Public Space in a Network Society? A Note on the Call for Public Space (Philosophy) in Education Today
This chapter begins by looking at the growing interest for philosophy and ethics in education and in daily life. For example, consider the current vogue surrounding creative and critical thinking and philosophical consultancy. In 2004, the former Flemish Minister of Education Marleen Vanderpoorten, signed a protocol concerning philosophy and education, which specifically focused on ‘interactive philosophy’. This means that a budget will be available to develop curriculum material, to provide teacher training and to do scientific research in relation to the integration of practical philosophy in education. This interest in philosophy is not limited to one particular state or country. UNESCO also recognizes the need for philosophy as a practice, not only in educational but also in cultural, social or political fields. The International conference ‘Philosophy as Education and Cultural Practice: A New Citizenship’ organized in 2006 at UNESCO's headquarters, considered the importance of practical philosophy and the mobilization of international networks looking at the development of the teaching of critical thinking, citizenship and ethics. This interest in philosophy represents an attempt to dispense with the hierarchical relation between teacher and pupil and includes a plea for a less, manipulative and deficiency/problem-oriented approach to education. The focus is on a form of education that provides confrontation with other philosophical perspectives that does not see philosophy as a particular discipline or a form of study: ‘Philosophy will therefore be approached as a method of teaching and not as a specific discipline, and will be considered as broadly educative, as a place for discussion, for the development of autonomous and critical thought, and so on’ (UNESCO, 2006, p. 2). Following a similar line of argument Jongsma, in an interview about philosophy in daily life, argues that: ‘most of the people do not have anything to do with famous philosophers … they want someone thinking along with them’ (see an interview from Carpels and Karssing, 2000, p. 89 [my translation]).
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