Critical Thinking Knowledge Responsibility

October 16, 2014 - October 19, 2014
ACPC - Austrian Center of Philosophy with Children and Youth, University of Graz

1st floor
Meerscheinschlössl / Mozartgasse 3
Graz 8010


Daniela Camhy

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Due to increasing globalization, scientific and technological advances, and the increased access to digital information our society is undergoing fundamental changes. Not only is our understanding of basic principles underlying our social, cultural and economic co-existence changing, but also the way we access and handle this knowledge. As a consequence of this profound structural change, pressing socio-political and educational questions are being raised, – in particular questions regarding the development of young people. What impact does this change have on personality development in young children and youth? What affect does it have on their perceptual and critical faculties? Can we assume that these changes will be positive, bringing increased participation and equal opportunities for all young people in our society?

Based on current debates in cultural, social and educational policy, The International Conference for Philosophy for Children, 2014, will focus on the existing and potential relationships between knowledge and responsibility and on our understanding of the role critical thinking plays within this relationship. Critical thinking, as a key aspect of mediating and substantiating information, should not just serve as a means to an end in our discourse, but should also be substantially integrated into the philosophical and educational potential within specific areas of education. What does critical thinking actually mean? Where does knowledge come from? Is knowledge linked to responsibility?

For the purposes of this conference, we suggest that critical thinking minimally presupposes an activity grounded in mutually determined and rapidly expanding sets of criteria that in turn serve to establish specific standards in terms of our ability to make judgments and engage in self-reflection. The conference aims to examine and expand upon this understanding of critical thinking in order to better respond to the social, cultural and economic demands facing young people today within the context of their educational and working environment. Through this inquiry we seek to find fresh insight into the process of meaning- making in order to provide young people with additional resources through which they are empowered to improve the epistemic grounding of their worldview.

We live during a period of human history in which the demands of knowledge and responsibility are tightly interwoven. Inaccessible, or poorly accessed, knowledge can quickly lead to disorientation, lack of interest and eventually to a problem of responsibility in society. This means that there is an increasing need for people to assume both individual and collective responsibility in relation to knowledge production. This applies particularly to the intricate web of connection between increases in human knowledge on the one hand, and the human lack of knowledge on the other, especially as it relates to areas of educational and strategic thinking. This creates an urgent need to address the relationship between responsibility and knowledge in philosophical and educational terms.

On way in which this need can be tackled is through generating interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary cooperation between philosophical, scientific and political points of view. This conference aims to contribute to such an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary undertaking by devising conceptual foundations for the concrete analysis and strategies which will establish new relations between critical thinking, knowledge and responsibility, will thereby calling us “to make use of our ability to choose the best political and social form of organisation, to recognise our values and, in a nutshell, to become what we all are already – free human beings – in a comprehensive manner.” (Federico Mayer, former Director General of the UNESCO)

Due to the serious interest of over 200 academics and educators representing about 20 countries, it is evident that our activities have come to the notice of a wide range of people engaged in these issues across national borders. Indeed, through past and current international projects, our collaboration with many national and international universities, and other educational institutions both inside and outside Europe, has intensified. Many of those showing interest are well-known international experts in various disciplines and fields. As a result, we expect an eventful congress this year, as in years past.

The conference covers the following subjects:

o Critical Thinking
o Teaching Thinking and Reasoning
o Tensions between Knowledge and Responsibility
o Individual and Collective Responsibility
o New Dimensions of Knowledge
o Relevance of Philosophical Inquiry
o Inter- and Transdisciplinarity
o Lifelong Learning: Philosophical Perspectives and Education
o Philosophy for Children and Education in the Digital Age

Information hotline: ACPC Austrian Centre of Philosophy with Children,

Phone: +43 (0) 316 903 70 201 Mobile: +43 650 830 3019

Venue: Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz,
Meerscheinschlössl, Mozartgasse 3, A-8010 Graz

Conference fee: € 60.- (students and members € 30.-)

Organizer: ACPC, Austrian Centre of Philosophy for Children Schmiedgasse 12, 8010 Graz/Austria


Phone: +43 (0) 316 / 903 70 201

Conference languages: English and German

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October 15, 2014, 10:00pm CET

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