sábado, 19 de febrero de 2011

Teaching Philosophy in Africa


En Francais

In the wake of the study conducted in 2007 and the subsequent landmark publication of the report Philosophy, a School of Freedom, UNESCO has charted new practical orientations for countries to take up the challenge of developing in their citizens the skills of critical reasoning through the teaching of philosophy. In a world characterized by an increasing complexity on the one hand but growing interdependence on the other, there is a universally felt need to initiate and sustain well argued reflections on our common future, to measure the congruence of national priorities and international urgencies.
The centrality of the goal to enhance the human condition was evidenced by the 1995 Paris Declaration for Philosophywhich consolidated UNESCO’s commitment to promote the discipline as a rampart against doctrinaire thinking and radicalism.
We can only legitimately support such a notable enterprise. It is indeed a great honour and privilege for Mauritius to be associated with this endeavour by hosting the High-Level Regional Meeting on the Teaching of Philosophy in Africa in September 2009. The June 1980meeting of Philosophers in Nairobi and its resulting recommendations were a clarion call for the affirmative role to be played by philosophy in Africa. There are obviously challenges posed to the teaching of philosophy on the continent and this High-Level Meeting will, I am confident, address them and provide the necessary guidelines for a common regional strategy and targets set.
As a vibrant democracy and an aspirant regional leader in the economic and social domains, Mauritius wishes to play a pivotal role in building the foundations of a strongerAfrican continent where open debate will enlighten analysis and lead to intelligent and concerted actions for amore humane and ethically just society. And this can only take place when reflection leads to knowledge generation and knowledge application. The Beninese philosopher, Paulin J. Hountondji, aptly captured this essence when he wrote: “the African Philosophers should fight to make all recognize that they have an obligation to think for themselves”.
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