Press release

The importance of philosophy in times of crisis, theme of World Philosophy Day 2020


The 2020 edition of World Philosophy Day, to be celebrated this year on 19 and 20 November, will focus on the importance of philosophical thinking in helping us cope with the multiple challenges the world faces. In particular, it will invite reflection on the meaning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If the health crisis calls into question several of the foundations of our societies, then philosophy helps us to move forward, by stimulating critical reflection on problems that are already present but which the pandemic is pushing to the limit. At a time when the radicality and speed of the world's major upheavals may disorient us, philosophy allows us to both step back and see further ahead.

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

On this occasion, renowned philosopher Edgar Morin will bequeath his philosophical legacy to UNESCO. He will also give an interview to be broadcast on the evening of 20 November.

These two days of reflection are organised by UNESCO's Social and Human Sciences Programme and its Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST). Due to the pandemic, this year's celebration will be a virtual one which will be accessible to all via the UNESCO website (links below).

Other themes on the programme for World Philosophy Day 2020  are as follows:

19 November

Introduction: Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

20 November

Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, will speak at the launch of the book "COVID-19: towards a new world?", edited by Christian Byk, in collaboration with Bénédicte Boyer-Bévière and Damien Aftassi. This event is hosted by the French National Commission for UNESCO.

  • Roundtable "Health as a philosophical issue" with Bjørn Morten Hofmann (Norway), Luis de Miranda (France), Paulina Rivero Weber (Mexico)
  • Roundtable "Fear, confidence, risk" with Tanella Boni (Côte d’Ivoire), Luc Foisneau (France), Hartmut Rosa (Germany), Julian Baggini (United Kingdom).
  • Starting at 8:30 pm, UNESCO will give the floor to philosophers and philosophy students from all over the world, who will comment on the pandemic through short videos.

Other planned events:


Join the conversation: #PhilosophyDay

Media Contact: Clare O'Hagan, +33(0)