The Role Of Philosophy In Schools: Opportunities And Challenges

November 19, 2011
Irish Philosophical Society

Mary Immaculate College

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Much of the discussion on the development of Irish society has returned again and again to the importance of education as a key element in this process.  The collapse of the “Celtic Tiger” has given rise to severe doubts as to the quality of our educational system. Many of these doubts are pragmatic, but there are also those voices which raise doubts as to certain ethical aspects of our thinking on education. It has often been difficult to find a role for reflective process in the current model. Reflective process is central to the philosophical tradition, and it has often been argued that introducing philosophy to the school curriculum would greatly facilitate the development of reflectiveness in students. The Royal Irish Academy Committee in Philosophy and Ethics recently circulated a prospective curriculum in philosophy for schools. Given the current ferment in the educational sector, it seems an opportune time to discuss the possible contribution philosophy could make to the development of the educational system, whether as a school subject, or in other ways.

It is hoped that this conference will raise the question of the relationship of philosophy to schools, teachers, and the educational system.

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