World Philosophy Day was introduced in 2002 by the UN. Since then, it has taken place on the third Thursday of November annually. The initiative allows for reflection on societal issues. According to UNESCO, by celebrating World Philosophy Day each year, we underline the enduring value of philosophy for the development of human thought, for each culture and for each individual.
Philosophy, in simple terms, is essentially questioning human thought. These ideas usually are very general. The end goal is to just ask questions, often with no simple answer. The first thing the Calasanctius transition year students were told in philosophy class was that there is no certainty in this world. So, asking for a certain answer to these big questions is usually impossible.
Calasanctius College has allowed transition year students to participate in a 40 minutes philosophy class once a week. The philosophy classes allow the students to express their thoughts through debates and philosophical dialogue and allow for new ideas to be shared. The students have explored big questions since starting these classes in September, such as, “Are you the same person you were as you were born?” “Does God exist?” and, “What is truth?”
On World Philosophy Day, the transition year students were eager to help spread awareness about the day. They set up a stall in a corridor asking students thought provoking questions and riddles in return for a packet of jellies. An announcement was made over the intercom to all the school years about the special event. Transition years surveyed two first year, second year, and third year students in each class.
These students were asked philosophical questions and to order their priorities from a provided list (eg, family, health, freedom, etc, ) and were then asked to explain why they made that decision. Banners and posters about World Philosophy Day were spread around the school. In philosophy class, transition years explored metaphysical dilemmas using Lego blocks. Finally, former transition year students participated in a debate on the freedom of speech. It was a very eventful day and the students will be counting down the days until next year’s World Philosophy Day.
Saoirse Burke, Paula Prusaityte, and Shauna Bocquet exploring metaphysical dilemmas with the Lego-Logos method at World Philosophy Day in Calasanctius College, Oranmore.
Aisling Murphy is a transition year student in Calasanctius College.