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What Is World Philosophy Day and Why Do We Celebrate It?

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Image courtesy of Giammarco on Unsplash

By Dr. Steve Wyre
Faculty Member, Philosophy

This year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has set November 18 as “World Philosophy Day.” This will be the 19th celebration of this event.

World Philosophy Day traditionally occurs on the third Thursday of each November. So what is this event? According to UNESCO, World Philosophy Day has several objectives:

  • To renew the national, subregional, regional and international commitment to philosophy
  • To foster philosophical analysis, research and studies on major contemporary issues, so as to respond more effectively to the challenges that are confronting humanity today
  • To raise public awareness of the importance of philosophy and its critical use in the choices arising for many societies from the effects of globalization or entry into modernity
  • To appraise the state of philosophy teaching throughout the world, with special emphasis on unequal access
  • To underline the importance of the universalization of philosophy teaching for future generations

UNESCO clearly recognizes the value of philosophy for changing minds and as “an inspiring discipline as well as an everyday practice that can transform societies.” UNESCO also makes the timeless observation that by “awakening minds to the exercise of thinking and the reasoned confrontation of opinions, philosophy helps to build a more tolerant, more respectful society. It thus helps to understand and respond to major contemporary challenges by creating the intellectual conditions for change.”

Related link: What Value Does a Philosophy Degree Have in the Real World?

World Philosophy Day Celebrations Online

There will be some online events to celebrate World Philosophy Day. One celebration will occur at the Australian site New Acropolis. Also, the Emerald Coast Magazine website will have a quiz competition sponsored by Boney Cultural Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

How the University Will Celebrate World Philosophy Day

The University is celebrating World Philosophy Day with an online symposium running from 9 am to 11 am (or later) ET on November 18. This symposium will feature some of our full-time philosophy and religion faculty answering your questions. Our faculty will also address various topics as diversity, how philosophy can help improve one’s parenting skills and how poetry has a place in philosophy.

In addition, there will be a session on the philosophy of religion as well as on general philosophical concepts. The symposium will conclude with a session where you are free to ask anything you have been pondering.

If you would like to be kept in the loop for this symposium and future events, please visit the Philosophy Department’s website and subscribe to our mailing list.

Related link: Developing a Functional Moral Compass in Online Courses

Take a Few Moments on World Philosophy Day to Consider Ways to Improve Your Local Community

To have your own celebration of World Philosophy Day, consider setting up a calendar reminder for November 18. It will be a good time to take a few moments and ponder what you might be able to accomplish that day to make your local community a better, more peaceful place.

Dr. Steve Wyre received his B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from the University of Oklahoma and his Ed.D. from the University of Phoenix. He has been teaching various ground-based philosophy courses since 2000 and online since 2003. Steve has also served as a subject matter expert (SME) for courses in ancient philosophy, ethics, logic and several other areas.

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