16 November is the World Philosophy Day that celebrates the importance of reflection and critical thinking. The day was introduced by UNESCO in 2002 to promote an international culture of philosophical debate that respects human dignity and diversity and encourage academic exchange and highlights the contribution of philosophical knowledge in addressing global issues. World Philosophy Day also encourages all individuals around the world to share their philosophical heritage with each other.
For UNESCO, philosophy provides the basis of principles and values on which global peace depends: democracy, human rights, justice and equality. For centuries, philosophy has given birth to ideas, analyses and concepts across cultures, having set the basis for critical creative and independent thought. Philosophy as field sees itself as a form of “wisdom”, teaching people to reflect and continually question the established truths, and encouraging them to think outside the box.
Other objectives of the World Philosophy Day include the appraisal of the state of philosophy teaching throughout the world, the renewal of national, sub-regional and international commitment to philosophy, the public awareness of the importance of philosophy and its critical use in the choices arising for many societies as well as the importance of universalization of philosophy for future generations.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, commented on the occasion that “faced with the complexity of today’s world, philosophical reflection is above all a call to humility, to take a step back and engage in reasoned dialogue, to build together the solutions to challenges that are beyond our control. This is the best way to educate enlightened citizens, equipped to fight stupidity and prejudice. The greater the difficulties encountered the greater the need for philosophy to make sense of questions of peace and sustainable development.”