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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
13-11-2002 11:00 pm Paris - "You don't learn philosophy, you learn to philosophise," they say. UNESCO invites the public to set aside a whole day for doing just that on November 21 (International Philosophy Day), along with 60 or so philosophers from around the world.
The aim is to highlight the importance of this discipline, especially for young people, and show how it can help us think about everyday problems.

Philosophy allows people to question the world and develop a critical and independent spirit. It helps us understand each other, by providing conceptual tools and encouraging listening, thought and exchanges of views. The key is not so much agreeing as dialoguing, which makes it a way to fight intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other kinds of hatred.

Among the philosophers attending will be Richard Rorty (United States), Edgar Morin, Paul Ricoeur, Geneviève Fraisse, François Jullien, Guy Samama (all from France), Heinz Wismann (Germany), Marilena Chaui de Souza (Brazil), Paulin Hountondji (Benin), Tanella Boni (Côte d'Ivoire), Zouaoui Beghoura (Kuwait), Ilham Mammed-Zade (Azerbaijan), Ngoc Nguyen (Vietnam) and Shin Nagai (Japan).

They will take part in 10 round-table discussions organised by various institutions, including the Collège International de Philosophie, the Université de Tous les Savoirs, the Institut de la Pensée Contemporaine, the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (ICPHS) and UNESCO Chairs of philosophy. Topics will include democracy, governance, cultural diversity, globalisation, science and ethics, world peace and human rights.

The Day will feature several events, such as a "café philosophique" on "How can we be happy?" (held in the Delegates' Bar), an art performance entitled "On Thought," by French artist Alexis Fraikin, a play by Nietzsche put on by young Turkish actors, as well as reading workshops.

Governments, universities, community groups, national commissions for UNESCO and local UNESCO offices will also mark International Philosophy Day in many countries, including Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Senegal, the Seychelles, Slovakia, South Africa, Turkey, Uruguay, and Zambia.

The final event of the Day will be a jazz concert by Herbie Hancock, accompanied by the Thelonius Monk Jazz Ambassadors.


Entry to the Day is free, from 9.30 a.m. - 10 p.m. at La Maison de l'UNESCO, 125 avenue de Suffren, 75015 Paris.

Invitations for the Herbie Hancock concert can be obtained at the round-table sessions

Round-table discussions

10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Philosophy and culture: cultural diversity and cultural rights
Poverty, justice and world peace
Philosophy and the media

3 - 4.45 p.m.
Can philosophy create paths for the emancipation of humanity today?
Questions on human rights, democracy and citizenship
Culture faced with globalisation
Philosophy, cosmology and physics
Philosophy, science and ethics
Philosophy and transculturality
Philosophy and human rights
Philosophy and knowledge

Philosophical lectures
Room II
Paul Ricoeur (France): "The struggle for recognition and the economy of giving" (5-6 p.m.)
Jaakko Hintikka (Finland): "Epistemology without knowledge and belief" (6-7 p.m.)


Monique Perrot-Lanaud, Bureau of Public Information, Editorial Section
Tel: +33 (1) 4568-1714
E-mail: m.perrot@unesco.org

Web: for further information

Source Media Advisory No.2002-54


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