Wednesday, October 5

In defense of Philosophy

Despite the agreement reached by the Education Commission of Congress in 2018, which guaranteed the presence of a subject of Ethics and philosophical reflection in the last year of Compulsory Secondary Education, the new Education law, the LOMLOE, has ended the task that the LOMCE of the Popular Party began: to definitively end Philosophy at ESO. Indeed, there is no subject of Philosophy at this stage, presenting instead something called Education in Civic and Ethical Values. But this is not a matter of Philosophy nor is it Ethics, since it does not deal with the foundation of moral values ​​but only propagate and convert their beliefs: the evangelization of a secular catechism.

But why should there be a matter of philosophical reflection in Compulsory Secondary Education itself?

First, let’s try to banish a myth. It is pedantic to defend that Philosophy possesses the exclusiveness of thought and that it is the matter of Philosophy that teaches how to think. Indeed, Philosophy does not require more thought than Chemistry, History or any other subject. But, it is also true, it demands specific qualities in thinking: to philosophize is to think in a certain way. And this way of thinking has three fundamental characteristics: critical thinking, radicalism and universality.

By critical thinking we understand a characteristic idea of ​​Philosophy: take nothing for granted. Faced with other matters that must start from a series of ideas that are considered to be true in order to develop, Philosophy presents a permanent questioning not only about itself, as shown by the philosophical debate about why Philosophy, but also about its content or his method. Science, for example, starts from the assumption that the world is ordered and mathematizable, while Philosophy can even doubt the existence of reality itself or whether we can get to know it.

In addition, this criticism leads to radical thinking. Sadly, the word radical has been reduced to its own caricature, where even fans of any stupid belief can be called radical. However, the word comes from “root” and in it we see its importance. The radicalism of Philosophy does not presuppose stupid, dogmatic and intolerant extremism. Faced with this, the radical nature of Philosophy consists, as Socrates has already taught very well, in a permanent search for the why of things and even the why of itself. Its radicality is, therefore, to go beyond common beliefs, current or past, and pose the problem, in these difficult times for it, of doubting what is established by the social powers or by the dominant thought. And not to doubt in any way or with slogans and slogans, but through the force of argumentation. The radicality of Philosophy, precisely, lies in the weapon of the argument. In front of a world where they are raised stories, the radicality of Philosophy is presented in the requirement of argumentation.

And furthermore, Philosophy also has a universal character. Faced with the specialization, characteristic and more and more of the other knowledge, Philosophy requires every human being to be a philosopher. And it demands it because it recognizes that any thought is not necessarily philosophical or that any person cannot consider himself, and without any intellectual effort, philosopher. Philosophy requires an effort of thought, philosophy presents life itself as an intellectual task as well. Not everything is Philosophy and, therefore, and almost paradoxically, we must all be philosophers in order to have a life worthy of being human. Philosophy in its critical and radical thinking marks an exalted way of being human. But it does not do so from elitism but from universality. His motto, raised by Kant, is valid for all humanity and all rational beings: sapere aude, dare to think for yourself.

Do we want the citizens of a democracy to be critics, radicals, and philosophers? Do we prefer the individual whose permanent selfie shows the assumption of his own submission to the real?

Faced with the construction of the new society for domination, Philosophy becomes, for all of the above. in the presence of a testimony that there is an idea different from what is current and a different project. It is naive to think that the fact that there is Philosophy in school will automatically generate critical consciences, but it is suicidal to forget that genuinely critical consciences are not so by spontaneous generation but by development. In fact, eliminating that matter that summarizes the ideal of a reason that judges reality as insufficient, is to take another step in consolidating that same unjust reality. To eliminate the matter that raises the fundamental questions beyond where the satisfied conscience answers is to ensure the ultimate triumph of that submissive conscience.

Removing the Philosophy of Compulsory Teaching is an act of domination: the commitment to a new model of submissive subject for the development of a new social model of domination. Faced with this, the presence of Philosophy, in its form of Ethics in the 4th year of ESO, is to give testimony that the world, and reason itself, were not always as they want to constrain them now. It is tradition that the castaways throw bottles with messages of hope into the sea. Philosophy at school is that message of a reason demanding more from the world and students should have the possibility of receiving it on the coast. And only if they can be on shore will they be able to read the message.