Philosophy and Community

Philosophy and Community shares updates and interviews about people and initiatives that promote the engagement of philosophy with the community. It gives a fresh insight into the role that philosophers play in society, in different parts of the world.

Philosophy with Children: More Than an Educational Project – Interview with Sara Gomel (June 2022)

Does children’s ability to wonder – for this is how Aristotle describes the beginning of philosophy – make them more apt to philosophize? Do they also ask philosophical questions? This curiosity concerning the limits of children’s capacities to think and engage with profound questions drives many philosophers nowadays to practice philosophical dialogue with children and adolescents. But this is not their only motivation. Doing philosophy with children is also an educational and social project, as we learn from Sara Gomel, a young philosopher who is currently part of an associative initiative that promotes regular sessions of philosophy with children in Italian schools. More than mere instruction about philosophical topics, doing philosophy with children aims to foster discussions about what matters most to them. It stimulates rational discourse and reflection by helping them formulate their thoughts and listen to their classmates’ concerns and convictions – which are not always in perfect consonance with their own. In addition, doing philosophy also empowers children in underprivileged contexts by encouraging them to speak their minds and giving them the feeling that their voice is heard. More importantly, it provides them with the tools to think differently and envision how they can make a change.
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Intercultural Philosophy in Mozambique: Interview with Prof. Severino Elias Ngoenha (May 2022)

May 2022. To what extent can philosophy contribute to the development of a democratic discourse and of an intercultural and interreligious society? In a time when nationalism and religious radicalism are gaining new terrain and imposing new limits to rational dialogue and tolerance among different communities, in Europe and beyond, it becomes urgent to inquire about the role that philosophers can play in dealing with this social and political dynamic.

Today, we propose to explore the example of the Mozambican philosopher Severino Elias Ngoenha, who found a concrete way to respond to the problem of religious and cultural divergence in Mozambique. Alongside his academic work and teaching, for the past few years, Ngoenha has been leading the organisation of seminars and workshops of Intercultural and Interreligious Philosophy for the general public in different regions of Mozambique. Ngoenha titles these encounters “Seminars of Intercultural Philosophy: The Challenges of Radicalization” (Seminários de Filosofia Intercultural: Os Desafios da Radicalização). The country has increasingly been hit by religious radicalism, especially since the recent occupation of the north by the Islamic State. However, as Ngoenha explains, there are also intrinsic cultural and religious divisions in what he describes as an extraordinarily diverse population. With these philosophical workshops, Ngoenha aims to bring these different communities together in a dialogue of tolerance and respect for one another and, thus, to enable the emergence of a truly intercultural and democratic discourse in Mozambique.
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