Jordi Nomen

Teacher and author of "El niño filósofo" (The philosopher child) 

"Philosophy is a basic element of citizenship that should be in all schools"

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Philosophy is knowledge that makes us critical, creative and careful. If I had to explain what philosophy is to a child, I wouldn't. What I would do instead is ask them some questions. For example, I might ask: "What's your name?" Then, I would ask if they think their name is important to who they are, if it makes them unique. From there, I would ask them to think about what else makes them unique. If we had to retell the world what philosophy is, we would say that it is the knowledge to allow us to ask ourselves questions about things, to make sense of things and to act. Action must follow comprehension. Philosophy shouldn't just be theoretical thinking that remains in the ether floating around forever. It should be used as a basis on which to act in order to address the world's numerous and very important injustices.

Philosophy helps us to identify the prejudices and stereotypes that we have, which are preconceived ideas that we take with us, in our backpack, on our backs. This is very important, as it enables us to understand what our prejudices are. Secondly, I believe that philosophy also gives character. Because the type of philosophy I advocate doesn't involve a child thinking and reflecting on things in a vacuum. It involves communicating with others, such as family members, but mostly other children in class, as this introduces a child to the diversity and variety of ideas out there, and to the fact that anyone can teach you something new. People have different opinions, some of which are more substantiated than others. This is what helps to build character. Thirdly, I believe that a child or a young person who practices philosophy realizes that we need to change things that are unjust and do not work. Ultimately, this makes us better citizens.

There are many instruments in careful thinking, aren't there? curiosity, empathy, trust, dreams and the strength to overcome adversity. It's about being curious about other people and wanting to understand them, to be able to put yourself in their shoes and to focus on justice.

"We must move on from "me" to "us" to find the common good and create something together. That is the meaning of education"

People are an incomplete puzzle, and unfortunately in our society we are told that the pieces we are missing we will have to buy. I think this is wrong. I think that other people have the missing pieces. Equally, we might be surprised to learn that we have pieces that other people need. By caring about and loving someone, you complete them, because you can provide them with the pieces they need to complete their jigsaw and at the same time, they can give you some of the pieces you're missing.

Art can be used for philosophy, and it is possible that philosophy could make art. I think we should think about artistic works as ways to communicate. Each piece has a creator, a receiver, a code, a channel and a context. This is what communication is based on and therefore, art is communication. There's a dialogue between the creator of the work and the audience, whereby the creator wants to have an impact on the audience's emotions. Basically, all art aims to have an impact on the audience's emotions. However, it also affects how the audience thinks, which is where the association with philosophy arises. When you stand in front of a work of art, you stop to think.

At technological level, companies and businesses are increasingly interested in people having a humanistic profile. This is because all products throughout the world are designed for people. So, companies need someone who can make decisions and talk about what people need and what their requirements are. This is a totally philosophical way of thinking. I believe that opens up a field, and I am of the opinion that that field will flourish and philosophy will increasingly be more associated to issues that currently are unimaginable.

Professor of Philosophy and head of the Humanities Department at the Escuela Sadako in Barcelona, having gained a master's degree in philosophy and a degree in contemporary history. Mr. Nomen wrote the book ‘El niño filósofo. Cómo enseñar a los niños a pensar por sí mismos’ ('The philosopher child. How to teach children to think for themselves) and is passionate about making sure humanities continue to play an important role in education, as they help people develop certain values.