Many thinkers state that “astonishment” is the root of philosophy. Indeed, philosophy stems from humans’ natural tendency to be astonished by themselves and the world in which they live. World Philosophy Day has been celebrated by UNESCO every year since 2002, on the third Thursday of November, both at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and other cities around the world.
The Day encourages academic exchange and highlights the contribution of philosophical knowledge in addressing global issues.
For centuries, in every culture, philosophy has given birth to concepts, ideas and analyses, and, through this, has set down the basis for critical, independent and creative thought. UNESCO’s Philosophy Day allowed this institution to celebrate, in particular, the importance of philosophical reflection, and to encourage people all over the world to share their philosophical heritage with each other.
For UNESCO, philosophy provides the conceptual bases of principles and values on which world peace depends: democracy, human rights, justice, and equality.
Philosophy helps consolidate these authentic foundations of peaceful coexistence.
Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Philosophy Day 17 November 2011:
"The practice of philosophy is a process benefitting the whole of society. It helps to build bridges between peoples and cultures and heightens demand for quality education for all. Philosophy encourages respect for cultural diversity, exchanging opinions and sharing the benefits of science, which are the conditions for genuine debate. This 17 November, let us rally together to harness the incredibly transformative potential of philosophy."
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