What you will read next will seem obvious, because we all constantly ask ourselves questions and look for ways to find answers. However, it is necessary to emphasize what we already know because, in the face of the current trend that may assume that, although interesting, philosophy is a minor subject within the curricula of different educational levels, these topics have always captured the attention of readers. .
Roberto Aramayo, from the CSIC Institute of Philosophy and an expert on Immanuel Kant, explained at the beginning of 2022 why the thinker’s philosophy was still current. It clearly is, as it was one of the most widely read philosophy papers of the year – and Kant has always had a reputation for being a tough nut for students to crack.
They liked his defense of experience as opposed to exclusively theoretical knowledge, his confidence in hope as a motor for change and, above all, his ethical thesis: “What can save us from a situation in time, could it be valid as a guideline for anyone in all times? If the answer is negative, that rule would not deserve to be a law with universal validity.
It has also conquered the will of Søren Kierkegaard to do philosophy to be understood by his “dear reader”. Ángel Viñas Vera, from Loyola Andalucía University, analyzed the temper with which philosophical thoughts should be communicated and explained that the recipient of Kierkegaard’s message had a lot to do with the attitude he adopted when transmitting his message.
Kant and Kierkegaard are some of the names that sound familiar after going through middle school and high school. Like almost all the philosophers discovered by adolescents until recently, they are men. Now, the new syllabi and many teachers are trying to change that. As Laura Triviño Cabrera, from the University of Malaga, explains, thanks to the @Filosoclips project, and thanks to the pop hits of Aitana and Ana Guerra, Jennifer Lopez or Beyoncé, students are getting to know the thought of philosophers like Olympe de Gouges, Flora Tristán or Christine de Pizán.
The (few) certainties of the human being are challenged every day when opening the newspaper. What happens to the world? Is all this that you are telling me true? Two of the most successful articles were also focused on the big questions that concern us.
On the one hand, Ignacio L. Moya, from the Canadian Western University, analyzed philosophical pessimism as opposed to psychological pessimism to try to remove the patina of tragedy that the name drags. It is not that the theses of Sartre, Sileno or Schopenhauer are a party, but “since we have had to be here”, perhaps the best thing to do is -according to their theories- to flee from the imperative of happiness to which society seems to force us , put one foot in front of the other and live. We may be happy without being forced to.
On the other hand, Agustín Joel Fernandes Cabal, from the University of Santiago de Compostela, returns to Sartre and takes up the philosophy of Nietzsche and Foucault to ask himself if there is truth. Making an analogy with the onion, he describes the truth as this vegetable, full of layers and difficult to access. The truth exists, but we cannot fully reach it. And yet, we continue looking for it as if it were a utopia. Why? Eduardo Galeano has the answer:
Utopia is on the horizon. I walk ten steps and she walks ten steps away. So, for what does the utophy works? For that, it is used to walk.
Philosophize to feel…
We are all sentient beings. But sometimes we fail to define or discern what we feel, an essential ability to live and move among people. Sonia París Albert, from the Universitat Jaume I, told us about the relationship that philosophy has with sentimental education, because from it “our critical thinking about our feelings can be stimulated in order to discern the reasons why we feel what we feel and how we feel with its consequences”.
Already in the 17th century, Benito Jerónimo Feijoo, a restless and curious thinker, intrigued to discover where love is born in the body, studied the potential of the heart as an organ that triggers passions. The stimuli reached the viscera through the nervous system, which behaved, according to Feijoo, like the musical strings of an instrument. Elena Serrano, from the University of Valencia, describes that “the physical nature of the nerves explained why the same object could cause different effects in different people” and adds that the thinker used this model to “reinforce the equality of the sexes, since that there was no physical indication that the nerve fibers of men and women differed consistently.
… to think…
Philosophy is everywhere, in politics, in journalism, in the market, in jail… It is also on stage. Theatrical texts are a good way of offering questions to the viewer, questions that are not always answered on stage but that raise the need to work on critical thinking.
At least that is one of the aspirations of the Spanish playwright Juan Mayorga, Princess of Asturias Award for Literature in this 2022, which premiered in spring the golem, a return to his philosophical vocation. The proposal forced the audience to wake up, free their ideas and revolt before a world dominated by a few. For Mayorga, as Noelia López-Souto, from the University of Salamanca, explains, theater is “a tool for stirring consciences.”
In a precious defense of the literary work of Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Antonio Fernández Vicente explains that the author’s objective when describing that “reclusion” that he imposed on himself when he retired for more than two years to a cabin in the middle of nature was none other than “to celebrate life against everything that transforms us into mere pieces of an infernal machine”. Thoreau and Mayorga, hand in hand against the system that alienates us.
… and walk
Finally, let’s put on our shoes and walk through the door. Following the advice –or the request– of Isabel Argüelles Rozada, from the University of Oviedo, let’s take advantage of these days to create a new philosophical purpose, a new routine that allows us to reflect slowly, sometimes even melancholic, but very stimulating: let’s go out to walk around the city.