Think About It…


Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann at Pixabay

Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond – George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

If you wish the world had a little more critical thinking going on just now, you might be interested to hear that 17 November is World Philosophy Day.

Unesco came up with the idea in 2005 and every third Thursday in November has remained a time to celebrate philosophical principles and values as a path to world peace.

Essential to the values of democracy, human rights, justice and equality, critical thinking seems sadly lacking in the world today. Our world leaders seem largely led by ‘feeling’ rather than properly argued plans… and by argue I don’t mean the general heavy duty criticism flung about, concerning ‘the other side’s hairstyles or how boring they might be.

The phrase that has become my pet hate as I get older is: “ I am entitled to my opinion”.

That’s fine if you are buying a car and are happy to make your decision on its colour or that funny gadget your friend told you about. It’s not much use if you are tasked with weightier matters such as immigration or how to provide the best possible health service.

It seems clear that instead of fighting to have power and wealth we could all do with going back to basics and discussion is the best ways forwards.

Whether you are a world leader or simply wrestling with your own personal views on local and national affairs, some critical thinking seems pretty important.

According to its blurb, World Philosophy Day “seeks to promote human thought, new ideas and critical thinking to confront today’s challenges. Philosophy refers to the study of knowledge, experience, existence and reality.”

Well, you probably aren’t going to find that in the Daily Mail.

So, for those who are already yawning and thinking philosophy is not for me, just hear me out. All right, so it’s quite difficult to define – philosophy does go in for a pretty heavy word count – but the short definition from the Philosophy Foundation is: “Philosophy is a way of thinking about certain subjects such as ethics, thought, existence, time, meaning and value.”

That involves 4 Rs: responsiveness, reflection, reason and re-evaluation.

The aim is to deepen understanding. The hope is that by engaging with philosophy we learn to think better, to act more wisely, and thereby help to improve the quality of all our lives.”

If you are interested to know more, I refer you to Thales of Miletus, who lived about 600 years before Christ; he was a mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who is generally considered to be the father of philosophy. And to Rene Descartes who is regarded as the father of modern philosophy and the first to use the concept of reason to develop the natural sciences.

To explore further for World Philosophy Day and maybe wake ourselves up to the need to think for ourselves, take a look at the following suggestions from the website:

Tune in to the live webcast of the philosophical debates on Unesco’s website.

Watch a movie that touches on philosophy. Some suggestions are: The Matrix (1999), Blade Runner (1982) and Being There (1979).

Read a book on philosophy. Some suggestions are: Plato’s Republic, Critique of Pure Reason and A History of Western Philosophy. Philosophy Day


Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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