Thursday, February 2, 2012

Why is philosophy in Brazil a mandatory subject for children? It builds citizenship!

Nine million teenagers now take philosophy classes for three years. Read this interesting article about Almira Ribeiro, a philosophy teacher in the state of Bahia, Brazil
"But seeing things as they really are isn’t enough," Ribeiro insists. As in Plato’s parable in The Republic, the students must go back to the cave and apply what they’ve learned. Their lives give them rich opportunities for such application. The contrast between the new luxury hotels along the beach and ItapuĆ£’s overcrowded streets gives rise to questions about equality and justice. Children kicking around a can introduce a discussion about democracy: football is one of the few truly democratic practices here; success depends on merit, not class privilege. Moving between philosophy and practice, the students can revise their views in light of what Plato, Hobbes, or Locke had to say about equality, justice, and democracy and discuss their own roles as political agents.