Philosophy Manifesto



  • pervades all areas of the curriculum and is one of only two non-isolatable subjects (Education the other); for this reason, philosophy’s epistemic reasoning integrates and transcends other disciplines – enhances cognitive efficiency
  • promotes collective debate with no predetermined outcomes; the content and outcomes of philosophical discussion are structured interdependently, not competitively and not imposed on the learners – cultivates reasonableness in interactions with different cultures and beliefs
  • establishes a space within a school context where ‘broadening the horizons of reason’ to the limits of thought and understanding can be a regular part of the curriculum; extreme indoor education – enables rational autonomy
  • relies on a communal ethic that requires a co-operative approach to resolve complex or controversial human problems in practical situations – establishes the habit of democracy
  • allows a non-sectarian inquiry and exploration of ethics without social control or indoctrination. Students examine a number of perspectives and develop skills to navigate moral life – develops values
  • teaches the ability to question and to form rational & plausible arguments, particularly in the case of young people whose existential relationships to the self and to others are in constant flux. Philosophy is in a unique position to nurture and strengthen the (innate) desire to find meaning in the world.

New Zealand is in a position to advance UNESCO’s strategic priority of philosophical practice as a matter of urgency, and engage young people in the values and practices above.

Richard Tweedie

Hagley Community College

UNESCO, Philosophy a School of Freedom, Paris, UNESCO Publishing 2007.

UNESCO, Teaching Philosophy in Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, UNESCO Publishing 2009

Blakemore,S-J., Choudhury, S. Development of the adolescent brain: implications for executive function and social cognition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47:3 (2006), pp 296-312.