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World Philosophy Day

World Philosophy Day annually observed on the third Thursday of November to honor philosophical reflections around the world. It is a day for people to share thoughts, openly explore and discuss new ideas and inspire public debate or discussion on society’s challenges.

Philosophers such as Socrates have contributed to modern thinking in society.
Philosophers such as Socrates have contributed to modern thinking in society.
©iStockphoto.com/Brigida_Soriano

What Do People Do?

World Philosophy Day is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) initiative that draws people around the world to engage in shared reflection on contemporary issues. Various events and activities include:

  • Philosophical dialogues, debates, lectures, and meetings involving renowned philosophers.
  • International conferences on philosophical topics such as the connection between philosophy, education and culture.
  • Exhibitions and philosophy book fairs.
  • Philosophy cafes.

Different organizations, community groups and government agencies in many countries, including (but not exclusive to) Chile, France, Morocco, the Philippines, and Turkey, have participated in actively promoting World Philosophy Day.

Public Life

World Philosophy day is a global observance and is not a public holiday.

Background

Philosophy has opened the door for new concepts and innovative ideas, laying the foundations of critical thinking, independence and creativity across cultures for many centuries. UNESCO introduced World Philosophy Day in 2002 to honor philosophical reflections throughout the world by opening spaces and encouraging people to share their philosophical heritage, opening their minds to new ideas, and inspire public debate on society’s challenges.

UNESCO’s Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura gave a public message about World Philosophy Day in 2004 to highlight the day’s meaning and importance. He said that philosophy gave the conceptual grounding to the principles and values that shaped the possibility of world peace – democracy, human rights, justice and equality. Reflection on contemporary society’s unsolved problems and unanswered questions was always at the heart of philosophical analysis and thinking.

World Philosophy Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010ThuNov 18World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2011ThuNov 17World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2012ThuNov 15World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2013ThuNov 21World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2014ThuNov 20World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2015ThuNov 19World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2016ThuNov 17World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2017ThuNov 16World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2018ThuNov 15World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2019ThuNov 21World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance
2020ThuNov 19World Philosophy DayUnited Nations observance

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