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Welcome to UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day at the City College of New York! The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has declared each third Thursday in November to be World Philosophy Day, why?

As Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, put it: “Faced with the complexity of today’s world, philosophical reflection is above all a call to humility, to take a step back and engage in reasoned dialogue, to build together the solutions to challenges that are beyond our control. This is the best way to educate enlightened citizens, equipped to fight stupidity and prejudice. The greater the difficulties encountered the greater the need for philosophy to make sense of questions of peace and sustainable development.”

In establishing World Philosophy Day, UNESCO highlighted the importance of this discipline, especially for young people, underlining that “philosophy is a discipline that encourages critical and independent thought and is capable of working towards a better understanding of the world and promoting tolerance and peace.”

On this day of collective exercise in free, reasoned and informed thinking on the major challenges of our time, all of UNESCO’s partners are encouraged to organize various types of activities – philosophical dialogues, debates, conferences, workshops, cultural events and presentations around the general theme of the Day, with the participation of philosophers and scientists from all branches of natural and social sciences, educators, teachers, students, press journalists and other mass media representatives, and the general public.

The point, as Former Chief of the Human Security, Democracy, and Philosophical Section of UNESCO, Moufida Goucha put it, is “to reaffirm the true value of philosophy, that is to say the establishment of dialogue that must never cease when it comes to essential matters, and of thought which gives us back a large part of human dignity whatever our condition.”

At CCNY, World Philosophy Day is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and chaired by Massimo Pigliucci, the Department’s K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy. The organizing committee is comprised of Profs. Elise Crull, Chad Kidd, Jennifer Morton, and Katherine Ritchie. If you’d like more information about World Philosophy Day at CCNY, please contact Prof. Pigliucci.

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