The official rationale for the 2008 [Brazilian] law is that philosophy “is necessary for the exercise of citizenship.” The law—the world’s largest-scale attempt to bring philosophy into the public sphere—thus represents an experiment in democracy. Among teachers at least, many share Ribeiro’s hope that philosophy will provide a path to greater civic participation and equality.
Here’s a crazy proposal: How about not teaching plate tectonics and evolution in schools, but instead SOLID logic and reasoning, the difference between data and theory as well as the scientific and Socratic methods. It is the lack of decent interrogation skills as well as field experience that leads otherwise reasonable humans to deny evolution, tectonics and climate change, and to make social policy from this state of ignorance. Yes, students need introduction to these concepts and “specifics to go in exercises/modules/problem-sets.” What I propose is a geology class that begins with a primer in logical fallacies rather than the Mohs hardness scale.
Human progress will come from “Why?” not “What?” We seem to have worked ourselves and our kids into a corner of the outdated latter.