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.
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:
Introduction: Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General
- Roundtable “Being together in the face of the pandemic” with Jean-Luc Nancy (France), Serena Parekh (USA), Luca Maria Scarantino (Italy), Joelle Zask (France).
- Roundtable “The languages of the pandemic" with María Lucía Rivera Sanín (Colombia), Divya Dwivedi (India), Ali Benmakhlouf (Morocco).
- Special World Philosophy Day Master Class with young people on the use of critical thinking in the fight against racism.
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:
- The 19th International Encounters on New Philosophical Practices in cooperation with the UNESCO Chair on the practice of philosophy with children (University of Nantes) will be held online on 19 and 20 November. The theme will be "The time to think; the time of thought".
- A cycle of webinars "Philosophies in times of crisis: contingency, world and humanity" organized by the UNESCO Network of Women Philosophers of Latin America on 18 and 19 November.
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Media Contact: Clare O'Hagan, +33(0)220.127.116.11.29