes in the history of society that can legitimately be posed,
between philosophy and knowledge, or science, certain artistic and aesthetic or that we all, in one way or another, ask
between the course of a living thought currents, certain religious texts. If philo- ourselves. Nor can there be any ques-
and the wisdom of the philosophers, one sophy is to remain pertinent, we cannot tion of explaining all stages of the his-
winds up rejecting all serious reflection avoid the question of the place it should tory of philosophy, or of covering each
on how to integrate all of these in the give these indispensable elements of of the doctrines that were developed
classroom. For example, in a philosophy knowledge, given that they are not within them.
course organized around particular pro- actually taught in secondary school. In
blems, students cannot take these on asserting that ‘the aim of teaching philo-
seriously without knowing the main philo- sophy in final-year classes is to encou-
sophical options that they have engen- rage students to engage in critical thin-
dered, and through a progressive mas- king and to make rational judgements,
tery of the conceptual distinctions that and to offer them an introduction to phi-
give them meaning. These options and losophical knowledge’, and that ‘these Manifesto proposed by the French group
these distinctions are neither natural nor two goals are substantially united’, and of ACIREPH(37)
spontaneous. They arose in the history that ‘the study of works by the major
of philosophy and can only be encounte- authors is a constitutive element of any
red there. We cannot avoid the question philosophical education’, the French
of what students in an introductory class general syllabus in philosophy


published in April 2001. We reproduce themes to avoid giving too much impor-
here the parts most directly tied to the tance to knowledge relative to the thinking
dynamic between the historical, pro- process. We’ve moved away from a purely
blem-solving and didactic philosophical thematic or historical organization because
approaches, the sixth project of the such programmes tend to emphasise
Manifesto (see Box 18). knowledge as opposed to the cognitive
process – learning often becomes memory-
Let us close this section with a synthesis of based, and teaching tends to stick to the
these elements developed in a different book and to a predetermined body of data
context. Professor Mauricio Langon of to amass, without any real interest for the
Uruguay proposes an indicative argument. student. In centring the course on its
According to him, ‘the third-year syllabus is content, it becomes impossible to treat pro-
focused on philosophical problems and blems in any real depth, and we end up
draws on readings of philosophers from sacrificing quality for quantity. A problem-
different times and cultures. This pro- oriented course takes into account a uni-
gramme develops a problem-solving que and fundamental characteristic of phi-
approach – with students deepening and losophical thought, which is that any pro-
justifying their analyses – which creatively perly-presented problem involves the whole
integrates philosophy’s beneficial aspects of philosophy, but through argumentation
and its thematic (systems and concepts) and not through an accumulation of
and historical details, without distancing it facts’(38).
from the real interests of the students.
Students focus on concrete philosophical

3) Further promoting the teaching of philosophy at secondary level
Most of the respondents agree that philo- their skills in debating and analysis
sophy plays a role in training the critical (Mexico), and to develop in students a taste
mind. The chorus is unanimous. Mentioned of and respect for plurality of thought –
in this regard, among others, are philoso- contributing to the process of intellectual
phy’s capacity to: promote intercultural and ethical training (Venezuela). We should
tolerance (Germany); enable students to note that these statements are just a few
think clearly about their potential and their examples of the many comments UNESCO
limits (Argentina); develop their critical received during the course of the present
thinking (Belgium); promote respect and study. The responses to the survey speak
tolerance for the opinions of others – to volumes in that they offer a glimpse at the
educate for peace and democratic values many ways in which philosophy teaching is
(Burkina Faso); and to develop skills of criti- lived and experienced by its central actors.
cal and creative thinking, to justify opi- These reactions are equally of great impor-
nions, and to identify and give criteria tance in that a good number of them sug-
(Spain). Others mentioned philosophy’s role gest ideas for augmenting, or in certain
in consolidating knowledge and judgement cases initiating, the teaching of philosophy.
(Guatemala), teaching creative and critical We are unable to reproduce in detail all of
thinking (Iceland), and promoting the criti- the responses to the questionnaire, howe-
cal analysis of fundamental questions ver analyses of the proposals and critical
(Lebanon). Philosophy is seen to help stu- remarks are to be found in this chapter, as (38) Mauricio Langon, ‘Aperçu sur
la didactique de la philosophie’.
dents learn to analyse and to make respon- indeed throughout this book.
Diotime-L’Agorà 5, 2000.
sible decisions (Madagascar), to develop


4) Interactions between philosophy and other disciplines
The examples presented in this section its own vocabulary and means of demons-
come from the accounts of three teachers tration. This may move students to take a
from Switzerland: Mireille Lévy, Daniel reflective look at the somewhat naïve
Bourquin and Pierre Paroz(39). All of their notion that science presents the naked and
final-year students receive instruction in unvarnished truth. From this point, stu-
philosophy, in the form of a one-hour class dents can follow Newton’s demonstration
given by the philosophy teacher, plus ano- of gravitational forces in the Principia
ther hour in a classroom with two or three Mathematica(40) and watch him at work on
teachers. This second hour depends on the his geometrical model, which illustrates to
student’s option or stream – the teacher or the students that science is made and that
teachers of the specific discipline and the the great physicists do not produce their
philosophy teacher teach in the classroom paradigms fully-formed. There is a practice
together. of science and this practice cannot be
confused with finished science. This is also
(39) Mireille Lévy, Daniel Bourquin An interdisciplinary approach: an opportunity for students to exercise cri-
and Pierre Paroz, ‘Enseigner la
philosophie en interdisciplinarité: philosophy and physics – tical autonomy. Finally, the group might
un pari risqué dans un gymnase the application of mathematics take up the debate between Einstein and
(lycée) suisse romand’.
Diotime-L’Agorà, 27, 2005. Bergson on the absolute nature of lived The difficulties encountered by secondary- time, or Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s writings
(40) Sir Isaac Newton, school science students are due more to on the problem of perception. It is also pos-
Mathematical Principles of Natural
Philosophy, translated by Andrew poor modelling than to lacking the mastery sible to look with the students at the per-
Motte, First American Edition. New of mathematical proofs. As such, when tea- ceived world in light of the abstract quality
York, Daniel Ardee, 1846. Original
title Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia ching such students it may be useful – for of Einstein’s model of relativity. Descartes,
Mathematica., available online at example, in looking at Newton’s laws of in what is known as the Wax Argument
motion – to stress the fact that such laws of said that to properly understand the nature
(41) Gymnase refers here to the
final three years of secondary mechanics do not describe a ready-made of wax requires more than perception, but
education. world, but offer a paradigm complete with intelligence. For him, perception is science

Box 19
An illustration of the interactions between philosophy and the sciences

An experiment at a gymnase(41) in the approach, proponents were not trying to losophy and economics and law, philoso-
canton of Bern allows us to observe a give philosophy any role other than the phy and music, philosophy and the visual
number of possible ways that philosophy service of each of the other subject arts, philosophy and modern languages,
can be integrated with different subjects areas: their objective was to illustrate, philosophy and psychology and peda-
in the sciences. The teachers at the for example, the complex reasoning gogy. The fact that students are disco-
Bienne Gymnase are convinced of the involved in the formulation of an explana- vering philosophy through the areas of
importance of this, and have instituted tory or interpretive hypothesis. knowledge in which they have made the
an original way of teaching philosophy in greatest investment, with which they
which students are introduced to the his- A relationship based on dialogue and often have a personal interest in – and
tory of philosophical ideas alongside a reciprocity can be established between which some of them will continue to be
study of various contemporary issues. philosophy and other subject areas, involved with in their professional lives
This method of teaching philosophy in even if philosophy plays the role of a as well – makes for greater motivation in
terms of its interaction with other sub- meta-discourse. This interdisciplinary their analysis. This motivation can help
jects demonstrates to students that the approach highlights the extent to which them to overcome the difficulty of taking
focused approach to reality practised in the history of philosophical ideas is una- on philosophical themes. The detour
any particular academic subject, scienti- voidable, even if its point of departure is through philosophical analysis hones
fic or otherwise, must also be integrated outside philosophy – in the experimental their perception of their own field of study,
into a philosophical questioning of reality sciences, the human sciences or the and many of them become aware of this
as a whole, and of the overall meaning arts. This method aims to arouse stu- during the process.
of our presence in the world. The dents’ curiosity about the classical
method highlights the fact that human canon, to show that these documents
reality cannot be reduced to the single- from the past continue to speak to us,
focused perspective we find in, say, bio- by still confronting us with choices. After Mireille Lévy, Daniel Bourquin
logy, psychology or sociology, or even three years of working under this model, and Pierre Paroz
to an interaction of various scientific the school has come to a largely positive Teachers, School of Philosophy,
viewpoints in a more complex model. In assessment of the interaction between Gymnase de Bienne
proposing this interdisciplinary philosophy and maths and physics, phi- (Switzerland)


in the process of being born. But Merleau- on evolutionary psychology regarding the
Ponty argues to the contrary,that modern relationship of self and society. The class is
science makes the world comprehensible to asked to study Laborit's image of humanity
us. For example, Einstein’s relativity shows and the world, which is known as natura-
that there is no such thing as an observer lism. This image is frequently defended by
without a location, and that no knowledge biochemists, sometimes unconsciously, and
is complete. An interdisciplinary approach the philosophy teacher will counter it with
that brings together philosophy and physics another. The students take sides and argue
can open students to a new understanding the two positions, first on the level of gene-
of the great texts of the canon by moving ral truths, then with the help of ethics-
from their knowledge and preoccupations based problem-solving, the contribution of
to a better view of the pertinence of the Declaration of Human Rights, or an
philosophical enquiry. examination of the principles of philoso-
pher John Rawls’ A Theory of Justice(42). To
An interdisciplinary approach: finish, the students form a bioethics com-
philosophy and biochemistry mittee charged with setting priorities in
organ donor cases. The discussion and
‘Proof’ is a word much favoured by science debate take off quickly. and those who
students. Science, especially chemistry and take an active part will gradually acquire an
biology, are proven; ethics are not. As such, expanded awareness of rationality.
the means of ‘proving’ non-scientific thin-
king, such as philosophy, religion, poetry An interdisciplinary approach:
and art, tend to make science students philosophy and music
smile. They are aware that many spheres of
existence are exempt from the type of veri- This course is constructed so that solo-
fication used in the natural sciences. taught classes allow for a critical perspec-
However they tend to think that this makes tive of the themes and works studied in the
them matters of opinion – subjective ques- duo hour with two teachers, thus providing
tions, that is, questions of taste and prefe- matter for reflection and analysis. There is
rence. Many science students feel that thus both complementarity and tension
rationality is the monopoly of scientific between the two parts of the approach.
practice: a restricted, narrow concept that Whereas in the music course the accent is
would seem to be ruinous to philosophers. put on Gregorian chant, with texts by
To philosophers, on the other hand, ratio- Boece as support, the solo philosophy hour
nality is understood in quite different carries out Kantian and Pascalian critiques
terms, as a counterpart to arbitrariness and of knowledge. At the same time as the
fanaticism. This is where philosophy’s role theological and hermeneutic approach is
comes in. As the proof-based notion of sketched out on the theme of Johann
rationality corresponds to the general way Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion, the main
of thinking among these students, then currents of contemporary atheism and their
we’ve no choice but to take it as our star- hermeneutical principles – Feuerbach,
ting point and try to develop it further from Marx, Nietzsche and Freud – are presented
there. Here are two brief historical exam- in the solo class hour. The student is thus
ples. First, the attempt to reconstruct the destabilized, or moved towards the need to
historical aspect of the development of take a position. Such an approach puts the
modern chemistry as a science. During the question of meaning at the heart of aesthe-
eighteenth century, the old alchemical tic emotion. It urges each musician to
model was replaced with a new theory entertain an existential dialogue with the
based on the hypothesis of phlogiston, a musical works.
premise resting on the supposed existence
of a fiery matter liberated upon combustion An interdisciplinary approach:
and the weight of which was thought by philosophy and visual arts
some to be ‘negative’. Following a discus-
sion of this, the students watch Alain Introducing a philosophical approach to
(42) John Rawls, A Theory of Justice.
Resnais’ film Mon oncle d’Amérique, a film students of the visual arts is similar to intro- Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard
written to illustrate Henri Laborit's theories ducing it to music students in principle. University Press, 1971.


Two particularly powerful points in the philosophical teaching methods into other
course should be noted. First is the study of courses or the teaching of philosophical
an icon by the medieval Russian artist, skills. The cross-disciplinary approach to
Andrei Rublev. This is preceded by an analy- teaching philosophy, which is aimed at
sis of images from the press or Benetton developing philosophical skills or reinfor-
advertisements. Students also watch Andrei cing philosophical approaches in other sub-
Tarkovsky’s movie Andrei Rublev. The stu- ject areas, must not be thought of as a
dents, who are often irritated at first by substitute for philosophy as a wholly inde-
having had to sit through the three-hour pendent subject area – a subject that is cen-
long film, begin to construct an analysis of tred on the development of critical thinking
a work that is resistant to any immediate and the intellectual faculties through stu-
understanding, and in the process they dying the knowledge, concepts and history
come to understand the interaction bet- of philosophical thought. Brazil academics,
ween aesthetics and subjective truths. A in particular, stress the importance of reco-
second powerful part in the course introdu- gnizing philosophy as a subject in its own
ces a painting by Pierre Bonnard which by right, and point out the momentum that
challenging the conception of the body as philosophy can in this way give to a greater
objective gives access to the body as lived in interaction between the study of philoso-
the fragile moment of a meeting. phy at secondary and higher levels. They
also emphasize the importance of teachers
One of the questions that arises when we having qualifications appropriate to the
speak of an interdisciplinary teaching stra- different configurations of classes.
tegy for philosophy concerns the co-exis-
tence of philosophy as a separate school
subject, alongside the introduction of


III. Taking stock: Institutions and practices
1) The diversity of school systems around the world
Philosophy is primarily taught in secon- of little interest to the students’. He cor-
dary school in one or more of the last rectly raises the question of ‘student pas-
three years of secondary school. In some sivity’, and asks ‘how could it be other-
countries, such as Morocco, Portugal, wise when no challenges have been laid,
Uruguay and a number of sub-Saharan no discussion instituted, no dialogue ini-
African countries, it is not confined to tiated, between students and teachers’.
the sciences, literature, economics or ‘Knowing how to deliver philosophy tea-
social studies secondary-school streams, ching in the vocational schools’ remains
but is also included in the technical and an open question in his analysis. We are
vocational streams. Philosophy is not unable here to go into the specifics of
taught only in schools for students desti- philosophy teaching in vocational
ned to go on to university, but is inclu- schools. Suffice it to remark that the
ded in secondary-level vocational often marginal role reserved for the sub-
schools, where the teaching strategies ject in these schools seems more the
and objectives are likely to be different result of unsuitable teaching practices
from those of other secondary schools. than any lack of usefulness inherent to
Simon-Pierre Amougui, National philosophy itself. Alfredo Reis, a philoso-
Inspector for Philosophy in Yaounde, has phy teacher in Coimbra, Portugal, has
mentioned the difficulties associated explained with great clarity the key (43) Simon-Pierre Amougui,
with teaching philosophy in technical issues involved in the debate over whe- ‘Améliorer l’enseignement au lycée
secondary schools in Cameroon(43). He ther philosophy should be a mandatory Diotime-L’Agorà, 4, 1999.
writes that ‘in looking at the philosophy subject in all secondary schools.

courses or lessons given to technical stu- (44) Alfredo Reis, ‘La situation de la
philosophie’. Diotime-L’Agorà 1,
dents, it is clear that their objectives, 1999.
content and teaching approach are often

Box 20
Introduction to philosophy in Portugal: a meeting place for knowledge and experience

The subject ‘Introduction to Philosophy’ is tal power to it. I would even say that the has a distinctly formative and interdiscipli-
included in the general education group in Education Reform gives it a civilizational nary aspect, and is intended to develop
the tenth and eleventh years of schooling, dimension in the sense that it demonstra- openness to contemporary questions by
with three hours per week of classes. All tes awareness of the importance of having being student-focused, so that students
Portuguese secondary students take two or not having philosophy as part of our edu- can become dynamic agents in their own
years of philosophy. The Education Reform, cation during our youth. The “Introduction learning process.
which stipulates that ‘Introduction to to Philosophy” course was conceived as a
Philosophy’ is the second-most important ‘meeting place for knowledge and expe-
subject of the core curriculum, has given rience, a special place for the emergence
philosophy a level of dignity almost equal to of critical thought, the expansion of
that of Portuguese classes, and accords conceptual fields, the exercise of freedom Professor Alfredo Reis(44)
irreplaceable educational and developmen- and the widening of horizons’. This course (Portugal)

The fundamental difference between this goals come up against the communication
type of teaching and the discipline of philo- of content that can help prepare for subse-
sophy as it is taught in the literary secon- quent university study. In another article,
dary schools – in Portugal a third year of Reis stresses the different skills that these
philosophy, entitled simply ‘Philosophy’, is functions require of the teaching body, and
included in the final year of study in the the difficulty, for teachers of the
humanities, economics, and social studies ‘Introduction to Philosophy’ class, of rethin-
streams – lies where formative and critical king traditional models of the course while


at the same time avoiding the danger of a Proposals designed to democratize philoso-
simplification of philosophy for students in phy teaching in countries where it is essen-
the vocational streams. It is a matter of tially reserved for secondary schools tend to
ensuring that philosophical categories and inspire the liveliest discussion, particularly
concepts serve the development of the stu- at the point when the courses are being
dents’ character, no matter the academic finalized.
stream in which they are enrolled.

2) Teaching methods and practices around the world:
Case studies*
The daily work of educational specialists more of the three streams available –
– school teachers, often, devoting part literary, economic and social, or scienti-
of their time to thinking about the fic. There is testimony in this sense from
conditions and practices of their profes- Belarus, China, Colombia, Jordan, the
sion – as well as the responses to the Russian Federation, and Turkey. A gene-
UNESCO questionnaire, help bring into ral survey of philosophy teaching cannot
focus certain general trends in philoso- be limited to its presence as such in aca-
phy teaching around the world. To begin demic curricula; a large part of this study
with, it appears that teaching philosophy is necessarily devoted to the different
as a distinct subject is reserved in most pedagogical systems and practices which
cases for the final years of secondary govern the teaching of the subject. This
schooling and in schools that centre on diversity is of interest not only with
the humanities, the sciences and econo- regard to pedagogical technicalities, but
mics. A lesser, though not negligible, also because the different ways in which
portion is to be found in vocational the teaching is organized play an essen-
secondary schools or institutes. Where tial role depending on whether the lear-
the first phase of secondary school calls ning of philosophy is designed to edu-
for a common initial curriculum, as in cate towards a critique of knowledge, to
Morocco, it is not at all unusual to see accompany moral, civic, or religious ins-
various forms of philosophy being truction, or to reinforce consciousness of
taught, such as moral education, logic, identity. In federal countries, the defini-
civics, ethics or, as is the case in tion of academic curricula is generally
Uzbekistan, cultural identity. The deci- left to the states, provinces, or cantons.
sion has been taken here to distinguish For them, diversity unfolds at the inter-
between philosophy as an independent state level. We can take Switzerland as
subject and the teaching of philosophical an example.
concepts. The latter seem only to fulfil
the functions of philosophy teaching by One thing that stands out overall is the
turns, sometimes targeting reasoning, as absence of philosophy as a mandatory sub-
in the case of logic courses, sometimes ject in English-speaking countries. As one
seeking to impart a body of knowledge Malawian writer put it, Malawi ‘being an
or values but without concern for that English-speaking country, philosophy is
knowledge being used to develop the only taught here at university’. In South
critical mind. In other cases, philosophy Africa it is the same. This is a phenomenon
appears in the guise of moral, civic, or that gives food for thought about the
religious instruction, or as a form of hori- impact at both the pedagogical and the
zontal instruction most often conferred academic levels of teaching philosophy in
on teachers of other fields who are then schools, not only because the English-spea-
required to augment their qualifications king world today represents the leading
with philosophical credentials. Some res- community of philosophical academics in
ponses to the questionnaire report on quantitative terms, but also because this
*Countries according
to alphabetical order in the original national projects to introduce philosophy absence calls into question the relation bet-
French version. into the secondary curriculum in one or ween philosophical education and democratic


Box 21
Recognition of philosophy at federal level in Switzerland

The Règlement de reconnaissance des week during the last two years, or, phical skills, sometimes on textual analy-
maturités (RRM)(45) introduced in 1998 finally, as diploma work (TM) for one sis, and rarely on a philosophical disser-
brought about considerable modifica- hour per week during the final year. This tation. The goal remains essentially to
tions in secondary studies in general is done with one or more teachers if the make the students themselves willing
and philosophy teaching in particular. subject is interdisciplinary and results in and able to think philosophically, and to
This field does not appear as a core a ten-page written report and a year-end be inspired by thinkers from the past.
mandatory subject for all students, oral exam. The dominant practice is
excepting, it is true, in certain principally rather historicist in the sense that it is as
Catholic cantons (Valais, Fribourg, Uri, much about learning philosophy as it is Christian Wicky(46)
Schwyz, etc.) where philosophy is a about learning to philosophize, with Secretary of the Secondary Education
mandatory subject, taught during the course content from the Pre-Socratics Philosophy Teachers’ Society
last two years for three or four forty-five- to Sartre being not at all unusual. Given (Switzerland)
minute periods per week. What is truly however the great freedom granted to
new is the federal recognition of philoso- the cantons as much as to schools and
phy’s status, which has had multiple teachers, it is quite difficult to sketch out
consequences, such as the right to phi- a dominant model. All the more so in
losophy for all, obliging all cantons to that even final-year exams are not at all
offer philosophy either as an supplemen- centralized. It is the teachers themsel-
tary option (OC) for two hours per week ves who set the exams for their own stu-
during the last two years, or as a speci- dents. The focus is sometimes on histo-
fic option (OS) for four or five hours per rical knowledge, sometimes on philoso-

consciousness. Nonetheless, the absence reforms regarding the final year of secon-
must be addressed. Philosophy courses are dary school, which have reduced the num-
offered in some secondary schools in the ber of teaching hours of literature and phi-
United States, although they are not pres- losophy to the benefit of the sciences. In
cribed by the national school system. They Burundi, students are taught only a compi-
are in fact complementary courses left to lation of philosophy authors and certain
the initiative of each academic theories. Continent-wide, there is a pro-
establishment, or to the good intentions of blem in the lack of a critical mass of univer-
a few teachers. Rarely will a secondary sity-level teaching capable of ensuring a
school hire a teacher primarily in order to stable presence of philosophy in schools.
teach philosophy. This remains a secondary Through these different situations we see
duty given, if need be, to teachers of other typical examples of the interdependence of
subjects who happen to have some compe- secondary- and university-level teaching.
tence in the subject. On the other hand, On the one hand, the best professors tend
philosophy courses are regularly offered in to be recruited by universities in other
the very prestigious Prep Schools, the regions of the world – Europe and the
jewels of secondary schooling in the United United States, but also China and Australia;
States. on the other, those who remain cannot
manage to attract enough students to gua-
In French-speaking Africa and a number of rantee a minimum number of high-quality
other countries, philosophy is taught accor- graduates and scholars. It is a veritable aca-
ding to the French system, not appearing demic brain drain that not only deprives the
until the final year of secondary school. This continent of its best resources, but also
is true in Mali, and also in Burkina Faso. The shuts off the means to regenerate them.
testimonies we received draw a complex
picture. Writers from Côte d’Ivoire indicate Latin America and the Caribbean
that at the secondary level, philosophy
courses are offered as of the second-last Brazil. The Brazilian example is of great (45) ‘Regulation for the recognition
year of secondary education, but there importance in a number of ways. For one, of secondary school diplomas’.
have been suggestions to introduce philo- it allows us to observe the difficulties invol- (46) Christian Wicky,
‘L’enseignement de la philosophie’.
sophy into the preceding year. In Niger ved in the introduction (or reintroduction, Diotima-L’Agorà, 7, 2000.
there is some discontent with recent rather), of philosophy as an independent


Box 22
The development of philosophy teaching in Brazil

Philosophy has been part of the school subject in 1925, with a frankly encyclo- shape of the courses required to arrive
curriculum in Brazil since the opening of paedic face. The educational reforms of at such a goal, the practical result of
the first secondary school by the Jesuits 1932 and 1942 maintained logic and which has been the inclusion of philoso-
in Salvador de Bahia, in 1553. This said, the history of philosophy. With the esta- phy as a mandatory subject, but under
for more than three hundred years, until blishment of the military dictatorship, the aegis of the states and municipali-
the middle of the nineteenth century, phi- philosophy was once again officially ties. On the one hand, since being exclu-
losophy in Brazil had a clearly doctrinal deleted from the secondary curriculum ded by the last military dictatorship it
character, marked by Jesuit ideology. by Law 5692, and replaced by the new has become a sort of social dream, with
With the arrival of the deeply positivist- subject ‘Moral and Civic Education’ des- the freedom to teach it wedded to
influenced Republic near the end of the igned to guarantee national security and democratic conditions and the existence
eighteenth century, philosophy was to dampen its critical and communistic of a critical and non-authoritarian citi-
removed from the curriculum for the first counter-revolutionary impact. The new zenry. On the other hand, its concrete
time since its inception, because for reform in 1982 brought it back as an situation in the various states is preca-
positivism, science and not philosophy optional subject, a state maintained by rious. Many of them do not include it
constitutes the solid foundation of edu- the last basic legislative directive from among the secondary-level subjects, or
cation. From this moment onward, philo- the Ministry of National Education, num- do so only in a tenuous fashion, for
sophy was caught up in a series of poli- ber 9394, written into law in December example with only one class hour per
tical and pedagogical movements that 1996. In fact, according to Article 36 week during the last school year.
alternated between including and exclu- (Paragraph 1, Sub-paragraph 3), at the
ding it. It was to return in 1901 as a end of secondary schooling students
logic class in the last year of secondary must master, among other things, the
education, only to be withdrawn in philosophical and sociological know- Professor Walter Omar Kohan(47)
1911. It came back again as an optional ledge needed for the exercise of citi- University of the State of Rio de Janeiro
subject in 1915, then as a mandatory zenship. But nothing is said about the (Brazil)

subject matter. For another, it highlights the the Brazilian secondary school curricula.
social and cultural roles that teaching can After numerous legislative vicissitudes,
play in the democratizing of a country. In including a presidential veto in 2001, a
the third place, it makes patently clear the modification of Article 36 of the 1996 law
trouble with training and recruitment of was approved in July 2006 by the Brazilian
teachers in this field. Philosophy teaching in National Council of Education. The new
Brazil has followed the rhythm of the coun- text stipulates that ‘philosophy and socio-
try’s democratization. It was reintroduced logy shall be presented as mandatory sub-
into schools through the teaching reform jects at secondary level’. At the heart of the
law of 1996 after a long eclipse during the debate was the problem of training the tea-
years of dictatorship(48). ching faculty. The difficulty in training and
recruiting philosophy teachers, quite aside
In 2003, a team of scholars from different from its financial implications, was at the
Brazilian universities, under the directorship source of the 2001 presidential veto and
of Professor Kohan, conducted a detailed also of certain measures adopted at the
study of philosophy teaching in secondary provincial level.
schools in Brazil, a study that deserves to be
read(49). The main issue at stake in this In a study conducted in 1998 by the
debate in Brazil, which has been ongoing Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI)
(47) Walter Omar Kohan, for the past few years, is the introduction of and devoted to the philosophy curriculum
‘La philosophie pour enfants’. philosophy and sociology as independent at the secondary level among eighteen
Diotime-L’Agorà 6, 2000. subjects into the secondary curriculum. Latin-American countries(51), we see that
(48) Roger-Pol Droit, Philosophie et Introduced in 1996, the LDB (Lei de ‘wherever philosophy is still taught, the
démocratie dans le monde. Une Diretrizes e Bases da Educação, ‘National educational process put greater emphasis
enquête de l’UNESCO. Paris,
UNESCO. 1995. Education Bases and Guidelines Law’) man- on the history of philosophy than on philo-
(49) Alberto Favero Altair, Filipe dated that students master certain philoso- sophy as such’. Philosophy seems to be
Ceppas, Pedro Ergnaldo Gontijo, phical and sociological knowledge, but absent from the majority of school curricula
Silvio Gallo, Walter Omar Kohan,
‘O ensino da filosofia no Brasil: without requiring that these subjects be in Central America. In Nicaragua, where,
um mapa das condições asuais’, taught in and of themselves. This ambiguity we are told, it ‘has not been taught in
Cadernos CEDES, 24: 64,
September/December 2004. sparked a very lively debate about how secondary since 2000’, we also learn that these subjects should be incorporated into ‘the pedagogical trend in curriculum reform


Box 23
A vision for philosophy... in the Dominican Republic

A study entitled ‘How philosophy and the reinforces values such as honesty, logi- philosophy; and develop training mate-
teaching of philosophy in the higher cal rigour, respect, tolerance and a criti- rials designed for philosophy classes.
levels of secondary school are viewed cal awareness. The study came up with
by first-year students at the Pontifical the following recommendations: create The study also suggested that all school
Catholic Madre y Maestra University, forums to raise awareness of philosophi- libraries should have sections devoted
Santiago’(50) arrives at the conclusion, cal knowledge; offer philosophy courses purely to philosophical texts, and that an
among others, that the course content with anthropological and epistemologi- annual philosophy competition should be
offered in philosophy at secondary cal themes in the final years of secon- established for young people.
school rely largely on memory-based dary school; increase teacher-training;
learning, whereas the teaching techni- emphasize that augmenting the teaching
ques, on the other hand, call upon parti- of-philosophy helps students develop Maria Ireme Danna, Johnny González
cipatory methodologies. Students think values; develop a teacher-education pro- and Ramón Gil, Professors
of philosophical knowledge as a tool that gramme specifically for the teaching of (Dominican Republic)

no longer aims to approach philosophy as a Peru. Philosophy teaching was checked in
specialized science but as a subject that is 2002 when the government withdrew it
complementary to other subjects’. In from the academic curriculum as an inde-
Mexico, schooling in the sciences has pride pendent subject. We might note that barely
of place, and philosophy is taught, princi- two years after this governmental measure
pally in the form of logic and ethics, throu- was taken, the Peruvian philosophical com-
ghout secondary school. Let us note also a munity has come out openly in favour of re-
2005 study on the teaching of philosophy establishing the subject, notably in the
by the Department of Human Sciences at Déclaration d’Arequipa, the name of the
the Pontifical Catholic Madre y Maestra host city for the national philosophy collo-
University, Santiago’ in the Dominican quium held in December 2004, of which
Republic (see Box 23). the salient parts are reproduced here.

Haiti. The new National Education and Uruguay. Philosophy is taught in the last
Training Plan (PNEF – ‘Plan national d'édu- three years of secondary school (students
cation et de formation’) aims to improve of fifteen to seventeen years of age), irres-
the quality of education across all levels. In pective of the academic stream taken by
this regard, a reform of secondary schoo- the student. Weekly hours differ according
ling is already in the pilot testing stage. to the option chosen. Mauricio Langon,
More precisely, the need for more teaching National Philosophy Inspector and
staff in the field of philosophy has been President of the Philosophy Association of
pointed out. A significant shortfall of philo- Uruguay, describes the way the subject is
sophy teachers can be expected and can taught in the school system in his country:
lead to an eventual decline in the subject. ‘Since 1885, philosophy has been taught in
the final three years of secondary school,
Paraguay. In response to the UNESCO for three hours per week. We estimate that
questionnaire, we read that ‘educational 60 per cent of students of fifteen to seven-
reform has diminished the subject so that it teen years of age receive at least one year
exists only as a specialized baccalaureate of training in philosophy, and 50 per cent
subject. In the past, technical baccalaurea- receive three years. There is great unifor- (50) Prepared as part of the October
tes included it in at least one year, and two mity in philosophy teaching at the national 2005 programme, in which
UNESCO participated, entitled
for the humanities. Philosophy has thus level, the same curricula, assessment ‘The development of critical thinking
been enormously reduced at the secondary methods, teachers and inspectorates. We through philosophy education
in the Dominican Republic’.
level. But the technical baccalaureates do do not necessarily find this same uniformity
(51) OEI, Análisis de los currículos
offer subjects such as ethics and citizenship in the official guidelines and freedom of de filosofía en nivel medio en
education, sociology and cultural anthropo- teaching tends rather to be increased than Iberoamérica. 1998.
logy, and politics and mathematical logic’. excluded’(52). (52) Mauricio Langon, ‘Aperçu sur la
didactique de la philosophie’.
Diotime-L’Agorà 5, 2000.


Box 24
Excerpts from the Arequipa Declaration

Assembled at Arequipa Peru for the and enhance the status of philosophy disappear from the current curriculum;
Sixth National Colloquium on Philosophy, teaching in Peru by redefining its core - To express our concern, in the face of
we declare objectives and by outlining rules, adap- the weak interest manifested by the
- That philosophy constitutes a consubs- ted to the reality of each region, for the Peruvian government, for the strengthening
tantial part of the fundamental heritage diversification of the curriculum; and reinforcing of philosophy teaching;
of human reason; - That it is necessary to institutionalize - To recommend that Peruvian universi-
- That our philosophical vocation is a the fundaments of a tradition of the tea- ties and educational institutions, as well
vocation for humanity, its history and its ching and learning of philosophy in Peru. as the Peruvian Philosophy Society,
problems; To this end, the universities and educa- come out publicly in support of the
- That in the face of the expansion and tional institutions should organize acade- necessity and urgency of philosophy for
consolidation of mass consumption, we mic events and exchanges; young Peruvians;
hold that it is necessary and urgent to we decide - To draw the attention of the national
stimulate among our youth a culture of - to proclaim philosophical education for philosophical community to the neces-
the philosophical mind that will enable young Peruvians as an urgent priority for sity of creating a tradition of research
future citizens to build a general unders- the veritable national education of future into and reflection on the teaching and
tanding of humanity and the world; Peruvian citizens; learning of philosophy in Peru, as occurs
- That philosophy enables the training of - to demand that the Peruvian governent in other countries in America and the
the critical mind and freedom of thought, give new support to the teaching of phi- world.
and promotes reflection on humankind losophy in our country’s educational ins-
and its destiny; titutions, and that it not be diluted in Source:
- That it is indispensable to strengthen other subject areas or be let simply to (Peru)

Venezuela. One respondent to the reform of 1962 attempted to adapt tea-
questionnaire declared that ‘philosophy, as ching to the social, economic and political
a subject offered to undergraduates in the realities of an independent state. Twenty
humanities, leans towards psychology in years after the introduction of the national
such a way that teachers do not need to languages, the landmarks for a different
specialize in the subject. Worse yet, the kind of education system have been plan-
official curriculum obliges them to abandon ted but the issues around the language of
philosophical content’. instruction have not been resolved’. What
are the consequences of using a foreign
Africa language in the learning process, especially
when that language has not been maste-
One common issue in many African coun- red? First, there is a reduction in the level of
tries is the linguistic dimension of philoso- motivation. Second, the transmitted know-
phy teaching. In a study by Coumba Touré, ledge has been poorly understood and
Professor in Education Sciences at the sometimes distorted. Finally, the ability to
University of Bamako in Mali, we see the analyze and to contemplate is reduced. This
difficulty of teaching philosophy in a school is the general context in which philosophy
system characterized by a sometimes is now being taught, for the first time, in
conflictual multilingualism. This ground- the final year of the secondary school, in all
level study(53) reveals a situation which sections. The hours, syllabus and content
seems to be shared by other French-spea- vary according the section. The most perti-
king African countries. After remarking nent problem is the language, because in
that the majority of students at a secondary order to understand the concepts one must
school in Bamako were having difficulties in understand the language of instruction.
learning philosophy, Professor Touré came Add to that the specificity of philosophical
to the conclusion that their troubles ‘were knowledge through the nature of concepts,
intimately tied to the problem of the lan- the divergence and diversity of ideas. This
guage of instruction’. He describes it thus: study demonstrates that there are problems
‘The Malian education system is a product tied to teaching methods, problems of a
(53) Coumba Touré, ‘Mali: les diffi- of colonisation. One of its consequences is linguistic order, problems tied to the wor-
cultés des apprenti-philosophes’.
that the first Malian students had to use a king conditions of the teachers and to the
Diotima-L’Agorà, 19, 2003. foreign language, French. The educational pedagogical means used. It closes in noting


that an efficient school system must com- an impact on their mutual evolution. These
bine both the immediate environment and points of contact of one language with
the general international context. In a another, one word with another, one philo-
recent text, Pierre Okoudjou, a member of sophical concept with another, come about
the school for training school inspectors in in and by translation – in the act of transla-
Benin, writes that ‘learning to think, to ting, which is both a manifest act of crea-
speak and to write in one’s native language tion and of reproduction. The translated,
is to give the advent of African philosophy, reflected word does not come from
understood in both the singular and the ‘nothing’ yet at the same time it must say
plural, its best chance’, for ‘once again, something once translated. Any process of
philosophy is to be found in the native lan- reflection upon or contemplation of other
guage and culture’(54). One might question cultures must necessarily be distilled via lan-
the pertinence and limits of these claims, guage. How is one to transpose a word, an
which seem to ignore the beneficial effects idea, a concept from one language to ano-
of multilingualism in many African coun- ther without denying, assaulting, dulling or
tries. But linguistic diversity and multilin- falsifying it? Language both defines and
gualism are, in different ways, among the bears an identity, and at the same time it
major preoccupations of African teachers continually calls on itself to go beyond
and scholars. It is not a simple matter of the itself, its continual evolution is an indispen-
organization of instruction. In an article sable condition for its existence. We can
that appeared in Politique africaine in refer here to a remarkable labour, the fruit
2000, the Senegalese philosopher of many years of work, the Vocabulaire
Souleymane Bachir Diagne clarifies the cog- européen des philosophies – Dictionnaire
nitive – epistemic – issue underlying linguis- des intraduisibles(56). Even though it focus-
tic diversity. He asks: ‘Does language deter- ses on European philosophy, the issues this
mine the logical categories we employ, and book raises and its overall polemic are
our fundamental notions of being, time equally relevant in other regions of the
and so on? What about translation, its pos- world. The book is a powerful invitation to
sibilities and effects? What we might call thought, notably through its vision of the
the philosophical and linguistic question in complex relationships between language
Africa today would benefit greatly from a and thought.
look at the history of translations of Greek
philosophical texts in the Islamic world, and
the way in which these translations turned
Arabic into a philosophical language.
Translating a philosophical problem into
Kanyarwand, Akar or Wolof, three langua-
ges that I speak, never fails to teach me,
first off, something about that language
and the referential system that it constitutes,
and secondly, something about the nature of
the philosophical problem itself’(55).
(54) Pierre-Claver Okoudjo,
‘Comment enseigner aujourd’hui
We can also cite the testimony of a Haitian
la philosophie en Afrique?’ In P.J.
respondent to the UNESCO study, accor- Hountondji (ed.), La rationalité,
ding to whom ‘the St. Francois de Sales une ou plurielle? Dakar, CODES-
RIA, 2007, p.288.
Institute of Philosophy has just launched a (55) Souleymane Bachir Diagne,
review of philosophy teaching, aiming ‘Revisiter la philosophie bantou’.
among other things to teach philosophy in Politique africaine, 77,
March 2000.
Haitian Creole’.
(56) Barbara Cassin (ed.),
It is in fact very enriching to consider the Vocabulaire européen des
philosophies – Dictionnaire des
porosity that can occur between different intraduisibles [European
languages: in ways they can inflect one Vocabulary of Philosophy: A
Dictionary of the Untranslatable].
another, ways they interact, and other ways Paris, Éditions du Seuil / Le Robert,
their encounters with one another can have 2004.


Box 25
Moving from one language to another: language and thought

The Vocabulaire européen des philoso- henceforth be held, or we could play the So each entry starts with a knot of
phies: Dictionnaire des intraduisibles pluralism card in making the meaning untranslatable concepts and proceeds
covers fifteen languages of Europe or and importance of differences manifest. by comparing networks of terminology
associated with Europe. The main lan- In this dictionary we have opted for the related to the concept – the distortion of
guages considered are Arabic, Basque, latter of the two, and it has been our which constitute the history and geogra-
English, French, German, Greek, ambition to construct a sort of cartogra- phy of language and culture. This is both
Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Norwegian, phy of European philosophical differen- a new kind of working tool that should
Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and ces by amassing our different transla- prove indispensable to the expanded
Swedish. The book contains 400 entries tors’ expertise. We wanted to explore scientific community presently develo-
and examines 4,000 words or expres- the connection between language and ping, and a guide to philosophical
sions, provided by 150 contributors wor- thought, by drawing from the problems Europe for students, teachers and aca-
king over a period of 12 years. The lan- commonly encountered when moving demics.
guage question is in fact one of the between languages: does mind mean
most urgent problems facing Europe. the same thing as Geist or esprit? Is Barbara Cassin
We could resolve it by choosing a domi- pravda justice or truth? What happens Philosopher and philologist
nant language in which all exchanges will when we translate mimesis as imitation? (France)

Asia and the Pacific sense, philosophy is an extension of the
moral education that is given in the first
Japan. Philosophy makes its appearance in and second levels of secondary school(58).
the Japanese curriculum in primary school Philosophy textbooks generally cover ideas
and at lower secondary levels (children of from antiquity that are representative of
twelve to fifteen years of age) in the form the world’s main civilizations, such as Greek
of ethical instruction. It extends into the philosophy, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism
second level of secondary as an optional and Confucianism. They also cover Western
ethics course within the more general fra- philosophy, in particular post-Renaissance,
mework of civic education. This is how and Japanese philosophy, including the
Professor Tetsuya Kono of the University of vision of nature, humanity and society as
Tamagawa describes the arrangement, in they appear in novels, literary essays and
an article that appeared in Diotime-L’Agorà poetry. These texts consider contemporary
in January 2005(57). Philosophy is taught ethical issues as well – such as bioethics,
through moral education, and is not accor- environmentalism and the global society. It
ded a proper class of its own until the should be noted in this context that the
second level of secondary. At that level, concept of ‘philosophical’ questions is
teachers teach their students how to judge often reduced to questions that relate to
ethical questions and how to acquire good our individual sense of the meaning of life.
moral conduct, in the context of teaching The content of our textbooks forms more a
good citizenship. So moral education in pri- history of thought than of philosophy.
mary and early secondary education often Japanese study books, in parallel with the
includes classes at school or a supplemen- Japanese course in ethics, seem to attach
tary training at home. Professor Kono des- more importance to the acquisition of a
cribes philosophy’s place in second-level general or historical knowledge of ideas,
secondary schooling as follows. It is taught philosophies and religions. The principal
in the Rinri (ethics) class, which is itself a aims of philosophical education in Japan
subject within Komin (civics, or civic educa- are not to develop the students’ critical
(57) Tetsuya Kono, ‘La situation
actuelle de l’enseignement de la tion). Komin comprises three subjects: thinking or their ability to construct a ratio-
philosophie au Japon’. Diotime- contemporary society (sociology), ethics, nal argument on a given subject.
L’Agorà, 24, 2004.
and politics and economics. The focus in
(58) An example of an ethics text ethics is on issues of life, morality and poli- Thailand. Philosophy in Thailand is taught
book is Ethics, 2001, published by tics, rather than philosophical issues such as throughout the seven years of secondary
the Mathematics Certification
Institute of Japan.
metaphysics, truth, knowledge, science or schooling, but not as a separate subject. It mind-body relations, for example. In this is taught in both general and technical


schools for two hours per week. It is cove- Europe and North America
red in the context of other subjects, such as
literature, history, ethics, religious studies, The International Association of Philosophy
civics or science. A holistic approach is Teachers (AIPPh) regularly updates informa-
generally employed. The respondents to tion about curricula and pedagogy on their
the questionnaire emphasize among other user-friendly on-line map of Europe(59). The
points their desire to improve the students’ Amiens school district also offers summary
abilities to come to grips with social and documentation in French on philosophy
economic problems. They indicate the teaching in most European countries.
importance accorded to philosophy tea- Some of this information has been taken
chers in Thailand, be they school teachers directly from the AIPPh Web site, but it also
or religious leaders such as Buddhist includes links to new material on Web sites
monks. that follow specific developments in diffe-
rent European countries(60). What is most
The study provided limited information striking in considering this region is the
from other countries in this region. diversity of educational systems in Europe.
Philosophy is taught in India at the upper
secondary level in years eleven and twelve, Professor Michel Tozzi(61) of the University of
for three to four hours per week on ave- Montpellier in France has identified five
rage, as part of classes in the scientific main co-existing educational paradigms
method and logic, and in history of philoso- within Europe, which allow us to see the
phy courses. In Indonesia, for the moment overall trends at work in this area. What is
there is no plan to introduce philosophy interesting in his work is his objective of
below the university level. Nonetheless, the identifying the pedagogical practices that
Department of Philosophy at the University help to establish philosophy as a school
of Indonesia (UI) has organized secondary- subject in its own right: in other words, to
school competitions on philosophical sub- move from a view of philosophy as a body
jects, particularly in the area of human of texts to an understanding of how philo-
rights. In New Zealand, we are told, there sophy, as a historically and university-based
is no official curriculum in the sense that field of knowledge, can be taught in the
philosophy is not treated as a separate sub- context of secondary education (and now
ject in secondary school. Certain ethical primary as well) – that is, how it can
and philosophical themes, notably to do become a school subject.
with interracial relations, are included in
the history and social studies text books as The dogmatic and ideological paradigm:
well as in language studies. Since This is the teaching and learning of a state
Uzbekistan’s independence in 1991, the philosophy. Philosophy appears as an orga-
education system has been reformed and nized and coherent response to fundamen-
new instructional norms are in place in tal questions about humanity. The focus is
accordance with the Education Law of on its doctrinal aspects – questions are
1997. Philosophy is taught in all years of asked, but their answers are provided,
secondary schooling, with course titles such incontestable by virtue of being based on
as ‘Cultural Identity’, ‘History of World reason. Doctrine is a world view, a theore-
Religions’, The Individual and Society’, tical construct that wants to account for
‘Family Psychology’, ‘Aesthetics’, and ‘The reality and enter into a relationship with
Idea of National Independence and Basic Truth – understood as absolute knowledge.
Enlightenment Principles’. We learn also Students can ask questions to make sure
that in Pakistan philosophy is taught in the they understand the lesson, but any objec-
sixth and seventh years (upper secondary), tions will be used solely to drive the doc-
as an option in the Literature, Economics trine ever more deeply home. Hence the
and Social Sciences sections. Philosophy is use of the term ‘dogmatic’: one cannot call
taught in combination with other subjects the pillars of doctrine into question with
such as literature, history or religious impunity, because it would crumble and fall
studies. without them. This world view is necessary (59)
to the maintenance of global society, and (60)
its function is to justify it. That is why there (61)


is a question here of an ideological para- confusion of philosophy and official ideo-
digm. The teacher, as a civil servant, trans- logy that must be investigated.
mits the official philosophy as doctrinal
truth. We could imagine, for example, The historical and patrimonial paradigm: In
Hegel’s philosophy raised to the level of this paradigm, philosophy is a major histo-
official state philosophy – perfected philo- rical form of culture, the manner in which
sophy as absolute knowledge in the perfec- humanity, in answer to the questions that it
ted state. There are numerous examples of asks about its own condition, has moved
this kind throughout history. In the Middle from mythos (myth, which tries to explain
Ages, the limits of any discussions among things in narrative and metaphorical
theologians were fixed by a defined inter- fashion), to logos (rational discourse, which
pretation of dogma. We can see shades of philosophy shares with science). It has
this in the more recent past in the form drawn up visions of the world in history,
taken by official philosophy teaching in kinds of explanatory systems of humanity’s
Franco’s Spain, or other regimes with close relationship to the cosmos, to others, to
ties to the Catholic Church. The Vatican’s itself. A history, then, of its attempts to
official philosophical doctrine of Thomism understand and to act wisely. It is incarna-
appears as official state philosophical ideo- ted in the authors, so many great names
logy. One can also consider the kind of phi- from history, who, in working out their phi-
losophy teaching that occurs or can occur losophical doctrines, have left their mark on
in a theocratic, fundamentalist, Muslim the history of thought, breaking with the
state. Here the ties between philosophy past and introducing new ways of seeing.
teaching and a religious belief in obedience This history is a precious cultural patrimony
to the state are clear, and this acceptance is to be preserved, studied and passed on,
used to reject the development of demo- because it is the visible trace, the testimony,
cracy and secularism as their opposite. In the core and the reservoir of fundamental
his thesis on the sciences of education, categories of thinking about the world.
Zouari Yassine has shown, through inter- And unlike in the history of science, these
views with both teachers and students of past visions are not obsolete but are alive
philosophy; the extent to which the Islamic with all their depth intact. So didactization
culture that is prevalent in Tunisia, a mode- here means the teaching of a history of
rate Islamic country for all that, can be a ideas(63) with its powerful and essential high
cultural obstacle to the spirit of free enquiry points marking this intellectual epic. For
into a number of proscribed topics and, example the Socratic dialogue, the Platonic
more generally, a hindrance to the develop- idea, Aristotelian rhetoric, Pyrrhic scepti-
ment of a culture of inquisitiveness(62). We cism, Stoic courage, Epicurean hedonism,
can also consider evangelists in the United Thomist theology, Cartesian doubt, the
States who are trying to proscribe the tea- Kantian imperative, Hegelian dialectic,
ching of evolutionary theory in science clas- Marxist surplus value, Nietzschean doubt,
ses and, more broadly, any ideas that are Freudian unconscious, Bergson’s durability,
counter to a certain interpretation of the Husserl’s description, Heidegger’s Dasein, etc.
Bible. There is also an inverse but symmetri-
cal atheist version of this dogmatism in the The problem-solving paradigm: This para-
countries of the former eastern bloc, where digm breaks with the two preceding ones.
Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism was imposed It has less to do with learning about one or
as the official philosophy, hunting down two philosophers than with ‘learning to
any idealist, spiritualist or liberal currents, philosophize’ (Kant). Philosophizing begins,
which were judged to be politically subver- as Aristotle said, with astonishment and
(62) See also excerpts from this sive. This was an attempt to eradicate the questioning. It is a process of attempting to
study in the section on philosophy
teaching in Tunisia on the following soviet dissidence of the mavericks – think through crucial questions and of
pages. because philosophy is also often the oppo- trying to answer them from beyond any
(63) One example of this view nents’ refuge – the counterpoint here of pre-formed opinions, beyond the common-
is to be found in Jostein Gaarder,
Sophie's World: A Novel about religious heresy, in their attempts to learn place and obvious. The challenge is to learn
the History of Philosophy, to think freely for themselves. There is a link to think for oneself. In considering these
translated from the Norwegian
by Paulette Moller. here too between philosophy and military problems it is important to recognize the
London, Phoenix House, 1995. dictatorship or moral oppression, the presuppositions that lie behind them or


that they entrain – that is, to size up what The decision-making (praxeological) and
is essential and what needs to be resolved ethical paradigm: named to draw attention
in order to think about the human condi- to the aspect of praxis, or action, this
tion, and the obstacles that can get in the concerns learning to act, and not solely to
way of that thinking. The teaching is struc- think, in order to live well and in accor-
tured around philosophy texts as well as dance with values. Doing philosophy invol-
the teacher’s lessons, which present exam- ves consciously adopting a certain ethical
ples and models of rational thinking and of conduct. To focus philosophical education
the concepts in question. Their aim is to exclusively on learning to think would be to
make sense of these questions in such a amputate the subject from a fundamental
way that the students begin to develop for dimension that, as Marx wrote in his essays
themselves an appropriate manner of thin- on Feuerbach, aims not only ‘to interpret
king that will progressively become their the world’, but ‘to transform it’. A histori-
world view. No history of ideas is needed, cal form of this paradigm is the wisdom of
because the concepts, doctrines and cour- the philosophers extolled in antiquity. As
ses are only there in order to prompt the the philosopher Pierre Hadot said, it takes
students to think; dictating an official philo- more than thought alone to illuminate our
sophy is even less welcome, because the understanding of the world. It targets a
goal is the students’ own personal evolu- certain kind of ‘good life’ true to reason
tion. This is the case in France, for example, and leading to happiness, be it through
where the culture must be invested in the judicious pleasure, Epicureanism, or the
positioning of the problems and the exercise of virtue, Stoicism. So in this para-
methodical attempts at formulating and digm philosophy is not just an intellectual
solving them, and where ‘the aim of tea- guide to its disciples, but also a guide to
ching philosophy in the final year of secon- action. We find a modernized notion of this
dary school is to encourage students’ to paradigm in the ethics courses of countries
access the deliberated exercise of judge- such as Belgium, Canada (in French-spea-
ment, to develop a sense of intellectual res- king Québec) and Germany. In Belgium,
ponsibility, to train independent minds from the starting point of an ethical
capable of employing a critical awareness dilemma for example, students must use
of the contemporary world’ (new analysis to learn to clarify and prioritize
curriculum for 2003). values, with a view to judiciously acting
ethically, and without these values being
The democratic and discussionary para- imposed, for they are the result of unfette-
digm: Here as well the aim is problem-sol- red examination. Engagement is a central
ving. What is different is the attempt to link notion here, in both the individual and the
the goal of learning to think for oneself to collective senses.
democratic objectives. Thus in the legisla-
tor’s mind, the teaching of philosophy is The Arab World
included in the prospects of education
towards citizenship or democracy (as it is As a general rule, philosophy at the secon-
put in English-speaking countries), but dary level has a long tradition in North
without being completely subordinated to Africa, and goes back in particular to the
it. The idea is that for democracy as a poli- French school system. Nonetheless, there
tical system to mature, it needs to have a are considerable differences among the
thinking citizenry, that is to say, citizens different countries.
with critical minds who can avoid the
excesses of which democracy is always Algeria. Abdelmalek Hamrouche, Dean of
capable: doxology, majority rule, sophistry, Philosophy Inspectors in Algeria, wrote in
persuasion by any means, demagoguery, 2001 that ‘since the colonial occupation,
and similar. As democracy is consubstan- no Arab country has managed to initiate a
tially tied to debate, which guarantees the pedagogy equivalent to Arab philosophical
right to speech and diversity of opinion, the thought and reality, or even to reconcile
issue is to instinctively consolidate the Western and Muslim philosophy. This state
democratic debate. of affairs has had disastrous repercussions
in the sense that students in this situation


have but little respect for the course’s evaluation for philosophy training. At the
analysis and profundity, and turn instead to secondary level this is done through com-
whatever is superficial and simple’(64). missions composed of teachers and inspec-
Another inspector of philosophy, Mohamed tors of philosophy. No other authority inter-
Tahari, wrote in 1999 that philosophy ‘is venes in this field, neither religious authori-
considered an essential subject in the arts, ties nor political parties. Only occasionally is
and marks in the subject are given a strong there consultation with political parties or
weighting factor in the baccalaureate exam scientific and professional organizations’.
(factor of five). It also receives a weighting According to reports that we have received,
of two for the sciences, maths and techni- the textbooks used today in Tunisian state
cal streams. Weekly class hours vary schools, and particularly the current text-
according to the student’s academic book for the final year of secondary school
stream. The philosophy curriculum is the and the new student book published in
same throughout Algeria’s forty-eight 2006, give specially attention to the spirit
departments – it is unified. It was put into of pluralism and diversity through their
place by a ministry commission, after selection of texts that cohere to criteria of
consultation, of course, with the speciali- diversity and cultural richness. In this case,
zed inspectors, who meet once or twice per the centralization of teaching materials
school year to discuss different issues in the seems to form a dam against the prolifera-
teaching of this field’(65). tion of doctrinal or proselytizing works. It is
worthwhile noting that, according to
Tunisia. Philosophy teaching in Tunisia has Professor Triki, ‘in secondary schooling as in
benefited from a policy of continuity at the higher education, study of the classics
secondary level. This direction has been occupies an important place. Their texts
confirmed and strengthened through two make up two thirds of the student text-
educational reforms, in 1988 and 2006, book’. Courses run according to the model
which introduced the teaching of philoso- of text and commentary, rather than follo-
phy in the year preceding terminale, in the wing the historical or problem-solving para-
Arts stream at first, and then in all streams. digms. All in all, it amounts to an education
As Professor Fathi Triki, UNESCO Philosophy in reading and textual comprehension
Chair at the University of Tunis, notes in a aiming to develop the essential skills of a
report on philosophy teaching submitted to philosophical education, that is, to develop
UNESCO in 2006, ‘the organization of one’s own ideas on the basis of direct exa-
philosophical studies in secondary and mination of a communicative text. This skill
higher education comes under the central is clearly developed under the tutelage of
public power, because the ministries of the teachers, who, just as for the commen-
Education and Training and of Higher taries included in the texts, are there to
Education are the authorities in charge of orient the students’ reading in one direc-
this subject. Especially at the secondary tion or another. Nonetheless the lesson
level, they contribute to the definition of structure must be underlined over and
the curricula to be taught, they decide on above the central fact of Ministerial compi-
the number of teaching hours to be given lation of the textbooks. As Triki notes, ‘the
to it and the evaluation methods to be prescribed methods have an interactive
used. The Ministry of Education and character where students are no longer
Training also organizes the development of simple receivers but partners who are called
philosophy textbooks’. This last remark to take responsibility for themselves and to
about the oversight of student books could participate in the building of knowledge
be considered perplexing. Nonetheless, he from the basis of the textual aid. Teachers
adds, ‘the role of the public authorities in are trained with this end in mind and a dia-
(64) Abdelmalek Hamrouche, the administration of the study of philoso- logical pedagogy in the sights. Some resis-
‘L’enseignement de la philosophie’. phy is to define the general aims of the tance has been observed among the least
Diotime-L’Agorà, 10, 2001. educational system and student profiles at young of the teachers. Students’ work is
(65) Mohamed Tahari, the end of each year of study. But this does submitted to a formative evaluation which
‘L’enseignement de la philosophie not lessen the role of the educational allows the teacher to properly prepare the
en Algérie’. Diotime-L’Agorà, 1,
1999. authorities, which is to define and to put candidates for their examinations, which into use the content, form and methods of occur in two ways: i) in the third year of


secondary school, students sit a test in the ‘literature’ and the ‘economics and social
form of separate exercises relating to speci- sciences’ streams. The course is entitled
fic objectives, ii) in terminale, or final year, ‘Basic Principles of Philosophy’. Philosophy
there is only one kind of test: to write a is also taught within literature and ethics
thesis on a given topic. A few sessions may courses. Philosophy is taught in Qatar, we
sometimes be given over to student presen- learn, in the final three years of secondary
tations’. Let us add that the latest reform in school for one or two hours per week.
secondary-level philosophy, which came Finally, responses from Jordan and Sudan
into effect in the autumn of 2006, attemp- indicate that philosophy is not included in
ted to bring the classroom texts into their secondary-school curricula.
alignment with current issues in philosophy
by increasing the amount of time devoted
to modern and contemporary philosophy
from different regions of the world.

Other Tunisian teachers and academics
seem to agree with the results. The
UNESCO study reports the view that
teaching philosophy helps the development
of a critical approach, fights against
dogmatism, assists students in learning to
be themselves while respecting others, and
helps to free them of fanaticism. The results
of a study of students’ image of philosophy,
conducted by Zouari Yassine(66) at the
beginning of this decade, in the terminale,
or final year, of the humanities stream at
four different Tunisian secondary schools,
highlight the fact that the values of com-
munication, discussion and openness to
other opinions and viewpoints are the most

We learn from responses to the question-
naire from Egypt that there is talk of refor-
ming the overall philosophical curriculum
as well as the classes offered and course
books. Philosophy has been taught in Egypt
at the secondary level since 1925. Courses
are entitled ‘The Principles of Philosophy’
and ‘Logic and Scientific Thought’ (availa-
ble for all streams), and ‘Philosophy and
Logic’ (available as part of the Literature
stream). The primary focus is on Islamic
philosophy, Muslim philosophers and their
contribution to the history of science.
Associations such as the Supreme Council
for Culture contribute equally to the tea-
ching of philosophy by organizing confe-
rences, public debates, and publishing
works of philosophy, as well as a magazine.
Respondents in Kuwait inform us of a des-
ire to augment philosophy’s presence in the
secondary, where it is taught in the final (66) Zouari Yassine,
‘Points de vue des élèves tunisiens’.
year of secondary school for one or two Diotime-L’Agorà, 9, 2001.
hours per week. and is mandatory in the


Box 26
The complex relationship with the Other highlighted in a study of four Tunisian high schools

Analysis of interviews with Tunisian interviewees’ image of the West is a aspects of these cultures, but in stu-
students shows clearly the concurrent mixture of a number of different dying their philosophies we are still
frequency of two inferred variables: aspects, with scientific progress, trying to critique them and to adopt
social and cultural obstacles to the atheism, technological power and the whatever suits our thinking and our
practice of philosophy, and the short- colonial past all mixed together. This society, above all because we are
comings in Philosophy teaching in the image remains strongly tied to the essentially a religious society’. We
country. In fact, the structure of philo- collective imagination in terms of pre- have to conclude, then, on the basis
sophy courses seems based on a uni- judice, reductionism and distrust with of these ambivalent attitudes to other
directional model in which discussion, regard to Western philosophy. cultures, that these students are not
seen as a value that emerges from Students can feel inspired to criticize contemplating the values of dialogue
the teaching of philosophical themes, Western philosophical culture, but and communication in their rational
is not given any concrete pedagogical they do so not to rethink particular and critical senses. The philosophy
weight. Interviewee X7 said that ‘in ideas, nor to reveal the limitations or that is being taught is not perceived
class, students try harder to receive what is unsaid in a particular philoso- as a form of analysis that enriches the
than to participate because it is a phical system. Their criticisms serve universality of human thought, in what
heavy curriculum and there’s not more to underline contrasts with the it calls reason or the analytical faculty
enough time. Students are only thin- traditional values of Islam, from which potentially possessed by every human
king about remembering what is being they draw an essential element of being. Imprisoned in the elevation of
taught so that they can use it later. their identity. That is why there is an their own beliefs and a purely utilita-
Given how little time there is, from the ideological cast to the doubts and cri- rian relationship with other people or
moment he or she enters the class- ticism they express. They are acting cultures, the students see in Western
room the teacher tries to dictate the out a withdrawal into the self more philosophical thought only advantages
lesson to us and that’s it’. than a natural openness to philoso- or disadvantages understood in refe-
phy. Consequently the collective and rence to their religious values. That it
Even though the value of openness to conformist ‘we’ that assimilates the is impossible to consider this sort of
other cultures or ideas is something individual wins out over the reflexive relationship with other people or cul-
touched on frequently in philosophy ‘I’, as the students’ comments show. tures as real openness is amply pro-
lessons, the students’ actual images Interviewee X16 said that ‘it is within ven by the contradictions that we wit-
of different cultures or different world the reach of anyone who has studied ness in these students’ comments.
views is not in fact influenced by phi- philosophy to enter into a dialogue
losophical concepts, and instead with Western cultures and to adopt
conforms to narrow traditional views, whatever suits his or her personality, Zouari Yassine
bearing witness to an absence of any society and culture. For example, we Doctor of Sciences of Education
reflexive link to philosophy. Thus the can study the intellectual and literary (Tunisia)


Box 27
The International Philosophy Olympiads

All students participating in the Olympiads that Asian students are among those who
write their essays in foreign languages. One have achieved the best results at the
can expect that philosophising in a foreign Olympiads.
language opens new dimension for transcul-
tural communication, using philosophy as a Two students and two teachers from each
common intellectual resource. The criteria participating country take part in the IPO
of evaluation are: relevance of the written yearly meetings. Nonetheless, thousands of
text to the chosen topic, philosophical students and teachers throughout the world
understanding of the topic, persuasive participate in national competitions – for
power of argumentation, coherence and ori- example, various national philosophy olym-
ginality. It should be made clear that we do piads. In many countries, the IPO has been
not expect students to just write an essay an incentive and an example that has been
presenting the ideas of a specific philoso- used to instigate national competitions in
pher. Rather, we hope that he or she will philosophy for secondary-school students.
focus on the problem suggested by the quo- Philosophical competitions such as these
tation using all relevant knowledge at hand. are an excellent way to encourage students
Since 1995, the IPOs have been assisted by to develop their interests in philosophy.
UNESCO. In 2001, FISP also became offi- Involving teachers in the long competition
cially engaged supporting the Olympiad. At process also opens new possibilities for
present this engagement involves FISP them to expand their professional compe-
representatives, together with representati- tences, and will certainly help in sending
ves of UNESCO, in the IPO’s Steering Board, positive messages to government decision-
which has a very important task in relation to makers and politicians. Countries participa-
the Olympiads: the final selection of topics ting in the IPO have very different systems of
for the competition. The IPO is one of a very education. In many of them philosophy is not
few educational activities for secondary stu- taught at schools, and preparing students
dents that are international, transcultural for national and then international competi-
and can fully be credited to the initiative and tion in this area requires truly devoted tea-
efforts of the teachers engaged. While chers and strongly motivated students.
European philosophical traditions have domi-
nated so far, the constructive effects of brin-
ging this into an encounter with other philo- Professor Josef Niznik (67)
sophical backgrounds has become clear in Institute of Philosophy (68) Founded in 1946, FIST is the
many of the essays written at the Olympiads Polish Academy of Sciences world’s most highly placed non-
during the past years. It is very interesting (Poland) governmental organization for
philosophy. Its major aims are as
follows: to contribute to the
development of professional
relations between philosophers of
all countries, conducted freely and
3) Other examples of initiatives at national with mutual respect; to encourage
contact between institutions,
and international levels societies and periodical publica-
tions devoted to philosophy;
collect useful documentation for
The International Philosophy Olympiads where they write a test on subjects selected by
the development of philosophical
(IPO(67)) is an annual international philosophy the FISP. In most cases they will have a choice study; sponsor the World Congress
competition for secondary students that has between sentences or thoughts from well- of Philosophy every five years, the
first having taken place in 1900;
been held since 1993. It was the initiative of known philosophers. The examination is set as promote philosophical education;
Professor Ivan Koley of the Philosophy either textual commentary or composition, to prepare publications of general
interest; contribute to the impact
Department at the University of Sofia in be written in a second language: French, of philosophical knowledge on
Bulgaria. Since 2001 the Olympiads have been English or German. world problems. Members of FISP
are not individual philosophers but
held under the auspices of the International philosophical societies and other
Federation of Philosophical Societies (FISP)(68). Another telling example on this point is that of such philosophical institutions at
the national, regional and
Students are selected from participating coun- the secondary-school philosophy clubs in
international levels. (Excerpt from
tries and invited to the organizing country, Turkey. the FISP web site. )


Box 28
Secondary school philosophy clubs in Turkey

Secondary-school philosophy clubs in The first secondary-school joint study in phi-
Turkey offer new and wide-ranging opportu- losophy in Turkey was conducted in 1995,
nities for philosophy teaching. In Turkey, phi- with the participation of students from
losophy teaching was first introduced at French, German and Austrian secondary
secondary-school level in 1911. Philosophy schools. These schools thus formed the
lessons were given more importance after core of the philosophy platform. Later on,
the foundation of the republic by Ataturk, nearly forty state and private or independent
based on the idea of ‘new person, new schools joined this group and the ILFKP
society’. Today, two hours of philosophy (‘Istanbul Secondary Schools Philosophy
classes per week are mandatory in all voca- Clubs Platform’(69) was thus founded. ILFKP
tional and secondary schools. The instruc- functions as an advisory and guiding body
tors of these courses hold philosophy that assists the philosophy clubs and coordi-
degrees from universities and have teaching nates their activities. Based in Istanbul, it
certificates. In secondary schools, elective has become a model for similar organiza-
courses of logic, sociology, psychology, tions in various other Turkish cities. The
democracy and human rights are available, Philosophical Society of Turkey(70) supports
in addition to philosophy. Secondary-school the activities of the ILFKP and the young stu-
philosophy clubs have provided a new dents learning to philosophize through its
dimension to this mandatory philosophy tea- Philosophy for Children unit. ILFKP teachers
ching, offering young people new opportuni- have also introduced an online forum(71). The
ties in philosophy education in terms of both ILFKP organizes academic events, including
content and format. The clubs, organized in conferences for students, academics, thin-
secondary schools, conduct extracurricular kers and writers. These experiences have
studies and activities in philosophy. The first shown that it is possible to teach philosophy
such club was founded in 1994 in the Saint outside schools and that this is a type of
Benoit French High School, soon to be follo- education that develops young peoples’ ana-
(69) ILFKP – Istanbul Liseleri Felsefe
Kulupleri Platformu wed by others. This club was initially des- lytic and creative capacities.
igned as an instrument to prepare students
for International Philosophy Olympiads (IPO).
(71) It nevertheless transcended the limits of this
function and has become, together with Extracts from a text by Nimet Kuçuk
(72) Nimet Kuçuk, ‘A platform of other similar clubs, an integral part of philo- Presented at the twenty-fifth International
high-school philosophy clubs in
sophy education in Turkish secondary Philosophy Olympiads
Turkey’. Critical & Creative
Thinking: The Australasian Journal schools. (Turkey)(72)
of Philosophy in Education,
May 2007.


IV. Philosophy at the secondary level: A few figures


Conclusion: Philosophy during adolescence:
A force for creative change

We often see philosophy credited with philosophy’s deconstructive effect should
providing a sort of ‘apprenticeship’ in always be coupled with a consistent involve-
reasoning. There seems to be an illusion here ment of the child’s teachers and peers. Like the
that must be dealt with straightaway. There educational process in general, philosophy can
are other subjects that would appear more sui- highlight already-present problems inherent to
table to training students’ logical and analyti- the process of the child’s personal develop-
cal abilities. Think of mathematics, which ment. For this reason, it is useful for children
offers an education in intellectual rigour and young students to become familiar early
through learning to construct proofs of things on with the practice of questioning, as
that might seem superficially obvious. We can opposed to its being introduced abruptly and
also mention the educative power of gram- relatively late in the educational process. What
mar, in particular the study of Greek or Latin is more, there is a danger that the critical
grammar, which constitute veritable tools with approach to knowledge could be used to sup-
which to develop student’s rational abilities. port ethnocentrist tendencies when it is
Philosophical reflection may pale in compari- brought to bear on ideas or beliefs that differ
son to these powerful instruments of logical from those of the students. Philosophy should
analysis. However the essential function of always be first and foremost a critic of one’s
philosophy in secondary school lies less in lear- own culture. When the criticism is directed
ning to reason than in learning to have a outwards, when it is used to oppose one’s
critical approach to knowledge and value own culture and ethos to that of other people
systems. Philosophy cannot be limited to – then it ceases to be an instrument for critical
any particular subject matter, in which one openness and becomes a means for cultural
could disregard certain parts of its content. entrenchment, a prop for all sorts of authori-
The pedagogical strength of philosophy lies in tarianism and fanaticism. That is why philoso-
both the critical structures that it teaches and phy, in the sense of the various categories of
the body of knowledge upon which it rests. philosophical knowledge, is not necessarily a
support for free and democratic interactions
This training in critical thinking that philosophy among individuals. Philosophers who have
provides – which above all concerns the ability been the most radically critical of their own
to critique a culture, one’s own culture – cultures – philosophers who by their very
makes philosophy a powerful instrument in essence are bearers of liberty – have nonethe-
the development of the child’s emerging per- less seen themselves drafted into the service of
sonality. As such it must be handled with care, the worst totalitarian systems.
because it can prove to be ambivalent on at
least a couple of levels. Calling value systems, Philosophy’s cognitive and cultural strength
morals and epistemic structures into question lies in the critical deconstruction that it teaches
is no anodyne activity at an age when the us to carry out on our belief and value systems
child’s or young adult’s personality is just – and thereby in the way it teaches us to conti-
taking form, and there is a strong argument to nually question the structure and ethics of our
be made for moving the age of first contact world view.
with philosophy and its practices to the early
childhood years. In light of these aspects of
philosophy – or of learning to do philosophy –


Copyright : Jérémie Dobiecki

Teaching philosophy in higher education
Philosophy in the university context

Introduction: The development and teaching of philosophical knowledge 97
Methodology 99

I. The dynamics between philosophy 100 - 112
teaching and research in universities X
1) The interaction between secondary and higher education 100
> The importance of communication between the two levels
> Reasons leading to a split
2) The extent and diversity of philosophical teaching 103
> The dual role of the research professors
> Particular modalities
> The presence of philosophy in the university context
> Philosophy and spiritual knowledge
3) Specificity and adaptability of philosophical teaching 107
> The transdisciplinary nature of philosophy
> The idea behind philosophy departments
> Distance learning and digital access
4) Academic freedom and teaching management 110
> The principle of academic freedom
> Political, religious and cultural constraints
> The monographic course

II. Philosophy facing emerging challenges: 113 - 122
Questions and stakes X
1) Philosophy teaching in a globalized world 113
> A philosophical teaching and engagement in society
> Philosophy – guardian of rationality?
> Philosophy and cultural traditions
2) The topicality of philosophy: A practice to be handled with caution 114
> The teaching of philosophy: uniting rational thinking and history
> Priorities in research and teaching
3) The question of professional opportunities 116
> Secondary education
> The internationalization of research, or the global campus
> Philosophy at work
Copyright : Jérémie Dobiecki

> The public sphere


4) The role and challenges of UNESCO Chairs in Philosophy 119
> A new generation of UNESCO Chairs
> A promising future

III. Diversification and internationalization 123 - 147
of philosophical teaching X
1) Teaching practices and methods around the world 123
> The general state of philosophy teaching around the world
> Some exemplary case studies
2) The multiplication of academic exchange networks 143
> The ‘From Brain Drain to Brain Gain’ programme
> UNESCO Fellowships
3) The International Network of Women Philosophers sponsored by UNESCO: 145
A universal springboard
4) Promoting interregional philosophical dialogue 146

IV. Philosophy in higher education: 148
A few figures 148
Conclusion: The future of philosophy 149


Introduction: The development and teaching of philosophical knowledge
The creation of knowledge and its subse- cultural traditions, and the place that philoso-
quent dissemination has been the dual phy historically occupies in a particular
directive of universities since their founding at culture. Philosophy is often veiled in a multitu-
the end of the eleventh century. A university de of disciplines or teachings that ensue from
education does not only contribute to our cultural heritages or various pragmatic
personal development on a number of levels approaches; at times expressing itself as
(cognitive, emotional, moral and social). It is religious thought or at others under the form
intended to create the circumstances under of ethics or other practical erudition. This
which students can produce new knowledge diversity is reflected, with less complexity, at
– so that they can contribute to the progress the level of teaching practices. These vary pri-
of their chosen fields and to allow these fields marily between the undergraduate and mas-
to react to the ceaseless transformations that ter’s levels of studies and the doctorate level,
affect the expression of knowledge in every fluctuating, in the majority of cases, between
culture. Universities offer a technical and traditional course structures and more practi-
focussed education, aimed at training specia- cal seminar-style courses, with increased
lists or teachers and in which research is of active participation from the students. But, in
prime importance. The hybrid nature of a uni- all cases, the university remains a place of spe-
versity education is especially apparent in the cialized, professional learning, where tea-
field of philosophical studies – so much so ching ceases to have the primary function of
that, in general, philosophy is rarely given the educating the individual and becomes princi-
opportunity to develop within other institu- pally a place devoted to a technical form of
tions. The body of philosophical knowledge knowledge.
that is produced and taught in university
courses is quite distinct from the training in This chapter deals with the relationship
philosophizing that characterizes primary and between teaching and research in universities.
secondary education. For there exists a speci- It tries to show how the different university
fically ‘philosophical’ body of knowledge, in systems allow students to access to the
the form of research methods, categories, various parts of philosophical thinking, to
concepts, criteria for validating arguments what extente they are familiar with the lea-
and formal or less-formal structures that ding questions in contemporary debate,
allow the construction of physical, historical, which material and theoretical tools they have
ethical and rational worlds. Whether it is to at their disposal during their education and, in
train teachers, to nourish an historical culture, general terms, how the different educational
to learn the universal structures of reasoning structures can influence the contents taught.
or to boost tomorrow’s culture of research This chapter comprises three principal sec-
professors, it is the presence of this predomi- tions that deal with some pertinent questions
nantly technical aspect of philosophy that relating to the function and the methods of
characterizes the university education. philosophy as an academic discipline.

The reciprocal relationship between the The first section relates to a deliberation on
production and the transmission of academic teaching, an approach that today
knowledge, or more simply between research appears to be abandoned, at a moment
and teaching, is at the origin of the forms when academia stands accused of turning in
governing the presence of philosophy in on itself. It addresses the question of bridging
universities. the ever-widening gap between secondary
and further education in a growing number
In further education, philosophy teaching and of countries. However, where philosophy is
research are inseparable. However, there is a actually present in schools, the interaction
considerable diversity of lesson content, between the two levels represents a conside-
depending on the competences of individual rable asset to anchor the development of phi-
teachers, the teachers present within each losophical learning in society and transmit a
department or faculty, the curricula, the conti- vital and rich understanding of current
nuity or multiplicity of the philosophical and debates to students.


In addition, this section tackles the question is also difficult to ignore. When confronted
of possible developments with respect to tea- with the increased globalization of economic
ching philosophy in universities, which can be competition and the need to share the pla-
combined together under the heading of net’s resources, the continuing presence of
educational diversification, and which are philosophy will depend, to a large degree, on
aimed more at students of other faculties, or the possibilities available to philosophers to
those following other courses, rather than at sustain their profession. There is still a long
students who have chosen philosophy as the way to go, but a diversification in these pros-
main subject of their studies. The same goes pects on an international scale is already
for the internationalization of learning prac- apparent, creating new directions and tech-
tices at the undergraduate and master’s niques in teaching and new philosophical
levels, as well as at the doctoral level. Lastly, specializations, as demonstrated in particular
this first section discusses the question of aca- by UNESCO’s worldwide network of
demic freedom, the very foundation of uni- Philosophy Chairs.
versity activities, which represents a necessary
pre-condition for the development and the The third section presents an overall view of
production of university learning. This free- philosophy teaching at the university level.
dom is currently under threat on a number of This general outline is coupled with a more
different fronts, in particular those related to focused look at some particularly important
the radicalization of cultural and religious philosophical practices and at their underlying
identities or traditional practices. It is also sub- scientific, cultural and social functions, such
ject to various types of political conditioning, as Interregional Philosophical Dialogues or the
to increasing pressure to answer to economic constitution of an International Network of
considerations and, in a somewhat subtler Women Philosophers; two global initiatives
manner, to the creation of academic climates recently inaugurated by UNESCO.
that have an effect on how teachers and
researchers carry out their professional activi- The chapter is constructed around the ques-
ties. By virtue of its general nature as a theo- tion of the relationship between philosophy
ry concerned with different forms of know- and freedom: because, in its role as funda-
ledge, philosophy today appears particularly mental condition for plural intersubjectivity,
vulnerable to these external pressures. freedom remains the raison d’être of all philo-
sophical teaching.
The second section relates to the questions
and issues caused by the confrontation of phi- In this context, the complex and often difficult
losophy with emerging challenges. The ans- relationship between the universalism of rea-
wer to the challenges posed by modernity lie son, as endorsed by any philosophical rationa-
in the free exchange of ideas. It also depends lity, and the diversity of cultural traditions sur-
on communication and dialogue among rounding it, represents a crucial issue for phi-
people and cultures. Intellectual co-operation losophical learning. But philosophy must also
on an international scale represents an extra- avoid the danger of being reduced to the role
ordinary opportunity for researchers from dif- of a mere accessory to prevailing political
ferent backgrounds – who do not always movements, at the risk of being stripped of its
have the possibility of comparing their respec- own specifically abstract nature – which pre-
tive theoretical approaches. vents it from being identified with the contin-
gencies of any particular cultural denomina-
This is especially the case, also thanks to the tion. Philosophy is, by nature, enduringly par-
UNESCO initiative, with philosophical com- tisan in the way it chooses one ethos rather
munities that in the past have been only able than another, and not one party rather than
to meet together for conferences or conven- another.
tions, but are now free to meet unfettered by
any mediating influences, thus embracing
new directions of thought in a world that is
increasingly multipolar.

The question of the professional prospects on
offer to someone with philosophical training


Several methodological questions arose at analysis through synthesis documents d e a -
the time this chapter was drafted. On the l i n g w i t h v a r i o u s p ro b l e m s f a c i n g
one hand, the very nature of this work led p h i l o s o phy teaching, including contribu-
to thinking initially about the level of gene- tions from UNESCO Philosophy Chairs. The
ral information it should incorporate. qualitative reports we received were, for
Baring in mind the extent of this document, the most part, integrated into this chapter.
it proved difficult to deal in detail with These analyses are invaluable in that they
every system of tertiary education throu- relate directly to the experience of research
ghout the world. In addition, the objective professors while placing them into a much
was as much to establish a state-of-the-art broader context. This flood of responses
analysis of the place of philosophy in higher gives rise to an initial observation. The
learning today as to identify future pros- UNESCO investigations represent an oppor-
pects, thereby putting the assembled data tunity for researchers to consider the state
to the service of a body of considerations and evolution of teaching practices in their
and suggestions on the directions to take respective fields, and to make their voices
and actions to consider. As for the sources heard through an organization able to
used, the method was to synthesize the mobilize the international community in
information collected through the study, order to transform these contributions into
whether in terms of documentary resources recommendations destined for national
available to UNESCO or from Internet political authorities. As Josiane Boulad-
research, with a certain reserve relative to Ayoub, UNESCO Chair in Studies of the
the scientific credibility of the information Philosophical Foundations of Justice and
collected in this way. This work of synthesis Democratic Society at the University of
is in no way designed to exhaustively cata- Québec, Montreal (UQAM) wrote: ‘We are
logue the teaching methods present in the pleased to have here a striking example of
world’s different institutions of higher lear- the effectiveness of such investigations in
ning. Reference tools of this kind already their real role as both theoretical and
exist and are easily accessible to all(1). political catalyst’.

It should also be noted that the UNESCO
questionnaire concerning the teaching of
philosophy, elaborated specifically for this
study, was an essential means of obtaining
a varied overview of the way that philoso-
phy is taught in institutions of higher edu-
cation. Beyond the institutional data provi-
ded by the responses to the questionnaire,
the comments that accompanied the
respondents’ answers proved to be inva-
luable. They indicate a vital, polyphonic and
extremely varied picture of how those
involved in philosophical work experience
the current state of their discipline: their
hopes after positive reforms, their pessi-
mism regarding professional opportunities,
(1) Notably the IAU’s World Higher
their thoughts on the place of philosophy Education Database 2006/7.
in their society and the way it is viewed. London, Palgrave, Macmillan, 25
These voices, coming from all around the August 2006, and International
Handbook of Universities, 19th
world, constitute one of the principal rea- edition. London, Palgrave
sons behind this innovative UNESCO pro- Macmillan / New York, Palgrave St
Martin’s Press, 24 Sep 2007. These
gramme, and were correspondingly accor- guides are published every two
ded the greatest attention. Finally, several years under the patronage of the
International Association of
research professors contributed to this Universities (AIU).


I. The dynamics between philosophy
teaching and research in universities
1) The interaction between secondary and higher education
The importance of communication often note paradoxical situations in which
between the two levels technical advances are proposed and deba-
ted in the same seminar room as the day-
In countries where philosophy is taught at to-day functional aspects of the teaching of
school, the dynamics between secondary- this discipline, like two linguistic registers
school teachers and teachers at higher unable to integrate. Questions asked by
levels represents an essential asset in the secondary students are seldom banal,
process of philosophical education. This however, and can prove difficult for resear-
mutual interaction between the two levels chers accustomed to focussing on the
is likely to take place according to different details of philosophical technicalities.
methods. On the one hand, secondary-level Interaction between the fundamental
teachers can only benefit from regular requirements of a philosophical education
exchanges with their university colleagues. and of disciplinary specialization is of cru-
It is by keeping in constant and permanent cial importance and can only be of mutual
contact with the centres of production of benefit.
philosophical knowledge – the principal
source of the development and discussion The growing separation between these two
of new methods and new directions in phi- levels becomes apparent once one consi-
losophical research – that secondary educa- ders the way careers in philosophy are
tion will be able to impress upon its stu- organized. In the majority of European
dents a lively philosophical culture, a work countries, there is a history of continuity
in progress that is also problematic, rather between these two levels. In Europe, tea-
than a closed corpus of acquired knowled- ching at secondary level was, at least until
ge. The teaching of philosophy cannot be the 1980s, an almost obligatory route to
open and effective unless fed by a rich and teaching at higher levels. One first became
lively debate that is measured against the a secondary-school teacher, then, through
constantly renewing problems that face our academic endeavour that was carried out in
cultures, by teaching students to consider a conjunction with this work, one could aspi-
diversity of approaches and theoretical re to an academic post. To this day, the
positions. The updating of teaching French system still testifies to this link bet-
content represents a necessary condition to ween the two levels in the importance it
avoid reducing philosophical education to a allots to the teacher-selection process cal-
collection of moral precepts or historical led ‘aggregation’. This system, even though
concepts. On the other hand, the inquiring extremely selective, had at least two positi-
nature so typical of secondary-school stu- ve effects. On the one hand, research pro-
dents can only encourage a beneficial, fessors profited from a formidable teaching
ongoing examination of practices in acade- infrastructure. They could teach their sub-
mic research. It represents a formidable tool ject at a relatively elementary level, but
against the authoritarian attitude in univer- were also confronted with the questions of
sity education that is still prevalent in many a very fundamental nature frequently
philosophy departments throughout the posed by secondary-school students. This
world. Many fundamental questions in phi- practice not only allowed them to learn
losophy are simply written off by research basic teaching techniques, but also contri-
that finds in the progressive specialization buted substantially to perfecting their trai-
of its disciplines not only its strength but ning. On the other hand, it contributed in
also its limits. Those accustomed to atten- motivating secondary teachers to continue
ding conferences or seminars in which their own research work, or at least to acti-
secondary-school teachers can rub shoul- vely take part in scientific activities in their
ders with university research professors field.


Today, this permeability between the two place in research centres and intellectual
levels appears, in many cases, to be in dan- circles, can exert a considerable influence
ger. Where secondary-school teaching is no on their students, and can introduce to
longer viewed as a privileged route to a uni- them the topics approached at these higher
versity career but, on the contrary, is seen levels and the problems they entail.
as an impediment to further career deve- However, it is known that, in a number of
lopment, teaching personnel appear to authoritarian regimes, any relative freedom
have lost their motivation. The UNESCO of research is only possible at the price of a
questionnaire reveals a number of firsthand clear separation between the technical and
reports of this crisis in secondary education the educational settings. The participation
throughout the world. There are certainly of schoolteachers in such debates repre-
circumstances, as in certain African or Latin sents a virtual conveyer belt for ideas that
American countries, where schoolteachers would not normally transcend the circles
regularly take part in scholarly conferences where they are produced and discussed. It
organized in their region. In a majority of is not unusual for university students to be
European countries, this interaction is particularly receptive to heterodox ideas
encouraged through continuing professio- after having been students at secondary
nal development programmes that range school of inspirational teachers who taught
from organized training courses to being them to be open to new points of view.
excused from teaching to attend confe- This point alone highlights the importance
rences which importance is recognized at of including philosophy teaching in secon-
the ministerial level. However, these mea- dary education – and perhaps also explains,
sures appear to be merely palliative. It is at sometimes, its absence.
the level of the university recruitment sys-
tem and in the access that secondary- The example of Québec, concerning the
school teachers have to research-develop- dynamics between secondary and further
ment tools (publications, journals, confe- education, can appear contradictory –
rence papers) that any action aiming at because in Québec, as in the rest of
bringing the two levels closer must be Canada, philosophy is not taught in secon-
undertaken. This is undoubtedly necessary dary schools. However, differences of style,
to slow down the current tendency methods and directions between pre-uni-
towards separating these two levels of versity teaching – represented by ‘General
schooling, either at the academic and Vocational Teaching Colleges’ (CEGEP:
community or governmental level. Collèges d’enseignement général et profes-
sionnel) – and higher academic levels
In addition, exchanges between secondary demonstrate the complex relationships that
and further education often represent an exist between these two levels, and which
important driving force in the democratiza- can be recognized in secondary teaching in
tion process throughout the world. It has many countries at the moment.
often been the case in the past, and conti-
nues to be so today, that intellectual oppo-
sition to authoritarian regimes finds in
secondary-education teachers an essential
means to forming a democratic conscience
(2) French-Canadian secondary
in younger generations. The action of these schools that offer both technical
teachers, when it reflects debates taking and pre-university studies.


Box 29
A particularly significant development in the interaction between secondary and higher
levels: the Québec model

The conflict that arose from the gradual flight:, energetic, sharp-edged philoso- phical societies; annual gatherings, both
reduction of philosophy teaching hours phically, inventive on the methodological regional and national, where teachers
and the progressive refocusing of curri- and teaching levels. Students are called from all levels of education can exchan-
cula on more applied disciplines in the upon, as part of their philosophical trai- ge and report progress in their activities;
CEGEPs caused a sympathetic solidarity ning, to think critically about housing and numerous new centres and research
to develop between secondary-school conditions, for example, or their demo- groups, generally interdisciplinary but
philosophy teachers, students interested cratic institutions. A few years ago, with a philosophical focus, which are
in philosophy and university-level philoso- secondary-school teachers and universi- very active and often generously subsidi-
phy teachers on a national and internatio- ty professors could count on solid inter- zed by provincial organizations or the
nal scale. active tools. It is relevant to mention the Canada Council for the Arts. Finally,
impressive list of specialized philosophi- there seems to be a fundamental diffe-
Along with an increased awareness of cal journals for philosophy teachers of all rence concerning the teaching content
the social and pedagogical responsibili- levels, including Philosophiques, the between the secondary level – which is
ties of philosophy teaching, now challen- mouthpiece of the Québec Philosophical aimed more at providing courses in
ged to reconcile necessity and freedom, Society since 1974(3). Historically open civics, cultural criticism and a considera-
in the eyes of philosophers, this new- to contributions from secondary tea- tion of the philosophy’s role in society –
found solidarity was to have a powerful chers, this international journal has evol- and the university level, which is more
impact on the place of philosophy tea- ved along with recent changes affecting marked by a technical and professional
ching. This movement had its highs and the philosophical and social circles of approach to philosophy.
lows, but it stimulated the organization of Québec’s intellectuals. Wanting to be University teaching is primarily an acade-
numerous conferences and workshops; more ‘academic’, the journal more or mic activity, whereas secondary-level
the inauguration of new, more confronta- less deliberately stopped publishing teaching is first and foremost a social
tional, associations that focused more articles written by school teachers, and procedure. This state of affairs affects
on pedagogy than on theoretical discus- turned themselves more clearly towards the direction teaching takes within each
sions and brought together young secon- the British and American tradition in sup- context, especially on the theoretical
dary-level philosophy teachers; the crea- porting the organization of special edi- level, in which the secondary-school envi-
tion of new, lively journals; and the publi- tions, connected more to collective than ronment is more sensitive to socio-cultu-
cation of new teaching manuals and to the traditional subjects of a journal. ral developments than its academic equi-
compilations of traditional texts with valent. Although this situation is still evol-
accompanying notes, for the most part This tendency, which began five or six ving, secondary-school practice conti-
collective works. years ago, has largely contributed to nues to be inspired predominantly by the
increasing the division that began in the French or German traditions, while uni-
Lastly, attempts have been made to re- 1990s between the different levels of versities are leaning increasingly towards
take the offensive, by moving into new philosophy teaching in Québec and the the English–U.S. philosophical tradition.
areas in secondary education that up to respective schools of thought from
now had been excluded from philosophi- which they drew their inspiration. is it not
cal teaching. For example, religious stu- astonishing to see, as we mention
dies having been affected by the secula- above, secondary-school teachers crea-
rization of school commissions, it is ting their own philosophical journals, with
understandable that secondary-school a teaching focus, reflecting their scienti- Josiane Boulad-Ayoub
philosophy teachers are currently trying fic concerns and their traditional philoso- UNESCO Chair in Studies of the
to influence the teaching of ethics and phical references, as well as new asso- Philosophic Foundations of Justice and
civics. All these activities and projects ciations satisfying their more practical Democratic Society at the University
lead to a very positive conclusion: the interests? Moreover, other forums for of Québec in Montreal
taking up of philosophy teaching is in full exchange have been developed: philoso- (Canada)



Reasons leading to a split the two levels. But increasingly fewer
notable scientific articles from secondary
What are the reasons for this progressive teachers are being published in the princi-
dislocation between secondary and acade- pal scientific publications relating to the
mic education? Several factors, often inter- various fields of philosophy. In some ways,
twined, can be observed. First we need to academic legitimacy seems reserved for
look at the way the mechanisms of univer- researchers and university lecturers.
sity recruitment have altered, in their ten-
dency to privilege scientific production The recruitment difficulties evoked by
(publications and scientific papers) over respondents to the UNESCO questionnaire
teaching experience, especially experience also have important effects on the organi-
at the secondary level. Extremely often, the zation of academic work. The lack of
passage from secondary teaching to univer- immediate posts in research often causes
sity teaching is achieved through a combi- an increase in young graduates or resear-
nation of a successful teaching career and chers waiting ‘on standby’ – who collabora-
the publication of journal articles: the tea- te in university research or teaching as
ching experience in fact is taken less and volunteers or in temporary situations.
less into account during the evaluation pro- However, these ‘fragile’ situations tend to
cess. So school teaching is more of an block the increased participation of secon-
impediment than an asset for those seeking dary teachers in the university world.
career advancement to the research profes- School teachers often simply do not have
sor level. On the other hand, involvement time to combine teaching at school with an
at university level continues to impress additional workload.
when it comes to university selection (whe-
ther through tutoring, delivering introduc- Lastly, the progressive specialization in phi-
tion to philosophy courses or lectures, or losophical disciplines contrasts with the
contributing to conferences). In other nature of teaching in the secondary
words, the academic university didactics is context. At philosophy conferences or mee-
implicitly accorded a scientific value that is tings, we often see very different
withheld from the didactics of secondary approaches from university researchers,
schools, often regarded as a purely who present highly specialized and techni-
teaching activity with no scientific value. cal papers, and secondary teachers, who
often seek more fundamental problems to
This separation of careers can lead to, as transmit to their students. This process of
seen in Québec, a separation of the tools of specialization, which has accompanied a
scientific communication, beginning with reduction in the printing of works in the
academic journals. Though schoolteachers social sciences in Europe, seems partly to
can still have access to scholarly publica- reflect the pre-eminent role played at the
tions, there is a growing tendency to sepa- international level of the English-language
rate forums for expression. An exception is philosophical community, for which philo-
represented by questions directly connec- sophy is primarily a university discipline.
ted to the teaching of philosophy, where
there is still significant interaction between

2) The extent and diversity of philosophical teaching
The dual role of the research great part due to their double role as spe-
professors cialists responsible for both research and
teaching. Even if, in practice, each teacher
The university organization of teaching pre- can favour one task over another, universi-
sents a certain homogeneity throughout ty structures generally reflect this hybrid
the world. In a majority of establishments nature of the academic function.
of higher education, research professors
are grouped together in departments, insti- Research conditions the nature of university
tutes or centres. This basic uniformity is in teaching in two ways. Initially, the directions


and results of research undertaken by teaching and research, they often mean
research professors are normally reflected that students should be taught only by tea-
in the contents of their lessons, whether on chers who are at the cutting edge of resear-
the level of individual teachers or on the ch in the subject. It is this extreme claim
level of their administrative and curricula that is rejected by the government, on the
units: departments, institutes or faculties. grounds that most undergraduate teaching
This means that the persistence of traditio- is not done by leading experts in the sub-
nal methods of thought or research, which ject taught, and that much state-of-the-art
can sometimes characterize the same insti- research is too difficult for undergraduates
tution for several generations, is expressed to understand. Obviously teachers need to
through teaching but also finds a means to have up-to-date knowledge of what they
perpetuate itself, because students trained teach; but such knowledge does not pre-
in a given tradition will have a tendency to suppose active involvement in research.
prolong that tradition through the mecha- However, if it is accepted that high-level
nism of co-optation in which they will be university teaching can take place in institu-
selected when the time comes to renew the tions where there is no research, the
teaching corpus of the institution. But Humboldtian ideal of the indivisibility of the
beyond course contents, there exists a research and teaching mission of the
second method whereby research work university will be lost’(5).
exerts an influence on teaching. The repu-
tations of a department’s members play an Even in systems in which one could imagi-
important role in the choices students ne a very clear separation between tea-
make when selecting which university to ching and research, such as the American
attend. University recruitment policies take model, which presents a clear divide bet-
this capacity to attract students into ween undergraduate and graduate studies,
account. However, a research professor’s the passage of teachers from one level to
renown is only partly built through his or the other is often dependent on results
her qualities as a teacher, being derived pri- obtained in their research activities.
marily from research work and scientific
prestige, rather than teaching experience. Particular modalities

The need to improve the connections bet- Sometimes there is an intermediate stage
ween teaching and research, to increase between the secondary and higher levels,
their influence on each other and the where philosophical teaching often occu-
cooperation between them, has been the pies a position of distinction. This pre-aca-
subject of a number of debates at the aca- demic level acts as a preparatory school for
demic and the institutional levels. In the entry into university. Examples can be
current debate over the connections bet- found in the CEGEPs in Québec and in
ween teaching and research in higher edu- some other states of Canada and the
cational establishments in the United United States, the Ciclo Básico Común
Kingdom, a text posted on the Web site of (CBC) in Argentina, which in 1985 became
the UK Higher Education Academy presents a prerequisite for acceptance into the
(5) ‘Case studies linking teaching
and research in philosophical and the problem in the following terms: ‘Ever University of Buenos Aires (UBA), and the
religious studies’. Higher Education since the publication of the 2003 White preparatory classes for the French grandes
Academy, UK, August 2006.
Paper on higher education(4), there has écoles (France’s elite higher-education esta-
projects/researchlink/index.html. been widespread debate as to whether tea- blishments, which are outside the mains-
(6) These pre-university establish- ching is better conducted in the context of tream framework of the public universities
ments are present in several
Canadian provinces (Québec,
subject research. In general, academics system). These preparatory courses are
Alberta, British Colombia and believe that it is; the government believes usually attached to higher education, on
Ontario) and American states
(Ohio, Kentucky, Florida,
that it isn’t; and educationalists believe that which they depend. Within the Québec
California, Illinois). The students there is no empirical evidence either way, educational system, the CEGEPs act as an
enrol after completing six years of but that teaching is likely to be better if intermediate collegial level between secon-
primary and five years of seconda-
ry schooling, at the age of seven- there is a deliberate strategy for linking tea- dary and higher education, fitting adminis-
teen or eighteen. Approximately ching and research at the institutional and tratively into the higher-educational sys-
40 per cent of seventeen or eigh-
teen year olds in Québec attend departmental level (…) When academics tem(6). Since the reform of 1993, philoso-
such schools. say they believe in the link between phical teaching in the CEGEPs saw a


reduction in the common, obligatory In the French system, preparatory classes
courses of philosophy to three classes ins- for grandes écoles (CPGE, Classes prépara-
tead of the original four. toires aux grandes écoles) represent an obli-
gatory passage when targeting one of
The objective of philosophy teaching is to France’s illustrious higher-education esta-
cast a critical eye on the ethical problems of blishments (i) economic (business and
contemporary society, however, the English management schools), (ii) social, political
version of this programme, which is titled and literary schools (Écoles Normales
humanities, speaks rather of ‘the applica- Supérieures, École des Chartes, Instituts
tion of a process of critical thinking to the d’Études Politiques) and (iii) schools of
ethical questions important to the field of scientific and technological vocation (such
study’. The overall direction of philosophi- as engineering and veterinary schools).
cal training at this level has become more Their duration can vary between two and
utilitarian over the last few years, genera- three years. The teaching of philosophy is
ting a very vibrant debate between obligatory in the literary streams and occu-
teachers of various school levels. pies a reasonable place, along with French
‘culture générale’ courses, in the economic
The Argentinean CBC represents a classic and scientific streams. Nevertheless, this
example of the role that an intermediate teaching system, envisaged as the first step
stage between a school education and the on the elite higher-education ladder,
new type of teaching offered at the higher applies only to a small number of
level can play. Its objectives are described as secondary-school graduates(8).
follows: ‘to offer an integral and interdisci-
plinary basic education, to develop critical We also need to add to these pre-academic
thought, to consolidate learning methodo- phases the existence of schools dedicated
logies and to contribute to an ethical, civic to post-doctoral education, at the other
and democratic education’(7). The driving end of the further education cycle, which
spirit behind this intermediary passage are active in the majority of European coun-
reflects the desire to offer the students an tries, and which European teaching reforms
overview of the scientific knowledge base, appear to be encouraging in countries
deeper than that at the school level, and where they are as yet inexistent. This trai-
before any disciplinary specialization is ning is often prolonged by post-doctoral
implemented by the university. grants, but here we leave the teaching
domain to attain the first levels of a career
The courses offered in Argentina by the in research.
CBC are organized through an approach
that is both disciplinary and interdisciplina- The presence of philosophy
ry. In agreement with this last perspective, in the university context
the topics are studied and problems of a
various nature and origin are analyzed. This At the level of higher education, philosophy
variety of analyses is designed to lead the is doing rather well, and has a relatively
student, subtly, towards a point beyond the prominent position: subjects going under
encyclopaedic and dislocated concept of the name of ‘philosophy’ are taught almost
knowledge. This type of formation also everywhere. Of all respondents to the ques-
leads to the development of an integral tionnaire, only eleven said that philosophy
and open vision of the world’s problems. All does not figure as a distinct subject in
enrolled students take two subjects: higher education in their country. These are
‘Introduction to and Knowledge of Society Burkina Faso, Burundi, El Salvador, Guyana,
and the State’ and ‘Introduction to Ireland, Jordan, Monaco, South Africa,
Scientific Thought’. Philosophy is only obli- Uganda, the United Arab Emirates,
gatory for students enrolled in architecture, Venezuela and Viet Nam. However, a
graphic design, art, library and information serious analysis of these cases reveals that it (7) ¿Qué es el CBC?
sciences, arts, science of education, and is less about a real absence than a lack of
philosophy. information on behalf of the respondents. (8) According to statistics from the
French Ministry of Education,
Indeed, except for the International 73,100 students were enrolled in
University of Monaco, which is in fact a CPGE in 2004/2005.


business school, in the other countries perceived as sound, stable and only in
mentioned philosophy actually is taught. In certain particular cases as threatened by
Burundi, philosophy courses are obligatory ministerial or academic policies. A majo-
for all first-year students. Departments of rity of respondents (56 per cent) noted a
philosophy are present in a majority of the tendency to increase philosophy tea-
universities in South Africa, just as in ching at the higher level – data that must
Jordan, in Burkina Faso and in Uganda. be cross-referenced with the 70 per cent
International calls for professors in the of researchers who do not see any real
Department of Philosophy of the University threat of a reduction and the 85 per cent
of the United Arab Emirates have also been that exclude any danger of suppression.
posted recently. The University of El In Bolivia, it is revealed that two institu-
Salvador offers a licenciatura (Bachelor of tions offering this discipline have plans
Arts, or B.A.) in Philosophy as well as a for improvements in the near future. In
maestría (Master’s, or M.A.) in Human Cameroon, a doctoral school of philoso-
Rights and Peace Studies. As for Viet Nam, phy is in the process of being created.
the Web site of the undergraduate philoso- From Indonesia, we learn that teaching
phy programme of the National University philosophy is now regarded as important
of Hanoi clearly shows the lesson content at the university level. At the University
taught there. With regard to Monaco, of Indonesia (UI) philosophy teaching,
higher education follows the French univer- particularly in fields such as the philoso-
sity education system. On the other hand, phy of science, is obligatory. In Lebanon,
no instances of teaching philosophical sub- we can see a notable increase in the
jects are mentioned at universities in the number of philosophy courses at univer-
islands of the South Pacific. sity level, and the introduction of a major
in philosophy. In the Russian Federation,
An assessment of the presence of philo- a teacher at the Academy of Sciences
sophy in universities and other higher- indicates: ‘Over the last fifteen years,
educational establishments throughout new philosophy faculties have been
the world implies the need to constantly founded in both established and new
consider the diversity of philosophical universities. A recent example is the
courses. Often, philosophy is introduced Higher School of Economics, one of the
through specific topics, such as human country’s most renowned higher educa-
rights, religious, social or political stu- tion institutions, which established a
dies. In addition, lessons are not neces- faculty of philosophy in order to put it
sarily organized in philosophy depart- on an equal footing with the more tradi-
ments or institutes, and have only a limi- tional universities’. In Lesotho, ‘the
ted presence in certain faculties. Courses National University of Lesotho expanded
in the philosophy of art, philosophy of its Department of Philosophy and exten-
science, music or law, environmental ded this teaching to other communities
ethics or business sometimes form part outside the university – including pri-
of the curricula in professional faculties, sons, the police force and the Ministry of
without ever being grouped within spe- the Interior’. This embracing by philoso-
cifically philosophical institutions. phy of the public sphere can be seen in
other countries, such as Turkey, where
Although certain countries do not teach the philosophical teaching of human
philosophy as a discrete subject, philoso- rights in prisons is practiced, or Uganda,
phy is in fact entirely absent from almost where the Department of Philosophy at
all levels of education in others. These Makerere University, the country’s main
are: Dominica; the Maldives; the university, offers professional positions in
Marshall Islands; Oman; Saint Lucia; the public administration. Doctoral stu-
Saint-Vincent and the Grenadines; Saudi dies in philosophy have just been foun-
Arabia; the Seychelles and Timor-Leste. ded in Mali, while in Mauritius they have
just announced the imminent introduc-
According to reactions collected by the tion of a Master of Arts in Indian
questionnaire, in spite of a certain num- Philosophy. An Uruguayan respondent
ber of difficulties, philosophy in universities is recalls that ‘over the last few years, a


Master’s in contemporary philosophy has concepts or categories. This ambiguity
been created in the humanities faculty of appears both in terms of the subjects
the University of the Republic, and has taught and on the cultural level. Courses
functioned continuously’, adding that in Islamic philosophy assigned during the
‘the next stage to be considered is the first year in Iranian universities are an
creation of doctorates’. In Colombia, example of this overlap between philo-
there is no desire to reduce the place sophy and other courses devoted to
given to philosophy, ‘on the contrary, thought processes. In Bhutan, philoso-
given the complex political, economic phy is taught in monastic schools. In
and social problems existing in the coun- Argentina, obligatory subjects in the pre-
try and being aware of them, both the academic cycle include ‘Introduction to
government and educational institutions the Theory of the State’ and
are actively promoting the study of ‘Introduction to Scientific Thought’ –
humanities, in particular philosophy’. both subjects that are characterized by a
strong philosophical content.
Philosophy and spiritual knowledge
However, this protean nature of acade-
We are obliged to note a considerable mic courses should not hinder the reco-
diversity of philosophical teaching throu- gnition of philosophy as an entirely inde-
ghout the world. The presence of philo- pendent subject. Contrary to the
sophy is generally linked to the cultural branches of knowledge evoked above,
traditions of which it forms part. To limit philosophy as such represents a formal
the presence of philosophy only to sub- knowledge system, open and aimed at
jects entitled ‘philosophy’ would be, on criticizing, as well as conveying, corpora
a cultural level, a delusion to avoid. Very of doctrines and knowledge. Therefore it
often, courses in political theory, reli- is on the presence of this philosophy,
gion, and professional ethics, or social entitled and recognized as such, that this
psychology or the history of ideas, are chapter will focus.
entirely derived from philosophical

3) Specificity and adaptability of philosophical teaching
The transdisciplinary nature ‘in all faculties of higher education, in
of philosophy the first and/or in the second year’, in
Lithuania, philosophy is found ‘in all
The presence of philosophical classes faculties, as a part of a general higher
extends well beyond the borders of phi- education’. Beyond diplomas and majors
losophy departments, often through dif- in philosophy, the contribution of these
fuse channels of single lessons or com- classes is often regarded as useful for
plements to other subject structures. As improving the comprehension of pro-
an example, to the question ‘In which blems specific to the various subject
faculties does the teaching of philosophy domains. We see lessons in aesthetics,
take place?‘, a majority of respondents philosophy of art or philosophy of music
to the questionnaire indicated a multipli- appear in art and architecture faculties,
city of faculties. In several African coun- in music academies and schools of fine
tries, philosophy teaching is obligatory in arts. Courses in the philosophy of law
the first or second academic year. In are dispensed in the majority of law
Cambodia, philosophy is taught in the faculties, just as political philosophy and
‘first year in disciplines other than philo- the theory of the state are present in
sophy’. In Greece, the presence of philo- faculties of political sciences and busi-
sophical classes ‘in the school of ness ethics. Bioethics, the philosophy of
Methodology and History of Science as sciences and the philosophy of mathe-
well as law schools’ has been signalled. matics abound in faculties of economy,
The same seems to be true of medicine, natural science and mathema-
Kyrgyzstan, where philosophy is taught tics. These classes are sometimes


organized in institutes or departments proposal goes back to the beginning of the
within these faculties. In addition, stu- twentieth century and illustrates well the uni-
dents of other faculties regularly attend versal extent of this teaching. Taking as a star-
philosophy courses as a supplement to ting point the German system, certain scien-
their specific subjects. tists at the time, among whom figured mathe-
matician and Italian philosopher Federigo
The permeability of philosophical teaching Enriques, had developed the idea of maximum
represents a distinctive character of this dis- permeability between the various academic
cipline. If philosophy has its conceptual spe- structures, in order to encourage postgradua-
cificity, its transdisciplinary nature enables it te training rather than just the technical trai-
to contribute to a whole range of speciali- ning dispensed in university curricula. They
sed teaching programmes. The teaching of started with the idea that academic training
philosophy concerns, in one sense, philoso- should endow graduates to evolve their pro-
phy specialists, who receive a technical trai- fessional competences during their active life.
ning relating to the concepts, categories, Emphasis was placed on the fact that, once
methods and the history of philosophical the basic technical concepts were acquired,
thought. But, in addition, it can take the the contribution of the university was measu-
form of an enquiry into the epistemic struc- red in its ability to adapt to the successive
tures and morals of other disciplines, lear- developments that the professional circles in
ning and practices. Students in economy, question might have undergone. They then
medicine, law or architecture find in philo- recommended that classes be as open and
sophy courses less of an extrinsic comple- diversified as possible, where the majority of
ment to their training as a tool allowing sciences and learned disciplines could rub
them to perfect their understanding of shoulders so as to offer students a compre-
their principal subject. This adaptability of hensive introduction to contemporary science.
philosophy teaching must be accompanied In the majority of cases, the modern university
by a philosophical study that originates has gone in the opposite direction, leaning
with the concerns faced by these disci- more and more towards a specialized course
plines. When this objective is achieved, structure. But there is a trend back to practices
these courses have a real impact on the that appear to take this idea as a starting
subjects they address – and they can contri- point. The success of philosophy graduates in
bute in a substantial manner to developing the areas of business and communication, and
a taste for philosophy in these students. as specialists in human resources seems to
confirm this impression.
This diffuse presence can play an important
role in reinforcing the social impact of phi- Distance learning and digital
losophy and should be encouraged. A phi- access
losophy entrenched in its own depart-
ments, or one that has nothing to say to The use of electronic tools in teaching
students of other faculties, is a weakened today is of increasing importance. Any
philosophy and is destined to lose its differences are more noticeable here
influence in society. It appears, therefore, than in other fields because of the dispa-
that the further creation of philosophical rity of access to technology (because of
chairs in various faculties must be conside- the digital divide and lack of access to
red and encouraged. Such a multiplication broadband connections) and because of
can facilitate the constitution of depart- the difficulties educational establish-
ments or inter-faculty institutes, generating ments may have in obtaining powerful
a positive dynamics for the development of technological equipment. In the majority
philosophical studies. of United States and some European uni-
versities, distance learning is already a
The idea behind philosophy daily reality. Here is an extract from
departments British appraisers in the last Quality
(9) Subject Overview Report Insurance Agency for Higher Education(9)
Q011/2001. Philosophy, 2001 The original idea of a department or faculty of report on philosophy: ‘Philosophy
to 2001. Quality Assurance Agency
for Higher Education. philosophy was derived precisely from the departments are increasingly making use transdisciplinary nature of philosophy. This of Internet and Intranet resources to


enhance student learning. The practice is communities and, especially the domi-
not universal, but eighteen (44 per cent) nance of one language or a restricted
reports commented positively on the number of languages, puts the cultural
successful use of this learning resource; diversity of students at risk. We should
three reports particularly praised the be delighted that a student from East
effectiveness and innovation of the Africa can follow courses from the
department’s use of Internet and University of Oregon thanks to the
Intranet resources to enhance the delive- Internet, but it is important to prevent a
ry of courses’. By 2009, 50 per cent of situation where such students can only
the courses offered in the European follow courses provided by American or
Union, across all disciplines, will be avai- European universities. The growth in
lable online, and 80 per cent of students establishments producing distance
will use mobile learning. In the majority courses and their linguistic diversifica-
of American universities, lectures, semi- tion should thus represent one of the
nars or other teaching practices are priorities for the future of this discipline.
already available by podcast. The Another resource related problem lies in
University of California, Berkeley, for the difficulty of access to international
example, puts the majority of its lectures publications. In the changing context of
online, organized by semester(10). On the publication in the social sciences, espe-
University of Oregon’s Web site, it is now cially with regard to journals that the
possible to view interviews and conver- majority of publishers are increasingly
sations with research professors, several editing and distributing in digital format,
of which pertain to the university’s the means of access to these intangible
philosophy department(11). assets represents a considerable prize.
Today, the majority of scientific publi-
Access to online teaching broadens the shers offer contracts for distribution on a
audience for philosophy courses of repu- national scale, allowing library networks
table universities, at the same time allo- and educational establishments to access
wing students in other areas of the all their publications. A shining example
world to have access to an unpreceden- of this is the Brazilian CAPES Foundation
ted diversity of resources. This practice (Coordenação de aperfeiçoamento de
seems particularly likely to play a part in pessoal de nível superior – Foundation
areas where territorial continuity is bro- for the Coordination of the Improvement
ken, such as the Pacific archipelagos or of Staff in Higher Education), an organi-
islands in the Indian Ocean, but also in zation created by the Ministry of
continental areas further away from Education that gives online access to
large university centres. An action in more than 11,000 periodicals in 188
favour of distance learning seems thus higher educational and research
completely desirable, while taking care institutions.
to prioritise two particular aspects of this
phenomenon. Initially, it is obvious that It constitutes a veritable digital portal(13)
the digital divide has not spared the phi- for the world of scholarly publications: a
losophical teaching. In Africa in particu- banner on the home page of their Web
lar, with the lack of documentary site draws attention to the ‘15 million
resources, up-to-date philosophical articles downloaded in 2006’. This is a (9) Subject Overview Report
bibliographies and other reference tools particularly successful instance, but it is Q011/2001. Philosophy, 2001
is exacerbated by an important hold-up by no means isolated. Comparable to 2001. Quality Assurance Agency
for Higher Education.
in the process of computerization. The consortia exist in Germany, through the
problem seems to stem less from a lack Max-Planck Institute, in Canada through (10)
of access to computer networks than the Canadian National Site Licensing (11)
from the lack of availability of a suffi- Project (CNSLP), and the Canadian
(12) Most African researchers
cient quantity of material. Besides, a Resource Knowledge Network (CRKN), in compensate for the lack of local
diversification of teaching sources Greece through HEAL-LINK, in Italy servers by using email provided
by major international services –
appears to be desirable. The dissemina- through the Consorzio Interuniversitario Yahoo, Google, MSN – or dedicated
tion of courses coming from one or a Lombardo per Elaborazione Automatica networks such as Refer.
limited number of philosophical (CILEA, the ‘Inter-University Consortium (13)


for the Automatic Elaboration of centres. One similar project is being
Lombardy’) or in the United Kingdom via implemented in South Africa, where
the National Electronic Site Licensing local consortia are looking to join toge-
Initiative (NESLI-2) and in the majority of ther in the South African Site Licensing
Western nations. Another particularly Initiative (SASLI), a national consortium
interesting case is in the Republic of based on the British, Canadian and
Korea, where the Korean Electronic Site Korean models. There again, encoura-
Licensing Initiative (KESLI) and the Korea ging the growth of these portals for
Education and Research Information acquiring and distributing scientific
Service (KERIS) are responsible for ensu- information would be most favourable.
ring access to digital publications from
all the country’s teaching and research

4) Academic freedom and teaching management
The principle of academic freedom be indicated. Such a project could, for
example, take the form of co-operation
The principle of academic freedom, or, between UNESCO and specialized organi-
according to the original German expres- zations such as the International
sion, freedom to teach and learn (Lehr- und Association of Universities (IAU)(14), the
Lernfreiheit) is at the heart of the manner in International Council of Philosophy and
which research and transmission of know- Humanistic Studies (ICPHS)(15) and the
ledge are structured within universities. This International Federation of Philosophy
can only be measured at the level of indivi- Societies (FISP), which would make it pos-
dual research professors. All members of an sible to draw up such a report and to iden-
academic body must be able to continue tify target situations. Although one such
their work and to communicate with their initiative would find it difficult to penetrate
colleagues and students with no to the level of each department or research
constraints other than the requirements of institute in the world, it would quickly
professional scientific rigour and honesty. In become a tool of reference on an interna-
addition, any student must be able to have tional scale for all those who, in different
access to any question of a scientific natu- contexts and at different levels, work
re that he or she wishes to investigate, towards freedom in research, teaching and
without any political, ethnical, religious or learning.
other limits opposing this desire for know-
ledge. This freedom applies as much to the Political, religious and cultural
students, in terms of the principles of non- constraints
discrimination, as to the topics and scienti-
fic arguments concerned. Only the criteria When we consider the question of freedom
of scientific validity, modelled by the dyna- in terms of subjects and topics taught
mics of intellectual exchanges among those within the field of philosophy, it appears
involved in academic life, must control the there is a wide variety of practice worldwi-
access and transmission of information. de. Though in some cases philosophy
Because academic freedom represents a departments, teachers and their students
necessary precondition for freedom of enjoy almost absolute autonomy, elsewhe-
thought and the transmission of ideas, an re the situation can be quite different. The
action in defence of this freedom, wherever diversity of the situation is such that a spe-
it is threatened or repressed, should be cial study is required to draw up a clear pic-
taken whenever necessary. This action ture of academic freedom throughout the
should initially be in the form of a ‘white world. Overall, three main types of attack
paper’ of cases where philosophy teaching, on this freedom can be identified. Firstly,
and the humanities or social sciences in constraints of a political nature, where
general, take place in the absence of free- governments, regimes or political systems
dom or under conditions of curtailed free- attempt to impose on teachers, researchers
dom. Possible remedies would also have to and students forms of obedience or even


political loyalty. This is the case when oaths a case of an attack on the freedom to learn
of allegiance or political orthodoxy are in a national, or in any case, public,
imposed periodically on academic commu- context, when students registered in philo-
nities. This can also be in the form of sophy or in philosophical studies are forbid-
prohibition, which one still finds under den, on a national scale, the possibility of
many different circumstances, of taking their research in the direction they
including certain subjects in teaching wish, including secular perspectives or reli-
programmes; the proscription of academic gious criticism.
theories regarded as opposing the ethical
principles approved by the state; or the Thirdly, because philosophy is also critical of
imposition, on a country’s research profes- cultural forms, it has a direct impact on a
sors, of a philosophical orthodoxy with culture’s corpus of traditions. Therefore, it is
which they are supposed to conform. All not surprising that cultural conditionings
these are examples of acts that undermine can also attack the freedom of teaching
freedom in research, teaching and training and research. This is the case when philoso-
in the academic and student community. phical concepts, with their critical mandate,
There is also a more subtle form of pressu- are considered dangerous for a range of
re on teachers and students that is difficult ethical principles or knowledge considered
to detect, and which has been denounced as invaluable to safeguard a certain cultural
by several research professors. This acts, in identity. There are professed cultural identi-
particular, on the political climate establi- ties that have a tendency to see a danger in
shed at the core of an academic communi- philosophy, and feel that protecting their
ty, and takes the form of self-censorship on identity requires considering philosophy as
behalf of the members of this community, a Trojan horse harbouring values conside-
in particular when one touches on political- red as ‘modern’. This situation is especially
ly sensitive or controversial subjects. This difficult because freedom of education and
phenomenon, widely experienced by the freedom to be critical regarding a
researchers having undergone the trials of culture impinges, in extreme cases, on
authoritarian regimes, is visible today even the right of cultural identities to protect
in certain democratic countries, where themselves.
researchers no longer dare to even express
political opinions even in the absence of The monographic course
laws or written legislation forbidding them
to do so. Secondly, there are several cases Any research professor must be free to
where religious conditioning impacts on assign courses on subjects of his or her
philosophical thought, to such a degree choice. This is a principle that must
that it is identified with religious thought – remain immutable, under penalty of
or sometimes, with religious studies – or it menacing the very principle of academic
is destroyed in the name of an alleged freedom. This constitutional practice in
conflict between religious values or morali- European universities, known under the
ty and philosophical concepts. The situation name of ‘monographic course’, seems to (15) The ICPHS is a non-govern-
is all the more delicate in that the borders need some explaining. Indeed, some- mental organization within UNES-
between a spiritual approach to philosophy times there is, in the philosophical curri- CO that federates hundreds of dif-
ferent learned societies in the field
and the imposition of a denominational cula, a juxtaposition of specialized of philosophy, human sciences and
dogma are often blurred. Indeed, several courses in which the curricula does not related subjects. The ICPHS coordi-
nates the international works and
respondents expressed the sentiment that allow for any integration of these subject research carried out by a huge
philosophical learning is in the process of areas, which could allow students to constellation of centres and net-
works of scholars. It favours the
being expropriated by religion, often with form an overall vision of the subject mat- exchange of knowledge among
the more-or-less open support of political ter. Although these deficiencies are not faraway scholars and fosters the
international circulation of scho-
powers. But, on the other hand, is it wise to generalized, they represent a conside- lars, in order to improve the com-
consider religious philosophy simply as an rable problem in a certain number of munication among specialists from
oxymoron? Any philosophical deliberation countries, where it is possible for stu- different disciplines; enforce a bet-
ter knowledge of cultures and of
within the framework of a religious faith is dents to finish their studies with a very their different social, individual and
obligatorily subject to conceptual limits, uneven preparation in the different philo- collective behaviours; and bring to
the fore the richness of each cultu-
without these necessarily constituting a vio- sophical disciplines, and sometimes even re and their fruitful diversity.
lation of academic freedom. Here it is more within a single discipline. There are cases


of graduates with excellent qualifications level, and a pre-eminence of traditional
on Descartes or Husserl – because their courses at the undergraduate and
departments were notable for work on Master’s levels. It is, however, impossible
these authors – who are perfectly igno- to identify more uniformity, taking into
rant of the work of Hegel, Augustin or account the enormous diversity of prac-
Spinoza – never having followed courses tices employed at the local level. Thus, a
on these authors. This is a sensitive sub- text from Keith Crome and Mike Garfield,
ject, as is everything that touches the of Manchester Metropolitan University,
freedom of teaching, and one that was used in 2003 as a base for discussion
should be mentioned within the frame- on the teaching value of reading accom-
work of the dialectic between academic panied by texts for the development of
freedom and the management of the the analytical capacity of students (16).
didactics of philosophy. Here again, the discussion at the very
centre of the academic community serves
The question of teaching methods desi- as a factor of scientific and teaching pro-
gned to optimize the capacities of stu- gress, all the while respecting the prin-
dents and at the same time to develop ciple of academic freedom for the people
proper methods of training and research concerned. The principle of accompanied
is at the centre of discussions on the reading also plays a part in learning the
forms of higher philosophy teaching. technical vocabulary of philosophy. The
Different questions arise according to the multiplication of participative teaching
levels of teaching (B.A., M.A. or doctoral practices is today increasingly observable
(16) Keith Crome and Mike studies). In very general terms, it is pos- throughout the world. However, the role
Garfield, ‘Text-based Teaching sible to observe practices increasingly of more traditional courses remains
and Learning: A Report’.
November 2005.
focussed on discussions in seminars, as important, in particular in universities one progresses towards the doctoral where the number of students is higher.


II. Philosophy facing emerging challenges:
Questions and stakes
1) Philosophy teaching in a globalized world
A philosophical teaching whether ours or those of others, and to cri-
and engagement in society ticize the motivations and intentions
behind them and their effects. A philoso-
What role can philosophy play in the for- phical education is a fundamental commu-
mation of today’s citizens? A review carried nication mechanism, because it is precisely
out during the preparation of this study by virtue of its critical range that we learn
showed that many research professors how to see in another’s world view not the
argue that a philosophical education can expression of a particular and foreign sub-
stimulate the development of a permanent jectivity, but a partner in a shared human
capacity for questioning and critical thin- interaction, with whom it is possible to
king with respect to the various types of have productive exchanges and dialogue.
knowledge and intersubjective dynamics Learning Aristotle’s doctrine of the four
governing contemporary societies. Some causes relies on more than just historical
consider that this critical capacity must first scholarship or being a devotee of the past.
be applied to the broader global processes Such training teaches us how to detect the
affecting our societies. Philosophical tea- compound meanings behind human
ching methods interlock quite naturally action, by putting the individual in a posi-
with the place granted to philosophy in cul- tion to judge actions not only in relation to
tural and social dynamics. It seems, howe- the effects they have on his or her indivi-
ver, that there is a risk that philosophy dual experience, but also, and especially, in
might be reduced to an immediate cultural the context of a vaster intersubjective dyna-
and political engagement that opposes a mics, where each of us is only one among
given socio-economic configuration. But many. Philosophical teaching finds its raison
this would be a radical way of decreasing d’être in its freedom from the subjectivity
the formative and creative power of philo- of particular objectives and, therefore, in its
sophical thinking. Once reduced to a doc- capacity to open one’s perspectives to the
trinal training, whatever the quality of the viewpoints of others and to transform a
course content, philosophy becomes to a collision between inward-looking objectives
certain degree dogmatic, which is counter into an open and rational interaction.
to its very nature. By its very nature, philo-
sophy’s essential function is to extrapolate Philosophy – guardian of rationality?
the theoretical structures that underlie cul-
tural objects, and it draws its vitality from Critical thinking plays an essential part in
measuring itself against the concrete pro- the democratic organization of contempo-
blems of people’s lives and their societies. rary societies. It also reflects the function
An education for citizenship, as provided by that many accord philosophy – a guardian
philosophy, helps one to face situations of rationality. This is an important aspect, as
that involve a hierarchy of values. An awa- a call for rational thinking is often a defen-
reness of the nature of our choices, the sive reflex on the part of those who fear
capacity to model our actions on a moral their cultural identities are threatened by a
law, therefore to exert in every single rationality that is based purely on Western
moment human responsibility and citizen- values or knowledge structures. However,
ship, can only result from an education that in a world characterized by rising irrationa-
is centred on the teaching of philosophy. lism – by movements that oppose or de-
Such an education aims, on all levels, to emphasize the importance of rationality –
help individuals understand the complexity and by the multiplication of partisan identi-
of experience. It also teaches us how to cri- ty, this role can only be played if one breaks
tically consider established opinions, with any sectarian or cultural concept of


rationality, and with any vision of a Philosophy and cultural traditions
dogmatic universal rationality.
Philosophical rationality can never take Because philosophy is the criticism of
the form of an imposition or generaliza- knowledge – or, according to certain
tion of concepts from a particular cultural directions in contemporary thought, a
context to another. On the contrary, it general theory of cultural forms of know-
operates by progressively letting go of ledge – Kulturwissenschaft – its impact on
particular understandings, at both the cultural traditions is important. This chap-
individual and the cultural levels, in order ter illustrates that the reciprocal relation-
to enable free interaction with others. ship between learning and research cha-
Philosophy liberates experience from the racterizes philosophy teaching at the uni-
concrete finalities that renders other fina- versity level, but also that its diversity
lities incomprehensible and distant. With comes from bringing formal reason to
this intention, philosophical teaching can- bear on a multiplicity of cultures and
not postulate new substantial entities any knowledge systems. All philosophy is
more than it can replace an immediate impregnated with the values of the cultu-
determination of data by a metaphysical re from which it emerges and develops.
determination. A philosophical educa- The examples of ethno-philosophy in
tion’s liberating power, however, lies in its Africa, thoughts on Neo-Confucianism in
capacity to carry out the shift from the China and East Asia, the dialectic between
particular to the general. Several research religion and secularity in the West and the
professors agree that learning the skills of relationship between philosophical ratio-
rational thinking, through which a philo- nality and Indian values that is often men-
sophical education teaches us to elabora- tioned by philosophers from the Indian
te on our individual experience, can prove subcontinent all illustrate the cultural
invaluable in addressing individual inter- significance of philosophical enquiry. They
ests, egoism and partisan identities. also contribute in explaining the presence
Efforts to promote the teaching of philo- of philosophy in various academic and cul-
sophy should thus be centred on this tural arenas. Today, cultural studies centres
facet. The universality of reason – this are places for philosophical research just as
should be the major direction of philoso- much as are departments of philosophy.
phical teaching – cannot be synonymous This broadening also reflects a desire, sha-
with disguised ethnocentrism, and should red by many philosophers, for the kind of
be presented more as the possibility for cross-discipline involvement that is playing
fertile and capable encounters within a an increasing part in the organization of
plurality of cultural systems and value research and academic teaching.

2) The topicality of philosophy: A practice to be handled
with caution
The teaching of philosophy: upon by a number of today’s specialists and
uniting rational thinking and history cannot be translated into reducing philoso-
phical teaching to a discussion of social,
It seems, however, that all this is valid only political, economic or cultural events.
if philosophy chooses to leave its ‘splendid Philosophy teaching is not only concerned
isolation’, which sometimes cuts it off from with detecting historical philosophical pro-
the realities of the world, to confront the blems in current events, it also aspires to
problems really experienced by men and instil skills in critical thinking and to teach
women and to contribute to finding ans- students how to analyse and build on our
wers to them. This was one conclusion experience of the world about us. This is an
made in the report on an international essential aspect of a philosophical educa-
conference on philosophy teaching in the tion. The idea that philosophy should be a
context of globalization held in Dakar in product of history, and that its teaching
January 2006, under the double aegis of should convey a body of concepts, doc-
FISP and UNESCO. It is an idea insisted trines and convictions is a trap shared by


many dogmatic systems. It is because of from country to country, just as the
just such a concept of doctrinal substantia- convictions of each specialist are different.
lism that a majority of authoritarian In certain cases, a more utilitarian move-
regimes have preached – and continue to ment is discernable in philosophy tea-
practise today – a selective teaching of phi- ching, which some respondents criticize
losophical theories; and also why, in this for reducing philosophy to a series of
context, they are often sincerely in favour simple professional props, illustrated by
of teaching philosophy. Philosophy gathers deontological ethics or the proliferation
its force and its freedom from the formal of courses in business ethics. In other
nature of its structures, its categories and cases, the overly traditional and some-
its concepts. It represents an instrument of times academic nature of philosophy
free conscience in that, instead of promo- courses is condemned and recommenda-
ting a closed corpus of knowledge and tions are made to move towards more
values, instead of opposing doctrinal cor- practical approaches, where applied phi-
pora, ethical systems or traditions, it pro- losophy can be used as guide to students
vides students with tools to analyze situa- of disciplines directed towards professio-
tions, acts or remarks with which they are nal careers rather than towards acade-
confronted. The thinking skills learnt mic research. Finally, we see that these
through a philosophical education, the approaches coexist, sometimes in oppo-
practice of ‘purifying experience’ that it sition sometimes working to establish
imparts, generates freedom in that it makes new theoretical and teaching paradigms
it possible to criticise a system from within aimed at giving philosophy teaching a
it – to examine the various ethical systems practical direction, but not to the
and bodies of beliefs that have developed detriment of its specificity and its history.
over the course of history and are found in
all of our societies. A philosophical educa- One question that arises today for philo-
tion is always a critique of knowledge sys- sophy teaching relates to the role that it
tems. When philosophy wants to contribu- can play regarding new problems raised
te to freedom, it does not offer to replace by the processes of economic and cultural
ethical, cultural or political contents by globalization. With respect to these
others of the same nature, but offers a transformations, some see philosophy as
strict and radical criticism of any closed cor- losing its grip on the real world, while
pus of beliefs, precepts or dogma. When others regard it as definitively unquali-
the teaching of philosophy is reduced to an fied to tackle these global problems. Is it
ethical indoctrination, it betrays its libera- still necessary to teach philosophy and, if
ting function. This is why philosophy tea- so, what content should be favoured? It
ching remains the decisive field of battle is appropriate to distinguish these two
between formal knowledge, with the free questions. On the one hand, we can only
and open morality that accompanies it, and look favourably on the preservation,
dogmatic knowledge, with its authoritarian even the expansion, of a discipline that
moralizing. As several researchers claimed, offers a constitutive theory for the fun-
a philosophical education can have only damental concepts of the social sciences
one goal: ‘emancipation of the student – to and society. Philosophical concepts and
liberate students from the illusion of categories in fact play a critical dual role.
knowledge’ and the critique of this same They address the entire body of know-
knowledge. ledge that comprises a culture or an ethi-
cal system, but more specifically, they
Priorities in research and teaching also underlie the fundamental concepts
of the social sciences, society and natu-
Today, philosophy and its teaching seem re. By means of this dual role, philosophy
challenged by new issues – and they also continues to hold an essential place
represent by themselves an issue of a in the development of science and in the
political nature. The role that govern- dialogue among cultures. In addition, it
ments assign to philosophy and the would be a mistake to favour certain
place they grant to an instituted and ins- philosophical content with an appearan-
titutionalized philosophy differ greatly ce of greater topicality to the detriment


of other research paths that may be less level, providing that this support does
appealing to some, but are just as likely not purely benefit any particular domain
to give rise to unexpected developments. of philosophical work. While not all phi-
In philosophy, as in research in general, it losophical communities are necessarily at
is impossible to anticipate the constant the forefront of knowledge in their field,
evolution of priorities. All action aimed philosophers remain in the best position
at reinforcing the presence of philosophy to decide what priorities should be given
in research and educational institutions to their research. In addition, we need to
throughout the world should respect this recall that the emphasis on ethics that
principle of self-determination of the has characterized policies supporting
academic community. What seems ancil- philosophy over the last few years is now
lary today can prove to be essential shifting in response to new approaches
tomorrow, hence the absolute require- insisting on the importance of knowled-
ment not to penalize any field of research. ge systems to human and social interac-
tion. This is one example among others
To this end, it is desirable to support the of the reversal of priorities that is typical
activities of philosophical communities of research in philosophy and, in
within countries as on the international general, in all academic disciplines.

3) The question of professional opportunities
Opportunities to teach philosophy in universities especially the CAPES’. A respondent from
can be divided into several categories. Bolivia condemned the ‘difficulty of going on
to the magisterio (Master’s) level for a number
Secondary education of graduates’. A Colombian respondent critici-
zed the ‘feeble enthusiasm for humanities in
This is a common issue for university studies in secondary education’, another, more simply,
philosophy, for two reasons. Firstly, in the pointed out that ‘job opportunities are limi-
majority of cases, to teach philosophy – and, ted’. A Jordanian researcher explained the
sometimes history or literature – in secondary reduction in philosophy classes in the country
schools, one needs to have a degree in the by the fact that it ‘does not attract students
subject, whether this be at the undergraduate because of a perceived absence of employ-
or graduate level. In addition, teaching at ment opportunities particularly in schools’.
secondary level represents, in a number of Although secondary education is sometimes
countries, the principal or the most immediate considered, in particular in Western countries,
employment opportunity for philosophy gra- as a professional sanctuary, the call for posts in
duates. In other words, reforms in secondary secondary schools continues to play an impor-
education have a direct influence on the tea- tant role in improving enrolment rates in
ching of philosophy in higher education. Just philosophy programmes.
as the creation of teaching positions in secon-
dary schools supports the development of stu- The internationalization of research,
dies at a higher level, a reduction of the pre- or the global campus
sence of philosophy in schools discourages
enrolments in philosophy courses – and contri- Research, be it in an academic institute, in a
butes to a decline in philosophical research, research centre or in any other institution, is
especially where this is carried out exclusively the second most important issue for philoso-
within the university network. The UNESCO phy graduates. Contrary to secondary tea-
questionnaire revealed a number of testimo- ching, which views philosophy as belonging to
nies to this effect from countries around the the national or regional school curriculum
world, and from all countries where philoso- (though this is not always the case), recruit-
phy is studied at secondary level. One French ment for research posts is universal. Obtaining
respondent pointed out that one of the fac- a degree in philosophy presupposes that there
tors undermining the philosophy teaching in are university positions available in this discipli-
universities is ‘a reduction in numbers at the ne. It is interesting to note in this respect that
selection exams for secondary teaching posts, the ratio of the number of students in


philosophy to the total number of students Philosophy at work
enrolled in arts and the humanities increases
considerably at the doctoral level when com- For a number of years there has been a gro-
pared to the undergraduate and Master’s wing tendency to develop philosophical
levels. This illustrates that a high percentage of training at work. This interaction can be
philosophy students undertake further studies observed on at least two levels. Firstly, there
at the research level. However, some specific are a growing number of companies which
details are needed on this subject. Firstly, it is corporate identity is ‘philosophical’: com-
advisable to note that, contrary to other scien- panies offering consultancy, training and
tific disciplines, such as biology, physics or guidance services to large and medium-
medical science, places where philosophical sized organizations. These training courses
research is carried out tend not to vary. The often relate to specific subjects such as
bulk of philosophical research is done in uni- business ethics, medical ethics or rhetorical
versities (public or private) or national research techniques, or they focus on more funda-
centres. Institutes of philosophical studies, mental aspects of company life – for
foundations and other independent research example, courses in group interaction or in
centres certainly exist, but their role remains the skills of rational discussion. In these
relatively peripheral. Private research centres, cases, the subjects covered are often very
along the lines of the start-ups seen in medical similar to those frequently found in courses
and biological research, are rare in philosophy. offered by psychologists or advertising exe-
The labour market for research professors is
characterized more and more by a fervent A second aspect of the growing interest
internationalization. This process is sometimes that companies seem to have in philoso-
described as the ‘global campus’. Indeed, phy training is expressed through the
although in many countries the recruitment choice of recruiting graduates in philoso-
system remains anchored to national or even phy because of their recognised adapta-
local sectors, systems for advertising available bility to various situations and, in parti-
positions internationally are expanding rapidly, cular, trends in markets and technolo-
through Web sites, newsgroups and closed gies. The speed at which the market
networks that circulate hundreds of advertise- evolves seems to reward this capacity for
ments for positions for which candidates from adaptation. An increasing number of
all countries can apply. This practice is particu- young philosophy graduates are being
larly popular among universities in English- contacted by companies once they
speaking countries. One of the principal func- obtain their diplomas, in the same way
tions of the American Philosophical that engineers, biologists or lawyers are.
Association(17), probably the largest philosophi- This possible recruitment in the private
cal organization in the world, consists in main- sector, thanks to philosophy training, is
taining an up-to-date list of academic job today largely promoted by the universi-
offers. From this point of view, it functions ties themselves. It has even become part
more like an occupational trade union than an of the marketing strategy of Faculties
academic society in the European model. where philosophy courses are taught.
The added value of philosophy diplomas
This internationalization of the philosophical in the private sector is used to encoura-
labour market corresponds to an internationa- ge students to choose a philosophical
lization or globalization of academic research education. This student recruitment
in general. Besides teaching work and resear- policy is particularly visible in countries
ch itself, there are a substantial number of where philosophy does not have a suffi-
other centres – and therefore positions – that cient tradition or prestige to make itself
support research. Academic societies and attractive. On the ‘philosophy’ home
foundations, or organizations and internatio- page for the School of Liberal Arts at the
nal associations often actively recruit person- University of Newcastle in New South Wales,
nel from among philosophy graduates. This Australia (18), we can see one particularly
also can apply to technical staff in universities explicit example of this practice. After (17)
and research centres. having acknowledged that ‘the subject is (18)
not widely studied in Australia’ and that liberal-arts/


‘consequently, many Australians are not work, even if the time it takes to find
quite sure just what ‘Philosophy’ is’, we employment corresponding to their trai-
read: ‘philosophy is, above all, concer- ning can be longer more than in the case
ned with the examination and critical of other careers. Testimonies assembled
appraisal of arguments, and the ability by the questionnaire return a vague
to subject complicated problems to care- concern: the tenuous nature of profes-
ful logical analysis. Any philosophy gra- sional positions does nothing to encou-
duate will have been trained in the skills rage in young people the idea of under-
of critical thinking and the analysis and taking studies in philosophy. ‘There is no
appraisal of arguments. As a result of work for graduates’ explains a Jordanian
their training, philosophy graduates have academic, with a similar sentiment
skills that are valuable in a wide range of coming from an academic from Portugal:
working environments. Major employer ‘there is a lack of availability of work for
groups within Australia are also now holders of philosophy diplomas’. In
beginning to realise the value of skills Tunisia, ‘graduate unemployment’ and
conferred by an education in philosophy. the ‘job market’ are seen as the worst
It is commonplace to say that we live in enemies of philosophical studies. It is in
a time of increasingly rapid change. The Africa that the urgency for employment
specific technical training that students possibilities is the greatest. One respon-
receive, particularly in areas such as dent from Mauritania, commented that
information technology, will become ‘students are not motivated to study phi-
obsolete in a few years. But the ability to losophy because they cannot find work’.
think logically, independently and criti- In Niger, two testimonies denounce ‘the
cally, and to apply that capacity to new absence of employment prospects for
areas and new domains as they emerge, students’, the fact that ‘many students
are skills that will always be valuable in leaving university turn towards other
the future. These are precisely the skills fields of professional activities’ and that,
that philosophy education confers. In within the social sciences, there is a ten-
addition, specific philosophy courses will dency to forsake philosophy to the bene-
have particular value for particular pro- fit of ‘more professionalized paths like
fessions and activities, and can profitably sociology’. A similar remark comes from
be included in those study programmes France, where philosophy is faced with
as electives to enhance employment ‘competition among the social sciences’,
opportunities’. due to ‘a lack of job opportunities reser-
ved for philosophy’. Two Indologists wri-
This range of possible places where a ting from Mauritius say: ‘those who seek
philosophical education could prove work choose other subjects’. However,
valuable also includes all kinds of ‘creati- not all the news is discouraging. Often,
ve’ professions: in the media and in obtaining a philosophy degree is a
cultural institutions. The Department of means to social assertion. In the presen-
Philosophy at the University of tation of the Philosophy Department at
Ljubljana(19), in Slovenia, emphasizes, in the University of Makerere(20) in Uganda,
addition to teaching in secondary a paragraph devoted to career-advance-
schools and research work, ‘jobs in cul- ment opportunities is interesting: ‘The
tural and public institutions, libraries, courses offered in the Department of
publishing houses, newspapers, maga- Philosophy may offer one opportunities
zines, television and other media, wri- to teach in tertiary institutions or to
ting and translating philosophical and serve in the civil service in areas such as
other theoretical texts – as well as jobs the President’s office and ministries of
as publicists and translators in foreign affairs, labour and social welfare,
interdisciplinary fields.‘ gender, culture or community develop-
ment, and with NGOs and other private
The public sphere institutions. Philosophy graduates can
also serve with the security forces,
(20) Philosophy Department,
University of Makerere The majority of graduates in philosophy particularly within the police force and eventually derive a living from their the prison system’.


4) The role and challenges of UNESCO Chairs in Philosophy
The UNITWIN (University Twinning and UNESCO programme, as well as the sup-
Networking) programme and UNESCO Chairs pression of inactive chairs. In addition to a
were inaugurated in 1991(21). Their creation Chair’s traditional functions within the
answered a pressing need to reverse the pro- domains of teaching, training, research and
gressive decline in higher-educational esta- community actions, the new generation of
blishments in developing countries, in particu- UNESCO Chairs and networks will have to
lar, in less-advanced countries. Its objective satisfy new criteria, in particular as
was to strengthen inter-university co-opera- concerns: their involvement with the
tion by the creation of an innovative method domains prioritized by the programme;
of regional and international academic co- their integration into an existing network or
operation, to facilitate the transfer, the their systematic regrouping into networks
exchange and sharing of knowledge among according to prioritized domains; the provi-
institutions everywhere in the world, thus sion of concrete evidence of their sustaina-
contributing to reducing the knowledge gap, bility; and to demonstrate an active dimen-
encouraging academic solidarity, creating sion of North-South and/or South-South
centres of excellence in developing countries, co-operation in their activities. This strate-
and controlling the ‘brain drain’ phenomenon. gic approach aims to contribute to reinfor-
cing the interaction between UNESCO and
Because of the extent of requests emanating the Chairs and networks, by facilitating
from Member States and higher-education their participation in the design, the imple-
institutes throughout the world, the number mentation and evaluation of UNESCO’s
of requests and projects increased rapidly. programmes and activities, to which they
Today, 15 years after, the network comprises will serve both as ‘think tanks’ and conduits
661 chairs and inter-university networks cove- between academic research and civil socie-
ring a broad range of subjects and fields. This ty, and between researchers and decision-
enthusiasm testifies to the enormous prestige makers. This approach will also contribute
that this network of UNESCO Chairs has ear- to slowing the growth of the number of new
ned within the world’s academic community. Chairs, in order to privilege quality over
quantity, notably in the form of relevancy,
A new strategic approach for the UNITWIN follow-up and impact of the projects.
programme and UNESCO Chairs is on the
horizon. This approach has three major objec- (ii) This strategy also highlights the necessi-
tives: (i) to create a new generation of Chairs ty of grouping together into networks a
conforming to the objectives and priorities of certain number of existing Chairs concer-
the UNESCO programme; (ii) to systematically ned with fields, subjects or domains of a
regroup Chairs into networks (networks of similar level of priority. The goal is to rein-
Chairs), and to create dynamic networks (net- force interregional and international acade-
works of networks); and (iii) to move from mic co-operation in the interests of develo-
being centres of excellence to poles of excel- ping countries. This regrouping of Chairs
lence, through the dynamics of South-South will gradually bring about more functional
cooperation. and more dynamic interdisciplinary
A new generation of UNESCO
Chairs (iii) Lastly, in the initial plan, it was conside-
red that UNESCO Chairs, in particular those
(i) Of the 661 existing chairs and networks, created in developing countries, would
approximately 450 are currently active and evolve gradually to become centres of
only two thirds of these effectively corres- excellence devoted to advanced training
pond to the priority areas of UNESCO or and research in key fields of sustainable
(21) ‘Report by the Director-
the United Nations. It is with this in mind development. However, experience shows General on new strategic orienta-
that the new strategic approach proposes that various difficulties, both financial and tions for the UNITWIN/UNESCO
Chairs Programme’. Paris,
creation of a new generation of Chairs that human, caused only a few Chairs to take Executive Board of UNESCO. 2007.
are sustainable and in measure to contribu- this route. Institutions in the majority of (176 EX/10.)
te to the objectives and priorities of the developing countries have neither the


means nor the capacity to reach the critical
mass necessary for activities of advanced
research and training. A transnational dis-
tribution of tasks, founded on regional co-
operation and solid international support, is
thus both a necessity and an opportunity
for these institutions to develop. The
UNITWIN programme and UNESCO Chairs
are ideal tools to achieve this goal. It is in
this context that a transition from centres
towards poles of excellence should consti-
tute one of the principal axes of the pro-
gramme’s future direction. Existing or
future UNESCO Chairs in Philosophy will
therefore tend to fit in to this dynamics and
will certainly benefit from this encouraging


Box 30
What is a UNESCO Chair in Philosophy?

It is firstly a pole of excellence for a and requires in the name of the right to awareness of democratic values and the
living philosophy, based on a tradition philosophy the community of equals in culture of peace.
where modernity is not the repetition of the work of philosophical deliberation.
the same but the invention of the new.
Secondly, it is a privileged forum where A UNESCO Chair of Philosophy, from its
professors, researchers and high-level natural place which is the university, has
students can mingle and exchange the vocation to bring the rigor of philoso- Patrice Vermeren
knowledge. Finally it is a theatre of free phical thought to bear on the problems Professor of Philosophy at
expression of dissensus – in the image of the modern world, and making this University of Paris VIII,
of democracy – which accepts both the available to the greatest number of Director of the Centro Franco-Argentino
pluralism of references and schools, people possible, because this is an de Altos Estudios
seeks a dialogue beyond all frontiers essential element in creating a greater (France/Argentina)

A promising future private sector, in particular), in the service
of projects carried out in developing and
To derive the most from the possibilities less-advanced countries.
offered by UNITWIN and the UNESCO
Chairs programmes in all of UNESCO’s Lastly, this new strategic approach from
fields of competence, and to implement UNESCO is intended to confront the gro-
the strategic approach described above, wing geographical imbalance in Chairs,
UNESCO is working to reinforce its adviso- favouring the North, from whence the
ry role in relation to Chairs and networks need to systematically regroup UNESCO
with regard to research projects, activities Chairs into dynamic networks, the
and training schemes, as well as reinforcing objective being to increase North-South
its function as a catalyst in the promotion and South-South co-operation.
of partnerships and networks. This strategy
will also be harnessed to actively take part It is important to stress that, as demonstrated
in the mobilization of funds and to interve- in the examples in this chapter, the UNESCO
ne in a more systematic manner in the col- Chairs in Philosophy illustrate a clear
lection of extra-budgetary funds (from the commitment to these objectives.


Box 31
UNESCO Chairs in Philosophy throughout the world

UNESCO currently lists eleven chairs in philosophical knowledge through its of clarifying legislative and institutional
philosophy, or ethics, according to the publications and the development of acts in the domain of ethics and public
title employed. Some of these attest to partnerships so as to strengthen the policies. It organize an interdisciplinary
an expanding energy and activity in their international philosophical community. reflection and debate on the ethical and
chosen field, while others seem less The UNESCO Chair in Philosophy at cultural dimension of policy and develop-
active and sometimes even absent from Simon Bolivar University ment, bringing together personalities
the panorama of international university (Venezuela) promotes actions towards from the worlds of culture, education,
research, at least in so far as the infor- improving standards and conditions for Sciences and arts with personalities
mation that is available concerning their the research and teaching staff within representing the political, economic and
annual activities. the university’s doctoral programme in social circles.
1996. 1999.
The UNESCO Chair in Philosophy at 1997. The UNESCO Mobile Chair Edgar
the University of Chile aims to reposi- The UNESCO Chair in Philosophy at Morin in Complex Thought at the
tion and raise the profile of philosophy in the University of Tunis I (Tunisia) is Universidad del Salvador (Argentina)
the country’s social debates by inciting a one of most active on the network of aims to consolidate the Latin American
critical reflection on contemporary pro- chairs and has the objective to promote and Caribbean region research network
blems. It also proposes to promote com- tolerance and democracy, starting from concerning the philosopher Edgar Morin
munication relations between philosophy research on the various contributions of and complex thought, as well as to pro-
resulting from the academic world and Arab and Islamic scientific and philoso- mote teaching, research and documen-
philosophy teaching practices in the phical culture, and leading to the explo- tation on this subject.
educational environment. With this inten- ration of the various modes of constitu-
tion, the Chair intends to initiate and tion and use of reason and its relation- The UNESCO Chair of Studies of the
implement a diploma (Postítulo) intended ship with the requirements of modern Philosophic Foundations of Justice and
for secondary-school philosophy tea- life. It also promotes intercultural dia- Democratic Society at the University of
chers and expects to promote a philoso- logue by reworking, starting with the Québec in Montreal (Canada) has expe-
phy programme for children, by training Arabic philosophical inheritance and in rienced considerable success in the
teachers of basic education. This chair light of Western philosophical assets, many activities it promotes. By concen-
was also an important participant during concepts to develop an ethic of demo- trating its research in political philoso-
the celebration of World Philosophy Day cratic mutual understanding. phy and in the philosophy of law, this
in Chile, in 2005. chair deliberates on the fundamental
The UNESCO Chair in Philosophy at theoretical questions emerging from cur-
The UNESCO Chair in Philosophy at Hacettepe University (Turkey) contri- rent changes in society, in particular
the University of Paris VIII (France) is butes considerably to the deliberation those relating to discussions around the
very active and committed to a broad on the promotion of human rights in principal prerequisites for democratic
and varied philosophical education, by focusing its activities on research, edu- rights and the reterritorialisation of the
focusing its activity on teaching and cation, teaching and information on phi- socio-symbolic space in the context of
research in the aim of contributing to the losophy of ethics and human rights. This globalization.
development of philosophy in developing chair has been exemplary in particular in
as well as industrialized countries. It terms of devising courses for the 2001.
implements activities that align directly ongoing training of personnel in the The UNESCO Chair in Philosophy at
with the UNESCO Intersectoral Strategy country’s security forces. the National University of Comahue
concerning philosophy, while concentra- and at the Gino Germani Institute of
ting its efforts on its preferred themes of The UNESCO Chair in Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires
culture and institutions, as clearly Seoul National University (Republic (Argentina) aims to promote an integra-
demonstrated by its project to create a of Korea) develops teaching and ted system of research, training, infor-
European University of Culture. The research activities in philosophy and mation and documentation activities in
objective of this project is to promote a democracy. It encourages international the philosophical domain and, in particu-
space for the intellectual development of collaboration between researchers via lar, in philosophy of science and political
culture directly related to artistic, litera- the publication of a philosophical review philosophy as well as to facilitate colla-
ry and philosophical creation. Humanitas Asiatica, which addresses boration between philosophers, high
the current points of view and problems level researchers and world renowned
The UNESCO Chair in Philosophy of of Asia. It has, in particular, played a cru- teachers from universities and other ins-
Human Communication, at Kharkiv cial role in facilitating the interregional titutions of higher education in Argentina
State Technical University of philosophical dialogue between Asia and and the countries known as ‘Southern
Agriculture (Ukraine) aims at promo- the Arabic world. Cone’ from Latin America.
ting and developing an international net-
work in the field of the philosophy of 1998.
human communication in the perspecti- The UNESCO Chair in Ethics and
ve of an intercultural dialogue. Activities Policy at El Honorable Senado de la
of this chair focus on the distribution of Nación (Argentina) works with the aim Source :


III. Diversification and internationalization
of philosophical teaching
1) Teaching practices and methods around the world
The diversity of ways in which philoso- quality of philosophical teaching
phy is taught in universities throughout depends more on individual educational
the world has more to do with the strategies. Specific differences are to be
content taught than the educational sys- found, nevertheless, at the regional and
tem adopted. Contrary to the secondary even national levels. Generally, these dif-
level, where a teaching structure organi- ferences are due to the manner in which
zed in terms of hours and semesters philosophy was historically introduced
determines the nature and the quality of into the university structure.
courses proposed, at the university level
the multiplicity of content areas offered The general state of philosophy
and the presence of philosophy within teaching around the world
quite disparate academic streams and
faculties determines the organization of Africa.
teachers and professors. In spite of many In spite of increasing difficulties, the pre-
local variations, the major part of the sence of philosophy remains strong in
academic curriculum is generally divided most of Africa. In the majority of coun-
into two principal levels. In the North- tries, courses are taught at the university
American system, these levels are pre- level. Most African universities have a
sented as ‘undergraduate’ (bachelor) department, a centre or an institute
and ‘graduate’ (master’s and doctorate). focussed on philosophical studies. This
The corresponding levels in the new presence sometimes extends beyond
European system are generally presented what one would imagine, and generates
as in three levels, B.A. and M.A. – which some confusion between the question of
are both considered part of the under- philosophy teaching and the possibilities
graduate level – and the doctoral level. of obtaining higher-level degrees in phi-
Moreover, we see the North American losophy. Moreover, the UNESCO ques-
system becoming more popular in seve- tionnaire brought this contradiction to
ral other educational systems throu- light. An Ugandan specialist in contem-
ghout the world, in which undergradua- porary and ethical philosophy pointed
te studies follow a system of principal out the absence of philosophy teaching
(major) and subsidiary (minor) subjects. at one point, and then later revealed
that this teaching delivers B.A. and M.A.
With regard to the methods employed, degrees and that it is also present in two
in a majority of countries, university edu- private universities. However, there are
cation is based on a combination of tra- many philosophy departments in
ditional courses and seminars, subject of Uganda. The renowned University of
course to local variations (including the Makerere, for example, offers a speciali-
reading of specific texts, the presenta- zed M.A. in Philosophy within the
tion and discussion of students’ work, Department of Philosophy of the Faculty
and in relation to teaching styles and the of Arts (one of seven departments in the
different demands made of students), faculty), which also oversees the new
but still reflecting a relatively homoge- M.A. in ‘Ethics, Social Management and
neous structure. This limited diversity in Human Rights’. Significantly, the depart-
terms of institutional practices and tea- ment is determined to underline its auto-
ching methods, linked to the presence of nomy from the Department of Religious
philosophy courses in almost all nations, Studies. In African countries, the majori-
is quite different from the situation ty of philosophy institutes and depart-
found at the secondary level, where the ments are in faculties of art or social and


human sciences. Philosophy courses are university education is a recent fact, and
also often included in faculties of law, that this is a sign of real progress, other
economic science, social sciences or edu- more worrying tendencies become appa-
cation. Centres for research and philoso- rent. Initially one notes, in certain more
phy teaching are relatively rare, however, advanced countries, a redeployment of
and are almost always to be found scientific and academic resources to the
within humanities faculties. A specific benefit of applied sciences and industrial
aspect of French-speaking African coun- research. This is a result of science policy,
tries is the network of Écoles Normales – often at the national level. Testimonials
institutes of higher learning in the huma- from South Africa report a growing
nities – which are present in almost all disenchantment with regard to philoso-
these countries and often account for phy, which is often regarded as unable to
most of the social sciences and philoso- contribute to the economic and scientific
phy teaching at the tertiary level. They progress of their country. The same atti-
represent an important resource in the tude can be seen in Botswana, where
context of higher education in these one respondent deplored ‘the current
countries. tendency to allocate resources to science
and technology’; in Kenya, where ‘the
Where there is no philosophy depart- preoccupation with profitability and the
ment, we can only deplore the absence. employment opportunities after obtai-
Thus, two research professors in ning a university qualification determines
Burundi expressed the country’s despe- the choice of which subjects are stu-
rate need for philosophy. There is a mar- died’; or in Lesotho, where one
ked absence of any pure philosophy bemoans ‘a lack of sponsors, because
degree course, but according to these social sciences are not as much a part of
testimonials, an Introduction to the government’s priorities as exact
Philosophy course is taught in the first sciences are’. In Nigeria, there is a more
years of all faculties, with philosophy general ‘lack of perception of the value
found in later years in the form of of philosophy’. It is as though economic
courses in logic (in the Faculty of Arts) development has been at the detriment
and ethics (in the faculties of law and of philosophy – a phenomenon found in
economics). Moreover, it is reported that other regions around the world and
philosophy is taught in almost all univer- which represents one possible axis for
sities and its presence is far from dimini- intervention. It is also important to
shing, ‘because a few years ago, it was a underline a stunning lack of documenta-
good as inexistent’. However, the Faculty ry and human resources in almost all
of Arts and Social Sciences of the African countries. This is a known phe-
University of Burundi comprises five nomenon and particularly affects those
departments (African Languages and subjects seen as having a weak economic
Literature, English Language and Literature, impact – such as philosophy, which cor-
French Language and Literature, respondingly suffers from a redeploy-
Geography and History), but philosophy is ment of resources towards other priori-
only offered within the Department of ties. A respondent from Gabon
African Languages and Literature. denounces the negative effects of a
structural insufficiency in terms of the
The testimonies assembled by UNESCO availability of teachers, linked to weak
reveal a general sentiment that philoso- interest in philosophy on the part of stu-
phy is weakening on the continental dents. A ‘teacher crisis’ is also observed
scale in Africa. These reactions are inva- in Mali and Niger, where ‘the teaching
luable, because they offer an overview of profession is being jeopardised by the
how teachers and academics are living contractual formalization of teaching
the evolution of their subject and an and the absence of documentation’.
insight into the place they occupy in the
various African societies. Even though In the Central African Republic, ‘the
respondents from Burundi agree that collapse in the number of students enrol-
the introduction of philosophy in ling in philosophy faculties’ is similarly


blamed on a ‘lack of motivation on philosophers to ensure continuity when
behalf of teaching staff’ and an ‘insuffi- we are forced to act in a situation of
ciency of documentation’. From limited educational resources? If the
Senegal, one respondent evokes the dif- transmission of philosophical practices
ficulty in reconciling a great number of between a teacher and his or her stu-
students with ‘very insufficient infra- dents constitutes the backbone of philo-
structures and organization’. The action sophical continuity, the reactions coming
of agencies specialized in supporting from Rwanda perhaps provide some-
research, such as the Francophone thing of a response. Here, introduction
University Agency, along with a number to philosophy courses are taught during
of NGOs involved in inter-university co- the first year in the majority of faculties.
operation, make it possible to mitigate It should be noted, however, that philo-
this shortage of means, but difficulties sophy teaching is flagging ‘to the bene-
remain. fit of applied and natural sciences’ and
that ‘courses in ethics and Rwandan cul-
Another point that arises from the com- ture are being endorsed for political rea-
ments of academics in Africa is that philo- sons’. But other African countries share
sophy and politics do not always go hand- a characteristic in as much that it is ‘nor-
in-hand. A testimonial from the Côte mally only the higher institutions that
d'Ivoire indicates that ‘there are few train priests and pastors that also teach
opportunities for philosophy meetings’ philosophy as an obligatory subject’.
and that ‘only the organization of (UNESCO) Even though a majority of these esta-
Philosophy Days has given rise to public blishments were founded in Rwanda
debates’. We see this demand for an after 1994, within the framework of
increased international presence in seve- rebuilding the country’s higher-educa-
ral African countries, whether on the level tion system, the presence of philosophy
of teaching and research or with regard in denominational establishments is cus-
to methods to support academic co-ope- tomary across the entire African conti-
ration on a regional and international nent. Examples include: the Catholic
scale. The presence of international insti- University of Central Africa in Yaounde,
tutions is viewed as a means of obtaining in Cameroon (governed by a group of
assistance for research projects, but is bishops from Cameroon, the Central
also, and sometimes especially, seen as a African Republic, Congo, Gabon,
support for freedom of public expression Equatorial Guinea and Chad); the
and debate. ‘It is in its support for the Catholic University of West Africa in
freedom of philosophical expression that Côte d'Ivoire; the Catholic Institute of
the action of UNESCO can be situated’. Madagascar; and Adventist Universities
(22) As Moses Akin Makinde, a
Admittedly, we are speaking here of assis- present throughout the continent (23). professor at Ife University in
tance in relation to research rather than Testimonials received from several philo- Nigeria and a former member of
teaching, however the two levels cannot sophers from Malawi in response to the the FISP guiding committee, men-
tioned in an address to the World
be dissociated – for supporting the trai- questionnaire agree that philosophy is Congress in Boston in 1998: ‘there
ning and practices of research professors taught ‘in various Catholic colleges and is no doubt that the exodus of phi-
losophers towards Western coun-
can have a profound effect on university missionary schools, such as seminaries, tries, because of the difficult eco-
education, on the training of secondary- and in two universities run by the nomic climate of their country of
origin, and retirement and mortali-
school teachers and the education of Catholic Church’. From the same country ty among philosophy teachers has
school students. The problem of a lack of we find that ‘certain non–Catholic col- had a negative impact on universi-
ty programs. The consequence of
support for philosophy teaching and leges do not permit the teaching of this phenomenon could prove
research is connected to the exodus of philosophy’. disastrous for philosophy in Africa.
African researchers towards European In short, it will be difficult, if not
impossible, to train enough post-
and especially North American universities On another level, we find in Kenya that graduates to replace former tea-
– and in the long term, undoubtedly, ‘the combing of philosophy, theology chers when they retire’. The situa-
tion has hardly changed.
Chinese universities – which considerably and religious studies in public universi-
(23) In Africa, there are Adventist
impoverishes the attraction that African ties has deprived philosophy teaching of universities in Madagascar
academic communities hold for young a course hours’, whereas another specia- (Antsirabé), in Rwanda (Mudende),
in Kenya (Baraton), in South Africa
students(22). list in the same country insists on that (Somerset West), in Cameroon
How do we train a sufficient number of philosophy teaching is ‘limited and (Cosendai) and elsewhere.


confined to the theological university Department of Theology and Religious
and other theological institutions’. In Studies, which would offer a philosophy
Uganda, philosophy teaching is ‘poorly programme and possibly master’s and
understood as being confined to religion doctorate degrees – although testimo-
and ethics, and is seen as being a mono- nials point out that ‘the process is too
poly for the clergy, for whom career slow’. The situation is similar in Namibia,
prospects are limited to teaching’ – this where philosophy is taught in higher
may be an exaggeration, but it relates to education within the Theology
a cultural climate that is sometimes igno- Department of the University of
red. Finally, in Swaziland, an Advanced Namibia. The situation appears more
Political Philosophy module is offered in complex in Malawi. Reactions to the
the fourth year of the Political Science questionnaire in fact reveal a nuanced
course in the Faculty of Social Sciences context, with one respondent pleased
at the University of Swaziland. that ‘courses have been added to the
curriculum, and older courses have been
Although dominant, the perception of a updated’ while adding that there is a
progressive decline of philosophy in ‘lack of expertise and textual resources
Africa does not lessen the diversity of in philosophy, a lack of capacity in terms
local situations. Some situations that go of qualified personnel, and few people
against the grain emerge from the pre- appreciate the role of philosophy: conse-
sent study. In addition to the Burundi quently, there are not many students
case, already mentioned, and Rwanda, enrolled in the course’. To illustrate the
where opinions are rather divided, seve- complexity of the matter, another
ral experts, philosophers and civil ser- respondent adds that ‘certain other
vants in Madagascar agree on the fact departments within the faculty feel
that they cannot identify any weakening threatened with respect to the rate of
in the current practices of philosophy philosophy enrolments, which is higher
teaching. The picture they draw is varied. every year. They have appealed to the
They point out that the number of enrol- rector’s office to limit the number of
ments in philosophy has increased and courses given in the philosophy depart-
that more and more students are taking ment, claiming that these are not suffi-
philosophy majors, especially because of ciently pragmatic to allow students to
the increased attraction of Malagasy uni- earn a living on graduating’. However,
versities for foreign students (especially over the years, numerous opportunities
from the Comoros). They also mention to carry out doctoral studies in philoso-
the creation of new courses and in parti- phy in Malawi have supplemented the
cular the inauguration of doctoral B.A. degree that was the former limit of
courses in philosophy. The questionnai- the philosophical curriculum. The
re also highlights the reinforcement of Philosophy Department of the University
inter-university relations. We can imagi- of Malawi is well equipped to dispense
ne here that respondents are referring to this triple-tier education (B.A., M.A. and
the merging, still within Madagascar, of Ph.D.), and the online presentation of
a doctoral school in philosophy between these classes is attracting great inter-
Toliara and Toamasina, as well as increa- est(25). The situation is therefore evolving.
sed foreign exchanges, in particular with It is clear that serious efforts are being
institutions in La Reunion, Canada and made to remedy any significant structu-
France. In Ethiopia, the University of ral deficiencies in Malawi that could
Addis Ababa intends to inaugurate, hamper philosophical teaching and
within its philosophy department, a gra- research. It is appropriate to finish with
(24) Philosophy doctorates are
available at the University of duate programme in philosophy. There the statement of a professor in Côte
Antananarivo, the École Normale has also been an increase in the number d'Ivoire, who summarizes the various
Supérieure in Toliara, the Catholic
Institute of Madagascar, and the of requests for philosophy classes concerns in the African philosophical
University of Toamasina. The coming from other departments, which community thus: ‘The grand failings of
University of North Madagascar in
Antsiranana offers philosophy
itself represent an almost universal philosophy teaching are primarily on
diplomas to the master’s level only. trend. In Botswana, there is an attempt three levels. First, documentation is non-
(25) to establish a philosophy unit within the existent. In universities as well as


secondary schools, there is a deplorable and more traditional knowledge. On the
lack of reference works. As a result, tea- one hand, these more practical philoso-
chers, and those who train them, cannot phical classes, detached from their theo-
inform themselves nor their students on retical basis, gradually found a new
the latest developments in their subjects. foundation in an epistemology emana-
Next, university lecturers cannot carry ting from traditional thought. This is
out field trips, nor can they take part in noticeable in the various forms of cross-
conferences and seminars outside their pollination between practical subjects
own countries of origin, due to a lack of (social philosophy, political theory) and
funds. Therefore, out-of-date courses Confucianism, Taoism or other forms of
are continued and in no way contribute spiritual traditional seen in the work of
to the training of future teachers. Lastly, Asian philosophers. Nowadays, this
the fact that there is a lack of job oppor- theoretical integration is encouraged as
tunities at the end of philosophy studies a means of integrating different tradi-
contributes to this deterioration’. tions and cultural paradigms, and acts as
a vehicle for important social, cultural
Asia and the Pacific. and political issues. In addition, we see
Whereas in Africa the introduction of an appropriation of the term ‘philoso-
philosophy was often modelled on phy’ by the same traditional forms of
European educational systems and net- knowledge that were once discarded in
works, in Asia the relationship between the infatuation with practical and
local cultures and philosophy – as an Western philosophy. Hence the redisco-
emanation of Western thought – has, in very and overwhelming presence of ‘tra-
fact, been more complex. ditional’ philosophies, which prolong
moral concepts and value systems that
Philosophy teaching in East Asia existed before the introduction of philo-
requires, from the outset, specifics sophical teaching. A simple analysis of
concerning the integration of this applications from Chinese students for
subject with the country’s traditional cul- European research grants clearly indi-
tural structures. In the majority of cases, cates this desire to develop projects
philosophy has been associated with aimed at confronting the analytical ratio-
processes of modernization and, indi- nality associated with Western thought
rectly, of Westernization, which Asian with a traditional approach to philoso-
societies first experienced between the phy. These are extremely complexes
end of the nineteenth century and the situations that prevent any generaliza-
first half of the twentieth century. From tion as to the role and social function of
this point of view, it has symbolized the philosophy. In general terms, the esta-
concerns of various political projects and blishment of philosophical subjects in
struggles between traditionalists and university curricula goes back, in the
modernists – a schism that has affected majority of cases, to the second half of
a number of Asian societies. This the twentieth century. Today, a majority
contrast has often resulted in the promo- of Asian countries offer doctoral courses
tion of the more practical aspects of phi- in philosophy. Philosophy departments
losophy (for example, ethics, political are present in almost all humanities and
philosophy and, today, environmental social science faculties in the region. The
ethics, bioethics and social philosophies), UNESCO questionnaire confirms this per-
to the detriment of the more theoretical ception of a considerable philosophical
subjects that have characterized Western presence in Asia, but also reveals how
philosophical thought (such as the theo- the image of philosophy has been tarni-
ry of knowledge, or transcendental shed in the eyes of the general public. A
philosophy, for example)(26). This pheno- large number of testimonials in fact
menon – which can still be seen today in lament a slowdown in philosophy tea-
the philosophy departments of many ching when compared to technical disci-
Asian universities – had the complemen- plines and applied sciences. From Japan
tary and perhaps unexpected effect of a to the Philippines, academics note ‘that (26) See the case of the Republic
fusion between philosophical enquiry an increasing number of students want of Korea in this section.


to take science courses and gain practi- study (27). Let us mention simply the
cal qualifications’ and point out that ‘the numerous academic centres that offer
emphasis on science has led to the mar- philosophy degrees throughout the
ginalization of philosophy and to a spe- country, some of which provide an excel-
cialization of disciplines’. The situation lent level of teaching in uncommon
appears to be extremely complex and places, such as Goa or Darjeeling,
must be elucidated. A specialist in making the Indian philosophical commu-
Chinese philosophy from Thailand ack- nity one of the world’s largest in quanti-
nowledges that the philosophy program- tative terms. India is also the only coun-
me does not ‘equip you to earn money’, try in the world, to our knowledge, to
and that consequently ‘the subject is not have created a national Council of
very popular’. However, Thailand has Philosophical Research (ICPR, Indian
one of the leading schools of logic and Council of Philosophical Research); a
the philosophy of science in Asia, and a support organization for philosophical
very prestigious doctorate in philosophy research which for some years now has
programme is offered by Chulalongkorn played a pre-eminent role in the deve-
University. In the Republic of Korea, lopment of studies on a national scale
too, research professors lament ‘a loss of and has contributed considerably to
interest in philosophy’, and add that embracing international relationships
‘recently, students have tended to take with the Indian philosophical community.
more practical subjects’.
The situation is very similar in Central
The disparity between the perception of Asia, where the wave of interest in phi-
the role that philosophy can play in society losophy education that stemmed from
and the extent of its teaching, which can the process of reconstructing national
also be found in several parts of the identities seems to have been prolonged.
Western world, reflects a characteristic fea- An epistemologist from Kyrgyzstan see
ture of philosophy’s presence in Asia. The no weakening of philosophy teaching
modernizing role that it exerted historically and is delighted at the fact that ‘philoso-
in many Asian countries now seems to have phy courses are taught in all universities
been supplanted by other methods of tech- and institutions of higher education for
nical and scientific innovation. In other all first-year students and others’.
words, although the incidence of philoso- Nevertheless, some changes have most
phy courses appears altogether satisfactory certainly occurred. Whereas in the midd-
within higher-education establishments in le of the 1990s, one of the priorities of
Asian countries, the image that philosophy the FISP consisted in promoting the
has in these societies has altered. spread of philosophical thought to coun-
Philosophy seems to be regarded less and ter the successive sectarian impulses that
less as a key skill towards modernization – arose after the disintegration of the
a role monopolized increasingly by techni- Soviet Union, today the academies of
cal subjects – to become, on the contrary, a Central Asian countries appear more
support for resurgent cultural traditions or, focussed on a political and cultural
in some cases, to become ‘standardized’ reflection aimed at reinforcing the social
within university departments and their reconstruction, and the memory, of their
teaching practices. Testimonials from cultural identities. It is in this context
Cambodia and the Lao People’s that, for example, the Philosophy Faculty
Democratic Republic, however, point to a at the National University of Uzbekistan
substantial deterioration of philosophy tea- fuses together courses in sociology, poli-
ching in their countries, due to the ‘lack of tical sciences, psychology and pedagogy.
qualified philosophy teachers and teaching In the Islamic Republic of Iran, intro-
materials’. ductory courses on Islamic philosophy
are obligatory in all faculties. Lastly, we
The complex relationship between philo- should point out a characteristic pheno-
sophical enquiry and traditional know- menon seen in the majority of countries
ledge is at the heart of philosophy tea- in Asia, namely that postgraduate stu-
ching in India – a country that, on its dies are very often followed by a specia-
(27) own, requires an entirely separate lized (doctoral or post-doctoral) sojourn


Box 32
The unique support structure for philosophical research in India

Since India’s independence, there has phers and institutions and those of and their relevance to a national
been a persistent demand on behalf other countries; to promote teaching reconstruction; normative questions;
of the country’s intellectuals, expres- and philosophical research; to provide human, environment, social and politi-
sed in different professional philoso- technical assistance and advice for cal philosophy; philosophy of law,
phical and non-philosophical forums, the formulation of projects and philo- logic, linguistic philosophy; critical
to re-examine both ancient and sophical research programmes; and and comparative studies of philosophi-
modern philosophical systems so as to organize and support education ini- cal systems or movements and reli-
to evaluate them and derive from tiatives in research methods. The gions; and philosophy of education.
them new directives for today’s chan- ICPR suggests fields in which philoso-
ging conditions. There is a definite phical research should be promoted The ICPR undertakes numerous activi-
impetus towards an independent and takes specific measures for the ties. It awards research grants, orga-
Indian philosophical identity. development of neglected or underde- nizes symposiums on different philo-
veloped fields of philosophy. It also sophical topics, conferences with
There is a sense of an urgent need, provides grants for the publication of eminent Indian philosophers and
on different levels, to reinforce papers, journals and studies in the more. It grants travel scholarships so
research and philosophy studies in field of philosophy and supports the philosophers can participate in sym-
India. In the mid-1970s, a team of introduction and administration of posiums and conferences abroad,
academics undertook a study of the scholarships and awards for students, organizes an annual competition for
question of reviving India’s philosophi- teachers and others and the develop- young researchers, aged between
cal tradition and suggested that the ment of documentation services and twenty and twenty-five years old, to
government found the Indian Council an inventory of current philosophical encourage critical and philosophical
of Philosophical Research (ICPR). The research, including a national databa- enquiry into the challenges facing
basic idea behind the ICPR was se of philosophers. Moreover, the India. The ICPR also manages an
accepted in 1976, and it was registe- ICPR plans to develop a group of exchange programme between India
red in 1977. Nevertheless, it only young, talented philosophers and to and other countries to facilitate the
became active in 1981, under the encourage research among young flow of ideas among philosophers. It
presidency of professor D. P. philosophers in general. On request, it publishes a quarterly journal of philo-
Chattopadyaya. The principal func- advises the Indian government on sophical works from academics and
tions of the ICPR are: to review questions concerning philosophy tea- researchers working within the ICPR,
advances in and coordinate the activi- ching and philosophy. In accordance as well as analytical publications
ties of philosophical research, and to with these considerations, the ICPR containing creative interpretations of
encourage interdisciplinary research has indicated areas of priority in traditional Indian texts.
programmes; to promote research research, such as the theory of truth
collaboration between Indian philoso- and knowledge; Indian cultural values Source :

abroad, generally in the United States or these countries. Firstly, the force of
in Western Europe. This tendency is attraction their recruitment policies exert
being reversed in the case of China, upon the international scene. Today,
which has even established a public Australia and, in a lesser measure per-
agency aimed at repatriating researchers haps, New Zealand present excellent
from abroad, but it still remains wides- possibilities for an academic career.
pread. Lastly, in Pakistan, philosophy is While young local philosophers largely
taught at the University of the Punjab in occupy this job market, there are gro-
Lahore, the University of Karachi and the wing numbers of Americans, Canadians,
University of Peshawar. These universi- Indians and British among them. An
ties offer doctorates in philosophical increasing number of Europeans with
areas including Western and Islamic doctorates in philosophy are also turning
Philosophy. As for Palau, philosophy is to Australia for their first university post.
taught at higher levels in the form of an In addition, the multiplication of interna-
introductory course to philosophy and tional conferences in Australia and the
religion in Palau Community College. increasingly visible presence of acade-
mics from the region participating in
In Australia and New Zealand, philoso- international academic exchanges is
phy diplomas are available in almost all reinforcing the tendency for these sou-
universities, although it is necessary to thern countries to become important
mention at least two aspects specific to philosophical research centres. The great


variety of nationalities represented in personalized tuition. In addition, the
philosophy courses in Australia seems, in UNESCO questionnaire highlighted a
addition, to benefit the quality of lessons generalized distress at the reduced num-
and contributes to the extremely plea- bers of enrolments in philosophy.
sant work environment. This also Although this phenomenon is not com-
explains the increasing presence of mon to all countries, in those where it is
researchers from other Asian countries in happening, teachers identified fewer
Australian universities. New Zealand spe- opportunities to improve their teaching
cialists underline the existence of ‘co- practices and instead noted signs of a
operative research projects between uni- disenchantment with regard to philoso-
versities’ and ‘a very vibrant philosophy phy. Thus, in Spain and Portugal there
association which frequently organizes are fewer students enrolled in philoso-
conferences’(28). Finally, we should point phy than there have been in the past,
out that philosophy teaching appears to with testimonies from Portugal pointing
be absent from the principal educational out that, in spite of the creation of two
establishments in the Pacific Islands. new university philosophy courses in the
(These include the University of the last few years, the number of students
South Pacific, the University of Samoa remains on the decline. A teacher in
and the University of French Polynesia.) Sweden complains that: ‘the large bud-
A course in Philosophy of Education is getary cuts that the government has
available at the University of New made with regard to universities has led
Caledonia. to a fall in education standards, hence
the presence of fewer students and
Europe and North America. fewer philosophy courses’. These
Europe is undergoing a dual phenome- concerns, however, are not always
non. On the one hand, respondents from reflected in the actual data. Several
Europe frequently point to the problems respondents in France consider it regret-
of large-scale universities, which makes table that today fewer students are
relationships between professors and taking philosophy and there is less inter-
students almost non-existent both in est in it in general, at least, in the way it
terms of the teaching methods and the is often taught. However, the Bachelor
evaluation processes employed. Any of Philosophy course at the University of
such relationship only to be formed Paris 1 remains one of the most popular
seems after the master’s degree, at the courses in France, in terms of the num-
doctorate level. This means that it is only ber of students who enrol. This reduc-
when training begins to transform into tion in students, also noticed in Italy, to
research that the majority of students the profit of ‘a growth in social and com-
can count on any personalised tuition. munication sciences’, comes at a time
The student–teacher relationship there- when the national media are worried
fore remains subject to enrolment in a about statistics indicating there is an
research programme, to the detriment of excess of students in philosophy, the arts
any more immediate teaching role for and social sciences in these two coun-
university professors, assistant professors tries. It is true that the phenomenon of
or lecturers. This phenomenon, common ‘long-term’ students particularly affects
to almost all European countries, has fur- Italy, where the average age of students
thered the multiplication of decentrali- obtaining a master’s degree in philoso-
sed university establishments, where a phy was twenty-six in 2005 and twenty-
reduced number of students are encou- nine for students enrolled before the
raged to form a more direct relationship 2000 reforms. Two German respondents
with their teachers from the earliest indicate a real danger facing philosophy
years. In Europe today, smaller universi- teaching in the majority of European
ties and specialized schools of excellence countries. While one reports that ‘tea-
with policies limiting the number of stu- ching posts are being cancelled for eco-
dent admissions through difficult entran- nomic reasons’ and that in ‘some univer-
(28) There is a New Zealand
philosophical resources portal at ce examinations are often the only esta- sities, philosophy has lost 30 per cent of blishments in a position to offer more its teachers’, another affirms that ‘there


has been a considerable reduction in phi- they argue are too focused on Western
losophy teachers following policy deci- philosophical thought. A researcher in
sions to lower financial assistance provi- Croatia sees a positive sign in the fact
ded to universities. Reducing the tea- that several new universities have been
ching of philosophy is probably not the established recently, all of which have
principal goal of the political decision- arts faculties and philosophy depart-
makers – however, this is the end result ments. The questionnaire reveals a gro-
of their decisions and they do not seem wing interest in philosophy in Greece, a
to feel uncomfortable about it’. These country that suffers (paradoxically!) from
various impressions from people working an historical deficit in terms of university
in the field of philosophy teaching must philosophy teaching. This optimism is
be understood in the context of a stan- shared by a respondent from the
dardization process in higher educational Netherlands, for whom ‘faculties of
systems taking place at the moment in philosophy are seen as “Key Faculties” in
Europe (the Bologna Process). Academic Dutch universities – so there is little
degree standards and quality assurance chance of them being closed down’. In
standards are becoming more compa- Ireland, on the other hand, there is ‘a
rable and compatible throughout greater emphasis on “hard” sciences for
Europe. We must consider the presence pragmatic economic reasons’. In effect,
of philosophy programmes within the the European university reforms appear
context of this new teaching organiza- to be accompanied by the promotion of
tion. However, because of the freedom more vocational directions in undergra-
that university establishments have to duate and master’s courses. Several
set their curricula, the situation remains German academics have the impression
extremely diversified. Moreover, the cre- that ‘the alleged reforms of German uni-
dits system, which sees curricula broken versities are favouring technology and
into various subject units, has contribu- natural science’ and argue that ‘for eco-
ted considerably to an increase in the nomic reasons there are fewer philoso-
diversity of subjects taught. phy departments in Germany, and philo-
sophy runs a risk of marginalization
While we cannot go into detail here on a because of the priority these policies
case-by-case basis, an overview of the place on “economic output”. This senti-
responses provided to our questionnaire ment is shared by one university teacher
allows us to highlight certain concerns who evokes: ‘an inadequate understan-
common to all of the university profes- ding of the value of philosophy’, while
sors consulted. These reactions show a another notes that ‘because of decrea-
general concern for the role of philoso- sing financial resources, many of the tea-
phy teaching in today’s society. In ching and lecturing positions have been
Belgium, there is general satisfaction at lost’. One testimony appears to synthesi-
the fact that the University of Antwerp ze, in a rather ambiguous form, this
has recently introduced a master’s vague perception concerning the tea-
degree in philosophy, but some respon- ching of philosophy in Europe: ‘the decli-
dents raise questions regarding the ne has been sizeable, but not dramatic’.
content of philosophy courses, which


Box 33
The Bologna Process or the construction of the European Higher Education Area

The model recommended by the and coherent systems of higher educa- higher education: among them, Albania,
Bologna Process, which is being establi- tion in Europe, a unit of common measu- Germany, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan,
shed through several university reforms re was introduced in 1998, called the Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria,
in various countries, is based on a two- European Credit Transfer and Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Spain,
tier undergraduate–master’s structure, Accumulation System (ECTS), a quantita- Estonia, Russian Federation, Finland,
with a more general undergraduate pro- tive computational tool managed by France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary,
gramme followed by a more specialized each establishment according to the Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,
master’s programme, followed by a doc- principle of university freedom. The fun- Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta,
toral level recognized throughout damental principle of this system Montenegro, Norway, Netherlands,
Europe. Although the majority of coun- consists in replacing years or semesters Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova,
tries are currently implementing it, this with hours worked as the basic unit for Czech Republic, Romania, the United
model varies from country to country, in measuring university training. One credit Kingdom, Holy See, Serbia, Slovakia,
particular concerning the number of corresponds to twenty-five to thirty Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey
years comprising the first two degree hours of work, and a year is sixty cre- and Ukraine. But the success of the
levels: three then two in Italy, four then dits. Therefore one year’s training is defi- reform, and in particular the ECTS sys-
two in Spain, three or four years, plus ned in terms of the number of hours wor- tem, seems to go beyond the borders of
one or two years for an M.A. in the ked, whatever the effective duration of a Europe. It is becoming a standard of
United Kingdom, and so on. It is, in par- year and the number of lesson hours per reference in international circles and can
ticular, the relationship between the first week. Although this does not settle all be found in several countries throughout
two degree levels that makes the diffe- the problems with respect to specific the world, from Africa to Australia.
rence. The LMD Reform (B.A., M.A., university systems (one thinks for
Ph.D) in France foresees a B.A. in three example of the problems in integrating
years, followed by two years for an M.A. into the new system the years spent in
and three years for a Ph.D., while Italian preparing for the French grandes
reforms introduced two levels for a B.A. écoles), it makes it possible to create Luca Maria Scarantino,
(an initial three years, then a supplemen- European standards of higher education. Deputy Secretary General,
tary two years) followed by a one-year International Council for Philosophy and
M.A. and three years of doctoral stu- Today, more than forty countries are Humanistic Studies
dies. To create comparable, compatible involved in this process of standardizing (ICPHS)

The case of Turkey is particularly interes- country’s universities (for example, in
ting for a number of reasons. In general Ankara, Istanbul and of Bosphorus
terms, there is a vague perception of philo- University) and played a role in structuring
sophy being overly confined within specia- student curricula. This is one particularly
lized departments, with a reduced amount striking example of the link between
of interaction with other programmes. research, the social function of philosophy,
However, there is a growing tendency in and the choices available in higher
Turkey to take philosophy teaching outside education.
higher-education establishments by addres-
sing particularly sensitive professions or Perceptions of philosophy in the European
social contexts. This is due primarily to the countries of the ex-Soviet bloc are in gene-
work of Professor Ioanna Kuçuradi, former ral less nuanced. A respondent from
president of the FISP, and the valuable aca- Bulgaria sees in the ‘democratic society’
demic activities she has carried out within and its ‘free flow of ideas’ reinforcement
the University of Hacetteppe, particularly in for the teaching of philosophy, although
her role as a UNESCO Chair of Philosophy. one of his colleagues decries the ‘erroneous
A teaching programme on the philosophy identification of philosophy with Marxism’
of human rights, intended initially for civil as a possible reason for the decline in phi-
servants within the Turkish national police losophy’s appeal in the country. This cum-
force, led to a considerable wave of research bersome heritage, sometimes underestima-
in the field of ethics in Turkey, and contribu- ted in Western societies, is revealed in an
ted substantially to the direction Turkish extremely interesting comment by a resear-
philosophers have taken in their work and cher from the Russian Federation: ‘There
careers. It also influenced the content of is a tendency, supported by official educa-
philosophy courses in several of the tion policy, to teach less philosophy than in


the past. This is a reaction to the the United States there has been a
dogmatism (based on Marxist-Leninist proliferation of interesting approaches to
ideology) of the philosophy teaching that philosophy. Developments in areas such as
was obligatory for all students during the feminist philosophy, African-American phi-
Soviet period. This is a mistaken tendency – losophy or native-American philosophy are
but instead of reforming philosophy tea- notable. At the undergraduate level,
ching to eliminate its dependence on an courses in these subjects and in what has
official ideology, there is an attempt to limit traditionally been called ‘American
philosophy to the philosophy of science’. In Philosophy’, as well as courses in non-
Belarus, one respondent simply states that European philosophies such as Buddhism
‘educational programmes have been redu- or Confucianism, are now far more fre-
ced to programmes in professional speciali- quently offered than they were twenty or
zation’. In Estonia, one academic points thirty years ago – thanks in part to the
out that philosophy is no longer ‘an obliga- great demand for them on the part of stu-
tory course in all faculties’. Although in the dents. Nevertheless, a good number of phi-
Russian Federation the situation of philoso- losophers working in various areas, and
phy teaching cannot be considered at risk, including some of the country’s most well-
one respondent reveals the complexity of known academics, have found that depart-
the problem in recalling that ‘the number ments other than those of philosophy – in
of hours allotted to teaching philosophy particular departments of English and forei-
was gradually reduced. Certain philosophi- gn languages, but also of rhetoric, as well
cal subjects, such as ethics, aesthetics or as law schools, for example – are more
political philosophy, which had been offe- suitable for their interest and give them
red to students in the past – at least as more support’.
optional subjects – are now excluded from
the majority of curricula in educational ins-
titutions. Nevertheless, they can be found
in universities known as ‘traditional’. The
effects of the European reforms are also
being felt. A professor from the Republic
of Moldova argues that the Bologna
Process is responsible for a weakening of
university philosophy education.

Philosophy departments in English-spea-
king countries are very often associated
with analytical thinking. In British,
Australian and North American universities,
the large majority of philosophy Chairs are
associated with analytical approaches.
Judging by job advertisements, philosophy
departments in these countries are looking
to fill research posts in analytical philoso-
phy, the theory of knowledge, the philoso-
phy of logic and linguistics, applied ethics,
ontology of logic, semantics and other spe-
cializations deriving from different analyti-
cal programmes. However, not everything
can be reduced to this single approach. The
proliferation of departments of cultural stu-
dies, gender studies and political philoso-
phy are all indications of diversity in the
English-speaking world of philosophical
learning. As William McBride, the current
Secretary General of FISP wrote in a contri-
bution submitted to UNESCO: ‘recently in


Box 34
Philosophy teaching in higher education establishments in the United Kingdom

Philosophy is offered in a variety of Concerning teaching methods, under- With regard to evaluation methods, they
forms in the U.K. Of the forty-one institu- graduate lectures are supplemented by include written essays and exams. Other
tions looked at, twenty-one offer single- small workgroups. In five cases, tea- methods used in some cases also inclu-
honours philosophy programmes, com- ching in small groups constitutes the de open-book examinations, oral exams,
bined-honours programmes, and post- core of the programme, and lectures are smaller tests taken during the course,
graduate research programmes. either non-existent or supplementary. and group work. A distinct characteristic
Undergraduate philosophy programmes Tutorials exist in 30 per cent of the pro- of one department is the obligatory final
always include courses in analysis and grammes and projects, with individually oral exam, designed to test the stu-
rhetoric, but there is a certain variation supervised projects or dissertations in dents’ oral presentation of ideas and
in the approaches adopted. Philosophy 41 per cent. Other methods of teaching arguments. Overall, 85 per cent of stu-
can be studied in terms of formal pro- include group work, workshops and, par- dents say the evaluation criteria are
perties (symbolic logic) or informally (cri- ticularly in interdisciplinary programmes, clear, they relate directly to the course
tical reasoning). Greek philosophers, team teaching). In 44 per cent of institu- content, and they feel they are well
epistemology, the history of modern phi- tions, learning opportunities are reinfor- understood by other students.
losophy and ethics are often the princi- ced by the Internet and its resources
pal fields of study. Courses dedicated to and, in at least ten cases, particular writ-
non-Western philosophy are rare. ten materials are available on the depart-
Master’s programmes offer a variety of ment’s or the programme’s Web site.
study fields, from general philosophical Postgraduate programmes are based
studies to distinct specialisations. on seminars and tutorials. Two major Quality Assurance Agency for Higher
postgraduate programmes organize Education
courses that combine lectures and a
question-and-answer session. (United Kingdom)

If we consider things from the point of and students from other faculties, sup-
view of this disciplinary mix, we have to plementing their training with lessons in
recognize that higher-educational esta- philosophy or logic. The ratio of these
blishments in the United States –colleges different student profiles changes accor-
and universities(29) – have not avoided ding to establishments, but it is interes-
philosophy. The majority have philoso- ting to note that the choice of philoso-
phy departments at the undergraduate phy as a principal subject at the under-
and graduate levels. Moreover, philoso- graduate level sometimes leads to gra-
phy classes are also included within duate studies in other subjects (law, for
other departments. Courses in philoso- example). Teachers are free to teach
phy are less present in community col- exactly what they choose. No university
(29) Historically, the difference leges – establishments that offer two- curriculum is drawn up at the federal or
between colleges and universities in year diplomas, often of a technical nature – state level. However, there is a system of
the United States is that universities
offer courses at undergraduate and but they are not completely absent. accreditation that allows the quality of
graduate levels, while colleges are Course content is not far removed from lessons to be verified and possible gaps
limited to undergraduate courses.
However, this distinction is the standards of Western universities, in the courses proposed to students
becoming blurred and some concerning both the history of philoso- identified(30). The great variety of studies
colleges are claiming university sta-
tus after creating a master’s phy presented and the subjects that the at the graduate level is the trademark of
programme, while others, even discipline is divided into. An Introduction the American system. Graduate studies
after the inclusion of graduate
studies, prefer to retain their
to Philosophy course is generally inclu- are an entire world in itself. In American
time-honoured title. ded. The distinction between major and universities, they represent the real dri-
(30) This is a system based on minor subjects, which is found in all ving force behind the academic process
periodic inspections by expert
independent agencies appointed
undergraduate courses in the United and make an essential contribution to
by educational establishments to States, also influences the relationship their international appeal. Today,
validate the various departments between teachers and students in the approximately one hundred American
against current scientific and
academic standards. Most field of philosophy. Philosophy classes universities offer postgraduate studies in
university or college presidents, usually include , students taking philoso- philosophy, of which approximately one-
but also faculty deans, initiate
these independent assessments phy as their major; students taking philo- third are limited to the master’s level.
regularly. sophy as a secondary, or minor, subject; The huge competition at this level, both


Box 35
How do we evaluate graduate studies in philosophy in the United States?

What criteria for a possible classifica- contradictions that exist between them. studies. This attitude, commonly indica-
tion? For example, examination results are far ted in contemporary American jargon by
from being infallible indicators of future the expression ‘my way or the highway’
At first sight, quantitative measurements professional success, and departments has an obvious incidence on how we
give the impression of greater ‘objectivi- that accept more students for whom evaluate a programme as well as on cur-
ty’ than qualitative measurements. English is not their first language auto- rent and future philosophy teaching,
However, nobody would support the matically have lower average grades in since it is this that is adopted, or in cer-
idea that the quality of an advanced stu- entry examinations that evaluate oral tain cases rejected, by future teachers.
dies programme in philosophy is directly abilities. However, when we try to devise
proportional to its size. There are other qualitative measures, obstacles imme- The fact that there is an unofficial classi-
quantitative measurements, more diately arise that are at least as formi- fication of advanced philosophical study
convincing for some, such as – just to dable as those encountered in quantitati- programmes in the United States illus-
mention a few – the total number of ve criteria. I certainly do not wish to sub- trates particularly well this alarming
publications, or pages of publications, scribe to the sceptic’s viewpoint, accor- trend. This classification, known as the
written by teachers and/or students of a ding to which no evaluation of quality is Leiter Report, is established by only one
university department; the number of possible in philosophy, but I am not the person, Brian Leiter, who teaches philo-
references to their work in books and first to stress that, more than other dis- sophy and law at the University of Texas
professional journals; the average natio- ciplines, philosophy is distinguished his- (
nal examination (Graduate Record torically, and is still distinguished today, There is a general attitude of scorn
Examinations, or GRE) results that philo- by the broad range of styles and towards non-analytical approaches to
sophy departments require for enrol- methods it employs. Hence, it is virtually philosophy, and young students conside-
ment in their courses; the percentage of impossible, or worse still, morally ring a career in philosophy are advised
professors at the university who hold a impossible, to evaluate the quality of all not to interest themselves seriously in
doctorate degree (counting only working philosophies and of all philosophy pro- such approaches. His website is fre-
professors, excluding those who are grammes according to a single crite- quently visited not only by young people
retired or have died!); or the percentage rion. However, there is a persistent atti- in search of simple and quick advice, but
of non-Americans, or members of an tude of intolerance in American philoso- even by administrators of various esta-
ethnic minority or women in the depart- phical circles towards philosophical blishments, who are looking for advice in
ment (since, in the United States, philo- approaches that differ from those that the absence, admirable in my opinion, of
sophy is of all the social sciences the find favour or share our ideals. Be it far any ‘official’ classification.
one most dominated by men). These cri- from universal, this attitude is neverthe-
teria have all been proposed already, but less very widespread and is transmitted Professor William McBride
it is easy to see the objections that to following generations of philosophers Secretary General of the FISP
could be raised to them, as well as the via certain programmes in advanced (United States of America)

between professors (to obtain teaching neither is there any consensus on the cri-
posts), and between establishments (to teria that should be used to define it.
attract the greatest number of students Although the question of the need for
or simply to increase their prestige), such evaluation remains, teaching and
poses an obvious problem when trying research practices sometimes suffer from
to evaluate the graduate programmes on an excessive attachment to such types of
offer. No official ranking or evaluation classification.
system for philosophy courses yet exists,


Arab States. philosophy of science, logic and episte-
Professor Abdelmalek Hamrouche, mology shares with us the following
Senior Inspector General of Algerian phi- thoughts: ‘the dichotomy between phi-
losophy , describes the current situation losophy and religion was formed during
of philosophy teaching in the Arab world the Middle Ages, by Al-Ghazali, and
as undergoing a kind of abandonment, continues to survive to this very day.
and says that ‘this desertion from philo- During the 1960s and 1970s, with the
sophy courses is specific to students in development of Marxist, Communist and
scientific programmes, generating an other movements, philosophy almost
impoverished and sterile philosophical disappeared for political reasons. It was
education. What’s more, the real crisis is then that the majority of authorities in
at higher-education levels. Indeed, stu- charge of higher education in the Arab
dents are not confronted with the major world created departments of Islamic
questions and problems that lead to the Studies in universities – to oppose philo-
kind of high level research and analyses sophy. However, since September 11,
required to be able to compete with that 2001, things have started to change in
carried out in the universal philosophical favour of reinforcing philosophy,
space. This undeniable fact leads us to although timidly’.
the pessimistic conclusion that the time
has not yet come to study contemporary As for Algeria, still according to
Arab philosophical production, because Hamrouche, ‘let us say that we live in
this amounts only to school publications almost total seclusion compared to what
and attempts to catalogue early Moslem is happening in the Western or Arabic
philosophy. In fact, this kind of superfi- worlds, whether in the field of philoso-
cial work cannot hope to be considered phy itself or its teaching and didactical
to be of the same order as the research developments’. It should be noted, final-
and philosophical thought that is accep- ly that this established fact is however
ted as such in the West. Even given this, moderated by the persevering resistance
the critiques that are produced are irrele- of Algerian philosophy teachers, who are
vant, because they are not based on working to improve this situation, as
works written by Arabs in the philoso- demonstrated in the ‘Summer University’
phical domain in the past century, either on the didactics of philosophy in Algeria
in terms of original publications or trans- held in 1998.
lations. This is why we need to collect
this production, to organize, catalogue, It should also be noted that the relationship
analyze and evaluate it. This project must between philosophy, secular culture and
be handled by a group having the neces- religion is at the centre of academic policies
sary means to finish a job that could lead in the majority of Arab countries. The tea-
to objective critiques that would allow us ching of traditional thought (for example,
to overcome our cultural and historical the works of Al-Kindi, Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina
complexes and any unjustified assimila- and Averroès) is regarded as one means of
tion. Since the 1970s, we have sensed in reinforcing a scientific approach within a
our neighbours in Morocco and Tunisia, Muslim culture, and it is not rare to see this
and in other Middle-Eastern nations, a classical tradition studied in parallel with,
desire to rectify this situation, on both usually modern, Western authors. In the
the pedagogic and the didactic levels. United Arab Emirates, the College for
They have succeeded in developing a Humanities and Social Sciences offers a
problem-solving strategy enabling philo- major in philosophy aimed at developing
sophy courses to open up to the world in ‘an appreciation of the relationship bet-
an organized fashion and to take part in ween ideas and cultural development in
pedagogical and didactic production, Arab and Western traditions, an understan-
(31) Abdelmalek Hamrouche,
‘L’enseignement de la philosophie’. thus contributing to a contemporary ding of the foundations and history of phi-
Diotime-L’Agorà, 10, 2001. philosophical vision.’ losophy, a capacity to analyze arguments
and their structures and to express them-
(32) See also the case of Tunisia
later in this chapter: ‘some exempla- In the area of secondary education, the case selves both in spoken and written English
ry case studies’. of Morocco is exemplary(32). A specialist in and Arabic’. Among the subjects taught in


Box 36
The first Summer University on the didactics of philosophy in Algeria

From 18 July to 30 July 1998, for the scientific means of evaluation. This will values. This isolation could be breached
first time in Algeria, more than one hun- make it possible, thereafter, to change by the distribution of high-quality docu-
dred philosophy teachers took part in a and re-establish traditional evaluation mentation; the provision of further
summer school, of which I was the methods. The experiment undertaken by ongoing teacher-training, both inside
Director, in the Hassiba Ben Bouali colle- the wilaya of Skikda during the and outside the country; and the encou-
ge, Algiers. Here is the introduction to 1993/1994 school year, in which the ragement of initiatives such as the
the published summary. didactics of philosophy was tested by Summer University, which enlightened
teachers in their classes, greatly inspi- participants on their responsibilities in
A glimmer of hope. Participants in this red certain aspects of this gathering. their daily practice and led to a reflection
summer school, despite the organizatio- This experimental Summer University in on educational reforms and general
nal difficulties stemming from the topic’s philosophy attained its goals despite the social changes.
isolated nature and lack of framework, material and morale difficulties encoun-
came away with a rather encouraging ini- tered. We hope that future events will
tial education in the important realm of focus on a more scientific education in
philosophy. The participants hope to this field, in view of optimising the sub- Abdelmalek Hamrouche
develop these assets on further occa- ject’s future development, because iso- Dean of the General Inspectors in
sions and to in future organize their tea- lation results in the extinction of creativi- Philosophy
ching and didactic practices using more ty and a decline in society and its human (Algeria)

this major are Ethics, Metaphysics, levels in Arab and Islamic philosophy, and a
Symbolic Logic, Arab Logic, Philosophy of secondary-school level Certificate of
Science, Greek and Medieval Philosophy, Aptitude in philosophy. The Faculty of Arts
Modern Western Philosophy, Theories of and Social Sciences at the Lebanese
Knowledge, Philosophical Problems, University in Beirut also offers a philosophy
Philosophy of Language, and Aesthetics. It specialization at the B.A., M.A., graduate
is also of note that, for some time recruit- diploma (Diplôme d’études supérieures, or
ment at this university has been done DES) and doctorate levels, dealing with
through job offers on the international various topics from philosophy and literatu-
market. re, eastern philosophy, philosophical aes-
thetics and Sufism to the foundation and
In Egypt, philosophy is taught as a separa- epistemology of Arab philosophy. For its
te subject at the higher levels. Its is taught part, the Philosophy Department of the
in the Faculties of Arts, Education and American University in Beirut has a long
Religion as well as in the Faculties of Arab tradition of introducing students to philo-
and Islamic studies, such as in Cairo’s Dar El sophy. The courses offered cover the sub-
Olum faculty. The Philosophy Department ject’s principal domains, ranging from
of the American University in Cairo offers ethics to logic, aesthetics to epistemology.
both a major and a minor in philosophy, Authors and texts studied include Western
and accepts students beyond the introduc- and Middle-Eastern traditions, the Pre-
tory level. Courses tackle questions arising Socratics to Ibn Rushd, and Descartes to
from reflections into religion, ethics, art, Rawls. The university offers a minor and a
politics, science and the theory of knowled- major in philosophy, and also has a master’s
ge. Course titles include: Philosophical programme in philosophy. Several of its
Thinking; Informal Logic; Self and Society; graduates have gone on to careers in jour-
Philosophy of Religion; Introduction to nalism, law, management, education or
Ethics; Political Philosophy; Philosophy and information technology.
Art; Ancient Philosophy; Metaphysics;
Islamic Philosophy; etc.

The Saint-Joseph University of Beirut, in
Lebanon, offers several philosophy pro-
grammes at the B.A., M.A., and doctorate


Latin America and the Caribbean. Peru fears that ‘certain academics in
The first thing we notice when we look fields other than philosophy (for example
at this region is the scattered presence of in the social sciences) want to eliminate
philosophy – with individual instances all reference to philosophy and limit
subject to economic and social research to their own subjects’. Another
constraints. Low wages for teachers and aspect that seems often to characterize
the attraction of young students towards philosophical teaching in the region is
other fields of study are both issues that the call for ‘national thinkers’ and a ten-
came up frequently in contributions to dency to want to build a repository of
this study by researchers from Latin- ‘Latin-American philosophy’, if not of
American countries. However, every outright national philosophies. This
researcher knows the intellectual wealth trend reflects the nationalist urges that
of Latin America’s philosophical commu- periodically traverse Latin America and
nities and the abundant opportunities can be observed, for example, in the
for exchange and co-operation among continent-wide presence of Philosophy
these philosophers and with the rest of Chairs in Latin-American thought, such
the world. In effect, despite numerous as we find in Nicaragua and Cuba. In
structural difficulties, philosophy tea- this context, philosophy courses are
ching seems to receive a certain atten- often, though not necessarily always,
tion from public authorities and speciali- connected to a theoretical movement for
zed associations. In Argentina, we see a ‘localized philosophy’ or ‘localized uni-
that special one-day programmes aimed versalism’, particularly well represented
at improving philosophy teaching are on the South American continent.
organized annually by UBA (the Similarly, a study carried out in 2003 on
University of Buenos Aires) and the how students in secondary school and
Asociación Argentina de Profesores de higher education in Costa Rica percei-
Filosofía (SAPFI). In Colombia, ‘the com- ved philosophy, revealed that ‘in univer-
plex situation in the country and the rest sities, students often quote national
of the world has made philosophy even authors’(33).
more important’. In other countries,
such as El Salvador, Uruguay and From Guatemala, we hear that most of
Venezuela, emphasis is placed on the the efforts currently carried out in favour
political aspects of philosophy teaching of philosophy teaching concentrate on
and the successive repressions and higher education: the state-run
reconsiderations this field has experien- Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala
ced through changing authoritarian (USAC) and nine private Universities
regimes and a return to democracy. (Universidad Rafael Landívar;
Argentina, in particular, is a country that Universidad Mariano Gálvez of
occupies a considerable position on the Guatemala; Universidad Francisco
international philosophical scene – the Marroquín; Universidad del Valle of
presence of various philosophical socie- Guatemala; Universidad Galileo;
ties, including the FISP, testifies to this Universidad Panamericana; Universidad
political commitment. A respondent Rural; Universidad del Istmo and
from El Salvador says that ‘during the Universidad Mesoamericana) are all loo-
war of the 1980s, philosophy ceased to king into the possibility of establishing
be important because it was regarded as courses or studies in philosophy.
an instrument of subversion’. This is an Moreover, respondents noted that other
observation that can be applied, a academic fields – such as medicine,
contrario, in a good many other coun- management, legal and social sciences,
(33) Álvaro Carvajal Villaplana and
Jacqueline García Fallas, ‘Cómo
tries, where the process of democratiza- and the political and social sciences –
perciben los estudiantes universita- tion saw a spectacular resumption of also include philosophy components.
rios la enseñanza de la filosofía, enrolments in philosophy, and in the Examples of such discipline-related sub-
según sus experiencias en la edu-
cación diversificada costarricense’. humanities and social sciences in gene- jects include: Philosophy of Intercultural
Instituto de Investigación para el ral, where philosophy courses are usually Education, Political Philosophy,
Mejoramiento de la Educación
Costarricense, 2004. taught. This situation seems to generate Philosophy of Central American Regional some tension: a phenomenologist from Integration and Philosophy of Law, and


others. In predominantly technical philosophy of art courses are taught
careers, it is a priority, we are told, to within the framework of training prima-
reinforce the philosophy component, as ry-school visual-arts teachers. Once
is the case in architecture, engineering, again, philosophy teaching is part of
agricultural and environmental science, specific curricula. In Trinidad and
in particular with regard to the basic Tobago, philosophy is taught in higher
human right to a healthy and ecological- education. There are Introduction to
ly-balanced environment. There is also Philosophy modules within the History
an insistence in Guatemala on the need Department of the Social Sciences facul-
for all ‘generalized’ secondary-education ty at the University of the West Indies. In
programmes to include a philosophy Haiti, a country that benefits from the
component course, and for those that presence of an excellent teacher training
already do, such as the magisterio, to school, it is said that ‘the École Normale
improve and modernise this course. The Supérieure at the State University of
School of Social Sciences in the Francisco Haiti has just opened, in its department
Marroquín University coordinates a num- for philosophy teachers, a master’s pro-
ber of conferences, held at various dates gramme in arts and philosophy, in liaison
throughout the year, on given philoso- with the University of Paris VIII. The Saint
phical topics and subjects. Teachers and François de Salles Institute of Philosophy
specialists from universities and other has just launched comes philosophical
educational institutions in Guatemala – review with the objective of philosophizing
governmental or not – attend these in Haitian Creole’.
meetings. It is interesting that the
National Education Plan for 2004–2007, Some exemplary case studies
the Strategy for Improving the Quality of
Education and the Strategy for Looking at specific cases allows us to
Education in Civic Values (2004–2008), illustrate some of the general features of
as well as general directives regarding philosophy teaching and to clarify the
education policy in Guatemala could contributions that these examples make
lead to the creation of a subject centred to an overall examination of the
on civic values and on the exercise of presence of philosophy in universities.
citizenship, and so reinforce the philoso-
phy of freedom, and projects such as the Brazil. We must acknowledge the gro-
Citizen Project and the Project for the wing role that the Brazilian philosophical
Nation, all in the framework of promo- community plays on the international
ting democracy and a culture of peace. scene. It has not only, over time, acqui-
red an eminence in linguistics, philoso-
The lack of equipment in Latin America phy of language, analytical philosophy
is less dramatic than in Africa. However, and social philosophy but also in several
local researchers reveal a systematic history of philosophy domains such as
delay in updating documentary classics or modern and contemporary
resources. Bibliographies, often produ- philosophy. Today, doctors of philosophy
ced in Europe or the United States, arri- in Brazilian universities are on par with
ve late, and library acquisitions are spo- their European counterparts, and a num-
radic and tend to prefer regional produc- ber of centres of excellence, such as the
tion rather than works written in other Campinas State University, also known
languages. Foreign reviews can some- as UNICAMP, are renowned around the
times be acquired only through fortui- world.
tous academic exchanges. The generali-
zation of electronic publications, never- Canada. Professor Josiane Boulad-
theless, will probably cure, in the long Ayoub, holder of the UNESCO Chair in
term, these difficulties. Studies of the Philosophic Foundations
of Justice and Democratic Society at the
In the Caribbean, the university presen- University of Québec in Montreal, in a
ce of philosophy is in decline in response report on philosophy teaching in
to each country’s priorities. In Barbados, Canadian universities which she presented


to UNESCO, explains the considerable one or another of these areas, reflecting
permeability that frequently the specialization of research professors
characterizes of philosophy courses in or the desire of the philosophy depart-
Canadian universities. The majority of ment or faculty to distinguish itself from
students enrolled in philosophy courses others.
in Canadian universities or colleges are
not enrolled as majors in specialized All the same, some courses do fall outsi-
philosophy programmes. According to de the subject’s dedicated branches,
Boulad-Ayoub, most ‘are enrolled in one often answering the needs of other uni-
or two philosophy courses in order to versity departments. These courses often
supplement their main subject area concern questions of duty or obligation
(natural sciences, social sciences, applied – dealing for example with the national
sciences, administrative sciences, law or evolution of philosophy; with applied
literary studies). Some philosophy philosophy (especially in the realm of
courses also form part of relatively new business ethics); or, more recently, with
programmes – for example, feminist stu- medical ethics. These courses are taught
dies, programmes related to questions of by teachers in philosophy departments
the environment, or programmes in but are not necessarily part of the philo-
sciences and technology’. It should be sophy programme itself. Concerning
stressed that in Canada, as in the majo- content, philosophy teaching has certain
rity of Western countries, philosophy specificities according to whether it is
departments and faculties are entirely practiced in a university in English-
independent as to course content, speaking or French-speaking Canada.
programme reforms, evaluation and the
organization of student’s programmes. It seems clear that in Canada, close ties
with universities in the United States
Philosophy departments in Canada enjoy have been formed as a natural conse-
a similar degree of autonomy when it quence of discussing American thought
comes to the recruitment and selection and basing philosophy courses on a tho-
of research professors. However, rough knowledge of the English-langua-
Canadian universities, whether public or ge philosophical tradition. In epistemolo-
private, remain subject to the require- gy and in metaphysics, for example, tea-
ments of profitability, which can result ching and research have both been
either in the reduction of certain courses influenced by the tradition of neo-prag-
or in the introduction of other courses matism and, in political philosophy, by
that are seen as more relevant to social the traditions of contractualism and
and cultural realities. According to libertarianism. In French-speaking
Boulad-Ayoub, the task of professors in Canada, the importance accorded to the
Canadian universities is generally tripar- European tradition of hermeneutics,
tite: teaching, research and the provision through the teaching of Paul Ricœur and
of other services for the university com- several other philosophers, has suppor-
munity. In combining teaching and ted the development of a more ‘conti-
research tasks in this way, teachers at the nental’ philosophy. However, the
university level tend to model the influence of English-language philoso-
contents of their courses according to phical tradition is clearly on the increase.
traditional divisions in philosophy and The attenuation of this rigid division also
research specializations. Thus, even contributes to the richness of philosophy
though there is no centralized ministry teaching in Canadian universities, which
imposing a uniform programme, the today represents an exceptional example
Canadian student will find from one of the integration of philosophical tradi-
university to another lessons that are tions that are so often viewed as very
similarly distributed according to tradi- separate from one another. It should also
tional fields: history of philosophy; epis- be added that academic exchange pro-
temology; philosophy of language; logic; grammes, thesis co-supervision and
metaphysics; or social and political philo- other international forms of cooperation
sophy. An emphasis might be placed on have multiplied over the last few years.


Republic of Korea. According to pro- commented on in Korean classrooms;
fessor In-Suk Cha, holder of the UNESCO Confucianist and Neo-Confucianist thin-
Chair of Philosophy and Democracy at kers are also interpreted. It is also inter-
the Seoul National University, and esting to observe that scientific and
President of ICPHS, the social and politi- technological development has led to
cal implications that have accompanied philosophy teaching playing a more
the development of philosophy in the important role than in the past. A strong
East has strongly influenced the type of sense of philosophy’s capacity to encou-
philosophies prioritized by Korean intel- rage social and political modernization
lectuals. Because philosophy was used (and in opposition to this, the appearan-
against forms of traditional spirituality, it ce of ‘conservative’ forms of philosophy
was initially appreciated as a practical that promote traditional value systems)
approach, a guide for action anchored in seems gradually to have been replaced
an historical contingency and able to by an awareness of the educational
provide answers to the practical ques- capacities of philosophy to the benefit of
tions posed by Korean society. This all curricula. Today, Korean professors
approach went as far as place a high value on the diversity of stu-
inspiring reforms in higher education dents attending philosophy courses, and
that, since the 1980s, have allowed the see such courses as an opportunity to
proliferation of philosophy curricula and develop the critical and intellectual capa-
enabled philosophy departments in cities that are so important to reaching a
Korean universities to multiply. level of excellence in their own disci-
Philosophy has been regarded as an plines. In this evolving context, lessons in
essential subject in education for citizen- critical thinking or simply an introduction
ship and, more generally, as an intellec- to philosophical thought seem destined
tual tool in the service of democratic to play an increasing role.
development. Today, more than eighty
Korean universities have a philosophy Tunisia. Professor Fathi Triki, holder of
department or offer degrees in philoso- the UNESCO Chair in Philosophy at the
phy. A rapid overview of courses offered University of Tunis 1, recalls that ‘the
in the principal higher-educational esta- first philosophy lessons in Tunisia were
blishments allows us to observe the mas- provided by French teachers in the
sive presence of practical-oriented sub- 1960s: among them Jean Wahl and
jects: logic and critical thought, a philo- François Châtelet, later followed by
sophical understanding of contemporary Gerard Delledalle, Claude Drevet and
society, bioethics, cyber-ethics, a philo- Olivier Reboul. Since 1966, the
sophical understanding of science, envi- Philosophy Department at the Faculty of
ronmental ethics or social philosophy. Arts and Social Sciences in Tunis has
The literature used in these fields comes organized lecture series by Michel
largely from the United States. The majo- Foucault, Gerard Lebrun and, for limited
rity of students read English and in most periods, Pierre Aubenque, Jules
universities a second foreign language Vuillemin, Gilles-Gaston Granger and
(French or German) is obligatory. Jean Hyppolite. Today, there are four phi-
losophy departments in Tunisia: in the
This quality of the Korean university sys- Faculty of Social Sciences at the
tem is undoubtedly at the origin of the University of Tunis, at the Institute of
considerable Korean presence on today’s Social Sciences at the Al-Manar
international scene. This system has also University, at the University of Kairouan
produced a substantial assimilation of and at the University of Sfax. Philosophy
traditional Western philosophy, regarded courses are also taught in the country’s
today as an integral part of Korean phi- literary and scientific preparatory
losophical culture, almost on an equal schools; in schools and institutes of tech-
footing with Neo-Confucianism. The nology, cultural sciences, theology or pri-
principal classics of philosophical mary-school teacher education; in insti-
thought, from Plato to Wittgenstein and tutions of applied arts; and in university
Rawls, are systematically read and faculties of social sciences, law and, to a


lesser degree, science’. We see in whereas Tunisia has witnessed a growth
Tunisian higher education the same of research in logic and epistemology
relationship between philosophy and over the last twenty years, today ethics,
other subjects already observed in other political philosophy and especially ques-
countries we have examined. According tions relative to law (such as human
to Triki, ‘programmes in social sciences, rights, the rule of law, or civil society)
cultural sciences, theology and the arts have become central concerns in the
include subjects of a philosophical natu- various higher education programmes.
re in their syllabi. The history of science
and bioethics has also begun to be As Triki says: ‘the Master’s of
taught in some scientific institutions. Contemporary Philosophy from the
Institutions of applied arts and schools of Faculty of Human and Social Sciences at
fine arts often include courses in aesthe- the University of Tunis comprises three
tics and other philosophical concepts. seminars on ethics and three seminars
Philosophy of law is taught in law on political philosophy of a total of twel-
schools and legal institutes. It is ve seminars. In other words, these two
estimated that almost 40 per cent of ter- subjects account for 50 per cent of all
tiary-level students in Tunisia take at seminars offered to students. Moreover,
least some type of philosophy class. in all philosophy departments, questions
Also, according to the most recent data, of human rights, tolerance, democracy
almost half of Tunisia’s philosophy stu- and political life are taught as compo-
dents (44 per cent) are women. In addi- nents of value theory in undergraduate
tion to undergraduate programmes, courses, and as components of moral
each of Tunisia’s four philosophy depart- and political philosophy at master’s level.
ments offers a specialization to master’s As for the doctorate level, it comprises
level, although only the Faculty of Social several seminars with a specialization in
Sciences at the University of Tunis offers political and moral philosophy’. Finally,
a doctoral programme. With regards to we see a growing interest in the tea-
course content, we can also refer to ching of aesthetics and art theory and
Triki’s testimony: ‘for your information, history, undoubtedly because they can
we can signal the presence of the follo- lead to employment in the new institu-
wing classical authors in the various phi- tions of applied arts within Tunisian uni-
losophy programmes in universities: versities. The Arabization process seen in
Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, al-Farabi, higher education, including philosophy,
Avicenna, Averroes (Ibn Rushd), is an outstanding aspect of the Tunisian
Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, situation. Contrary to the secondary
Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, level, however, in universities, the passa-
Heidegger, Foucault, Rawls and ge to teaching in Arabic has only been
Habermas. As can be seen, the classics partial. Tunisian researchers endeavour
used in philosophical teaching are repre- to publish in international reviews, but
sentative of the world’s philosophical also to bring an international audience
heritage, and especially the Greek, to publications such as the Revue tuni-
Arabic, Latin and European heritages. sienne des études philosophiques.
We are, however, missing an opening Accordingly, French remains the langua-
towards traditional Asian civilizations’. ge of reference. The same phenomenon
(In this respect, we would like to point can be observed in Morocco, where the
out that the interregional philosophical policy of Arabization began in 1972 but
dialogues between Asia and the Arab where a strong knowledge of French
World, set up by UNESCO in 2002, remains important.
constitute a genuine means to address
this lacuna.) The central role occupied by
the classics seems increasingly unclear,
however, with higher-education follo-
wing the example of secondary educa-
tion to the profit of a more practical
approach to the subjects taught. Thus,


2) The multiplication of academic exchange networks
ERASMUS and ERASMUS MUNDUS leave to study abroad to return to their
countries of origin. The ‘brain drain’
Created in 1987, the European ERASMUS net- towards universities and scientific centres in
work (European Region Action Scheme for the the West constitutes a serious problem for
Mobility of University Students), by far most the majority of African countries, but also
famous of the exchange and university mobi- touches other countries around the world.
lity networks, has been used by approximate- Actions to support a reversal of this tenden-
ly 1.2 million students(34). Today, 2,199 tea- cy could play an essential role in reinforcing
ching establishments in 31 countries(35) take the presence of philosophy in the educatio-
part in the programme. The programme’s nal systems of these countries. A 2003
impact on philosophy students varies and article by Gumisai Mutume illustrates the
tends to have been relatively reduced over the urgency of taking action to counter brain
years. According to European Commission’s drain(36). The scientific, cultural and social
latest statistics, in 2004/2005, humanities stu- conditions at the origin of this emigration
dents represented 3.8 per cent of participants, play a much greater role than do academic
that is 5,393 students out of 144,037. In circumstances. An additional difficulty is
2001, the ERASMUS programme was dou- presented in finding the necessary means
bled in size with an extension called ERASMUS to reverse this trend. A considerable effort
MUNDUS. Reserved primarily to encourage will be necessary to encourage the return
the mobility of master’s students, ERASMUS of expatriate specialists. It is significant that
MUNDUS is open to students from all over the the majority of strategies implemented to
world and aimed at attracting young talent to this end have been initiated in countries
European universities and to encourage that have the resources necessary to sup-
European students to move beyond the bor- port the return of these talents.
ders of Europe. The success of the ERASMUS
programme and its development at the inter- Italy is a case in point. A programme called
national scale represents an example to be ‘from brain drain to brain gain’ has been
followed in the field of university education. In set up by the Ministry of Universities and
light of this, philosophical disciples seem, by Research to provide academics who have
the very nature of their content, particularly carried out research activities abroad for at
likely to benefit from this kind of initiative, least three years with the opportunity to
which not only promotes a scholarly education obtain posts as associate professors or full-
but also encourages interaction between tenure professors in Italian universities.
young people of different cultures as well as These contracts vary from one to four years
the learning of new languages, customs and and present two principal characteristics.
practices. This is a very promising agenda. A Firstly, they are intended for both recogni-
more generalised action aimed at creating zed specialists and younger researchers,
other programmes to promote international sometimes at the beginning of their
mobility would benefit, in particular, students careers. The goal is to return to the Italian
and young researchers in countries where the university framework expatriate academic
lack of resources rarefies the opportunities for professionals, who will make their scientific
studying abroad. The mobility of researchers, and academic networks available to Italian
and in general all initiatives in favour of inter- colleagues and students and so contribute
national intellectual co-operation, seem likely to an expansion in the international hori-
to play a increasing role in the current process zons of the Italian academic community. At
of internationalizing scholarly research. the same time, the programme offers (34) ‘The European Community
programme in the field of higher
younger specialists the possibility to carry education. European Commission’.
The ‘From Brain Drain to Brain Gain’ out research activities within their commu-
programme nity of origin. Secondly, these teaching and (35) The twenty-seven EU Member
States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein,
research contracts are financed by the Norway and Turkey.
One fundamentally important action neces- ministry to a total value of 90 per cent, the (36) Gumisai Mutume, ‘Reversing
sary to maintain the presence of philosophy financial costs for the universities is hence Africa’s “brain drain”’. Africa
Recovery, 17: 2, July 2003.
in less-developed countries relates to the considerably reduced. The participation of
opportunities open to researchers who researchers in philosophy is far from vol17no2/172brain.htm


negligible. Although this programme does Incentive Programme, the Programme of
not solve all of the problems raised by the Academic Short-Return for Scholars and
flight of Italian researchers abroad, it is an Research Overseas (2001) and the support
interesting of the type of programmes that agency, Scientific Research Foundation for
are being initiated up by or in a number of Returned Overseas Chinese Scholars.
European countries(37). Pierpaolo Giannoccolo,
an economics researcher at the University UNESCO Fellowships
of Bologna, compares the various initiatives
adopted throughout Europe in this area. The UNESCO Fellowships programme
Giannoccolo examines the different strate- consists of the attribution and administra-
gies used to encourage the immigration of tion of fellowships, study and travel grants.
foreign talent towards foreign educational It has twin objectives, to contribute to the
centres, and the various attempts made to enhancement of human resources and
repatriate emigrated specialists to their national capacity-building in areas that are
country of origin. These answer to two closely aligned to UNESCO’s expected stra-
distinct requirements – they are certainly tegic objectives and programme priorities,
related, but are given different degrees of and to increase fellowships co-sponsorship
priority in different parts of the world. arrangements with interested donors(38). the
Another example that deserves mentioning UNESCO National Commission of the can-
relates to the various actions implemented didate’s country is the official channel for
in China to support the return of resear- the submission of fellowship applications.
(37) Pierpaolo Giannoccolo, Brain chers who have left to study or work The fellowships offered under this scheme
Drain Competition Policies in
Europe: A Survey. February 2006.
abroad. The Chinese government is cur- are of short term duration (six months rently making the return of expatriated maximum) and are intended for specialized
/20060201.htm researchers and graduates a priority, training at the postgraduate level. Priority
through programmes such as the Fund for targets are promising and qualified specia-
(39) The principles and conditions
governing this programme are des- Returnees to Launch S&T Research (1990), lists who seek to undertake advanced
cribed in a circular addressed to the Programme for Training Talents toward research or to upgrade their skills and
the National Commissions for
UNESCO at the beginning of each
the Twenty-First Century (1993), the Chunhui knowledge of state-of-the-art develop-
two-year call for fellowships. Programme (1996), the Changjiang Scholar ments in their field of study or work(39).


3) The International Network of Women Philosophers
sponsored by UNESCO: A universal springboard
The International Network of Women more visible and present. The end result
Philosophers was launched by UNESCO in was the creation of a place for the
March 2007, from an idea based on an exchange of ideas, for dialogue and dis-
observation: the absence of women phi- cussion, for debate and construction.
losophers at philosophical forums and
conferences. For economic or personal To achieve this, it is necessary both to
reasons, sometimes institutional and emphasize the diversity of origins and
sometimes the result of fixed ideas, backgrounds of participants and the pos-
women philosophers can be less in sibilities offered by UNESCO’s various
demand than men and are often less fields of competence. The International
mobile, which makes exchanges between Network of Women Philosophers thus
institutions – and countries – more diffi- aims at being an instrument to bring
cult. Many women may have already together women philosophers so that
resolved this problem of representative- they can give their points of view on a
ness, but they tend to come primarily vast variety of subjects, and not only on
from Europe and North America. This topics related to gender.
non-representation does not represent a
lack of interest on the part of women phi- To construct this network, UNESCO has
losophers, but rather disguises a series of called for tenders to establish, as a first
problems that we need to underscore, step, a database of the world’s women
while at the same time seeking to unders- philosophers. This call was sent to
tand their profound causes. The idea UNESCO’s entire global network of part-
behind this network is therefore to help ners. At the time of drafting this study,
those women philosophers who have not the database includes more than one
had the opportunity to confer with other thousand women philosophers from
philosophers by circulating their work, around the world (including professors,
publishing their articles and inviting them researchers and doctorate candidates).
to conferences and seminars where they
can share and communicate their philoso- The specific activities of the network will
phical work. This network is for women be defined by committees at the national,
philosophers wherever they are, in parti- regional and international levels on the
cular those from developing countries basis of the network’s objectives as stated
who have chosen philosophy and who do above and UNESCO’s programme priori-
not necessarily benefit from a university, ties. Activities envisaged for 2008 include
editorial or even professorial platform. creating a portal on the UNESCO Web site
Beyond their lack of recognition, the with a database of women philosophers
question of their visibility, the very posi- by region and field of expertise, and deve-
tion of women philosophers is cause for loping, along the lines of a Who’s Who, a
reflection. What language is used in tal- biographical repertory of important
king about women philosophers? Where women philosophers around the world.
do they fit in? How are they viewed? UNESCO will also promote the participa-
tion of women philosophers in World
After giving much thought to the best Philosophy Days, Interregional
way to overcome these obstacles and to Philosophical Dialogues, the World
devise a participative process that would Philosophy Congress and in other forums
lean in the direction of creativity, emula- organized around the subject of philoso-
tion and even encouragement, UNESCO phy. Through this network, UNESCO will
arrived at the conclusion that creating a also encourage other more specific activi-
platform for these women philosophers ties, such as promoting philosophy tea-
would be the best solution – a forum ching around the world, as well as
where their voices and their works could concrete North-South and South-South
be heard, in other words, to make them partnerships and bi-lateral activities.


Box 37
Call for the constitution of a UNESCO International Network of Women Philosophers

The Social and Human Sciences fight against gender-related discrimi- sustainable intellectual partnerships
Sector of UNESCO, nations and for the defence of the in favour of philosophy.
cause of women in finding their full
Convinced of the crucial and central place in our societies, 2) Asks you all to assist us in giving
place of women in philosophical this initiative its necessary depth by
reflection and their precious contribu- Attentive in particular to the preoccu- responding to this call and thereby to
tion to an insightful understanding of pations of young philosophers regar- kindly send us a list of the names of
the great challenges of our time, ding the evolution of their curricula by women philosophers who work today
encouraging them in earnest to take in research, teaching and for the ope-
Working to associate women to actions part in this network and by inviting ning of philosophical debate to the lar-
undertaken in all fields of competence of their professors and research supervi- gest possible public, as well as send
UNESCO, and in particular those aiming sors to support them in such an us, as far as possible, their contact
at the promotion of reflection and dia- endeavour, details and biographies, so as to be
logue among the different regions in the included, together with references of
world in the spheres of research, tea- 1) Announces the launching on 8 their work, in the database of the net-
ching and debate, March 2007, on the occasion of work.
International Women’s Day, of the
Noting the need to reinforce the par- UNESCO International Network of 3) Invites you to diffuse this call
ticipation of women philosophers in Women Philosophers, assembling the as widely as possible to your philo-
the different activities implemented greatest possible number of women sopher colleagues, acquaintances
by UNESCO in the field of philosophy, philosophers – philosophers/artists, and friends. You will find herewith
and recalling in this regard the provi- philosophers/writers, philosophers/ below the text of this call in the six
sions of the UNESCO Strategy on poets and similar – from all countries official languages of UNESCO
Philosophy, which aims at reinforcing and philosophical traditions, so as to (English, French, Arabic, Chinese,
the networks of philosophers throu- involve them in a dynamic and partici- Russian and Spanish).
ghout the world and encouraging phi- pative manner in the different projects
losophical reflection in all its forms, and activities of UNESCO in the field
of philosophy, and to convey to them
Determined to pursue tirelessly the the support of the Organization in the UNESCO, January 2007
action of UNESCO in favour of the development of interdependent and

4) Promoting interregional philosophical dialogue
The Interregional Philosophical Dialogue a search for identity that takes the form of
programme aims to encourage open and a retreat into a particular religion or spiri-
productive dialogue at the very centre of tual tradition to the exclusion of all others.
the province of philosophy: the fight Beyond any individual political factors,
against ignorance deliberately fostered by these antagonistic forms of retreat result
dogmatists who would still have us believe, from an ignorance of the long history that
in the name of a school or a tradition, not binds different peoples, their cultures, their
only that they alone know the Truth, but, religions and their spiritual traditions, toge-
more than this, that theirs is the only cor- ther. One of the objectives of philosophical
rect method of verifying knowledge. This dialogue is to highlight the dynamic inter-
programme represents a unique opportunity play between spiritual traditions and their
to take a fresh look at the potential that specific cultures by underlining the contri-
dialogue holds in a globalized world. It is butions they have made to each other’s
imperative that we place strong significan- development, through the discovery of
ce on the concept of dialogue and seek common heritage and shared values. To
dynamic and global strategies that reinfor- achieve these goals we must work toge-
ce its relevance and its strength. Dialogue ther, through joint actions, to reinvent
must become a tool of transformation, a forms of ‘living together’ for the peoples of
means of making tolerance and peace the world, whose experience of conflict or
prosper, a vehicle for diversity and pluralism conviviality constitutes the building blocks
and, finally, a way to serve the common of our collective memory. At a time when,
good. Many conflicts are partially fuelled by throughout the world, we are witnessing


the rise of separatist movements based on for destructive purposes. Conversely, it is
claims to cultural specificities, with conse- vital to emphasize the positive contribution
quences that are sometimes deadly, we of inter-cultural exchanges, particularly in
have a duty to promote and to establish a the field of ethics and values. In this regard,
framework for intercultural and philosophi- the educational dimension of inter-cultural
cal dialogue. I should add that it is also very dialogue, through the promotion of mutual
important we seek ways to reduce any knowledge, is essential. We must also
negative perceptions of particular aspects ensure that this sensitivity to others, in both
of another civilization, so removing the their closeness and their difference, is
possibility of these perceptions leading awakened at the earliest possible age.
directly to conflict, or being manipulated

Box 38
Interregional Philosophical Dialogues

Through this project, UNESCO proposes The dialogue between these two regions during this two-day event centred on the
to act as an interface for the formation was launched with a brainstorming mee- overarching theme of democracy and
of dynamic networks of philosophers ting held in November 2004 in Paris, social justice in Asia and the Arab world.
from different parts of the world, and back-to-back with World Philosophy Day. In this age of globalization it is indeed
particularly from regions between which Its aim was to provide a space to dis- even more important to look at the ways
there is no tradition of philosophical dia- cuss the issue of establishing a philoso- in which the heritage of Asia and the
logue. Meetings organized within the fra- phical dialogue among scholars of the Arab region has coped with democracy
mework of this programme aim to foster two regions and cultures, the possible and social justice in the past, and how
constructive, free and open–if need be, challenges and obstacles, and the objec- we may work together to find new solu-
critical–dialogue between two regions, tives of such encounters. tions to implement philosophy into prac-
so that the philosophers can exchange tice to promote justice. [… ]
ideas on all of the great questions that The philosophers present at the meeting
interest them. […] Regardless of the underlined the need for an Asian-Arab UNESCO, acting on the strength of its
regions that have been involved, the philosophical dialogue to counter the conviction, is wholeheartedly committed
meetings organized so far within the obstacles of prejudice and fanaticism to actively promoting philosophical dia-
context of this programme have all and to narrow the cognitive gulf between logue. The meetings held so far have
addressed questions such as: […] In the two regions. clearly demonstrated the enormous
what way could philosophical dialogue interest in initiating and strengthening
contribute to the development of the While emphasizing the existence of interregional exchanges among philoso-
study of philosophy? […] Which transcending and universal questions phers from various regions of the world.
themes/problems should such dia- and issues common to the philosophical Unfortunately, at present we lack the
logues focus on? What action plan traditions of the two regions, partici- financial means to bring together all the
should UNESCO take up in order to laun- pants also stressed the importance of philosophers in these regions who would
ch a successful programme of interre- understanding the particularities of like to participate in such conferences,
gional dialogue? What methodologies these traditions and developing a plura- but by acting in cooperation with exis-
could be employed to teach Asian philo- listic conception of philosophy. With this ting forums for dialogue, together we
sophy in different parts of the world, in mind, and in view of a need for philo- can awaken the calling of philosophers
such as Africa and Latin America? What sophers from all regions to critically to break through the barriers of geogra-
types of programmes directed at capa- respond to contemporary problems rela- phy and other dividing lines. […]
city-building and the exchange of ideas tive to the general human condition, par-
could be considered that would offer ticipants agreed that it was essential to
young philosophers a possibility for reci- have a dialogue on such topics as demo-
procal learning? How can an understan- cracy, poverty, social justice, moderni- Extracts from the introduction by Pierre
ding of each other’s traditions of thought zation, terrorism or violence. The inter- Sané, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-
be promoted in the two regions? […] regional conference at the origin of the General for Social and Human
present publication took place in Sciences, to the publication Inter-
In the framework of a philosophical dia- November 2005 in Seoul, Republic of Regional Philosophical Dialogues:
logue between Asia and the Arab region, Korea. In a follow-up to the conclusions Democracy and Social Justice in Asia
two events have already taken place. from the meeting in Paris, discussions and the Arab World.(40)

(40) Pierre Sané, ‘Introduction’, in Inwon Choue, Samuel Lee and Pierre Sané (eds), Inter-Regional Philosophical Dialogues: Democracy and Social Justice in
Asia and the Arab World. UNESCO / Global Academy for Neo-Renaissance of Kyung Hee University / Korean National Commission for UNESCO, 2006.


IV. Philosophy in higher education: A few figures


Conclusion: The future of philosophy
The last two world congresses of world, despite continuing and obvious
philosophy have had for title, respectively, inequalities, reflects the importance of this
‘Paideia: Philosophy Educating Humanity’ education as a counterbalance to the rise
(Boston, 1998) and ‘Philosophy Facing of irrationalism and intolerance.
World Problems’ (Istanbul, 2003). This pro-
gressive opening of philosophy to society’s For this function to be fully effective,
problems and the role that philosophy philosophy teaching must remain free.
teaching can play in the training of Academic freedom, the freedom to teach
tomorrow’s citizens is wholly consistent and to learn philosophy, is a necessary
with the place it currently occupies within precondition for a philosophical education.
contemporary learning. Today more than philosophy teaching will never be perfect.
ever, philosophical teaching is being called Its quality will reflect the competences of
upon to inspire a critical approach to all each research professor. But no authority
knowledge that might otherwise be taken external to the dynamics of academic
for granted, and to all dogmatic or doctri- exchange can claim to determine research
nal conceptual systems. By its very nature, priorities, nor judge the relevancy of discus-
philosophy assumes the task of extracting sions, nor establish the limits of the
the intentional, fundamental structures subject’s scope. Where interventions are
from all cultural and human activity, indivi- legitimate, as in the case of historical revi-
dual and social, so as to place them in an sionism of any kind, they are always in
historical perspective and to release them response to a violation of sound scientific
from any absolutist ambitions. It liberates principles and are supported by the entire
individuals from the burden of their inheri- peer group.
ted ethical, cultural and social conditioning
– and by this very act of criticism, can run Like any learned discipline, philosophy is
up against resistance from one or another continually evolving, and previously neglec-
cultural community. ted approaches can prove rewarding. This is
why support for philosophical research and
Because above all it develops and encou- teaching should represent a strategic priori-
rages critical thinking, philosophy exerts its ty for UNESCO and its Member States. Any
liberating action through an educational action of support can only aim at reinfor-
process. It teaches us to understand the cing philosophical communities, while
complexity of human actions, to see in leaving them free to develop to a maximum
each act and each attitude an expression of diversity of methodological and conceptual
spiritual forms, the historical nature of approaches and themes. To subordinate the
which it recognizes and places in a context defence of philosophy to prioritising speci-
for interaction and mutual change. A fic subjects means sacrificing approaches
dialogue among cultures only becomes that may appear negligible today, but
possible when we learn to see, in the which are likely to hold, tomorrow,
traditions and ethics of others, the expres- un-hoped for theoretical and cultural
sion of a world view that is able to commu- rewards.
nicate with our own. It teaches us, to some
extent, a universal language of reason that
allows us to go beyond the historical
crystallizations that express themselves
through the diversity of ethical systems.
The presence of philosophy throughout the


Copyright : Jérémie Dobiecki

Other ways to discover philosophy
Philosophy in the polis

Introduction: The other dimensions of philosophy 153
Methodology 153

I. The need to philosophize 154 - 160
1) Cultural 155
2) Existential 155
3) Spiritual 156
4) Therapeutic 157
5) Political 158
6) Social 159
7) Intellectual 159

II. The various kinds of philosophical practice 161 - 177
1) The present situation: How philosophy is practised 161
> Philosophy counselling
> The philosophy café
> Philosophy workshops
> Publishing successes
> Philosophy with children outside school
> Philosophy at work
> Philosophy in difficult contexts
2) What should the philosophy practitioners’ status and position be? 170
> Discussion leader, philosophy content provider, referee of philosophical form
> Paying the philosopher
3) Philosophical practice: An analysis 174
> Common features
> Critique of this pratique
> Philosophical skills

III. Twenty suggestions towards action 179 - 192
1) Non-academic philosophy and institutions 179
2) Institutional recognition 180
> Understanding philosophical practice and its essence
> Recognizing the cultural aspect of philosophical practice
> Ministerial point of contact, youth and associations
> Recognition of philosophical practice in the area of healthcare
Copyright : Jérémie Dobiecki

> Recognition of philosophy in training institutions


3) Training and providing professional status 183
> Broader availability of a Master’s Degree in Philosophical Practice
> Setting up professional structures for philosophy practitioners
> Promoting philosophical practice as a professional opportunity
> Development of Service Learning in philosophy
4) The philosopher’s role in the polis 186
> Working with marginalized youth
> Philosophy for those in precarious situations
> Philosophizing in prisons
> Philosophizing with retirees
> Promoting philosophical activity at work
> The polis philosopher
> Philosophy Day(s)
> Internet Projects
> Philosophy Olympiads
> Debates following film screenings
> Philosophy ‘House’

IV. Informal philosophy: A few figures 194
Conclusion: Is it philosophical? 195


Introduction: The other dimensions of philosophy
Does location make a difference to the way argues that truth can be found in our
philosophy is done? Philosophy outside innate capacity for reason, but has to be
academia is an activity that is not easy to ‘given birth to’ by answering intelligently
detect or define. What should it be called, proposed questions). There is ambiguity in
to start with? ‘Informal philosophy’? the term ‘sophia’: philosophy as the trans-
‘Natural’, ‘popular’, ‘non-institutional’, mission of knowledge, or philosophy as
‘extra-mural’? None of these seems quite apprenticeship in wisdom. The distinction
to do justice to this different kind of philo- between popular and academic philosophy
sophy. After all, a religious sermon might in recurs in Kant. Indeed, the debate is never-
a way engage the listener in philosophical ending: more recent philosophers can be
activity; so might the storyteller reworking found arguing whether there is or not any
old folk tales from an oral tradition; so such thing as non-Western philosophy,
indeed might a yoga teacher, a militant namely African, Chinese or Indian.
advocate for a fairer society, or a personal Partisans of the ‘classical’ thesis – who, fol-
development therapist of one kind or ano- lowing Heidegger, maintain that philoso-
ther invite their hearers to reflect: can we phy was born in a specific place (Greece) at
be certain that these reflections are less a specific time (the classical age) – will not
philosophical than that of the philosophy only reject a broader view of philosophy,
teacher in the classroom or lecture hall? but may well find the idea scandalous; and
their restrictive approach is certainly one of
It all depends, of course, on what we mean the reasons why the discipline seems until
by ‘philosophy’. The issue began with the recently to have been for the most part
opposition between the teaching of the confined to the seminar room or library.
sophists and the Socrates maieutics (which

Our purpose here is to imagine how a and what is its future? In tackling these
specific kind of philosophical activity questions we learn from the examples of
might be developed which, while not the diverse practices already instituted in
ignoring academic work, is not itself aca- different parts of the world. Some come
demic but seeks to be deployed in from personal interviews and some from
various forms throughout society. We written accounts of meetings, collo-
shall accordingly be looking at the ori- quiums and other encounters. Their
gins of this need, strongly manifested for main purpose is to inform, to show, to
many years now, to engage in philoso- illustrate, the many ways people approach
phy. We shall also be paying attention to ‘philosophy elsewhere and otherwise’.
the nature of this non-academic tea- These examples and illustrations from
ching of philosophy: how did it begin? such a variety of sources bear witness to
How is it practised? What are the issues the growing importance – and real pre-
at stake? How is it perceived by conven- sence – of such philosophical practices in
tional or academic philosophy? What the world today. Finally, this chapter will
forms can it take? What varieties are draw from these varied experiences a
there? How long has it been around – series of practical ideas and suggestions.


I. The need to philosophize
For a number of years now there has been a growing demand for ‘extra-
mural’ philosophy – less parochially institutional, struggling for an identity,
but at the same time apparently corresponding to a fundamental or
essential need in our society.

The nature of this need and the reasons for noting that this ‘concern with oneself’ has
it are doubtless heterogeneous and com- always been somewhat at odds with the