Teaching Philosophy: The Answer to Automation?

11 January 2017

In our annual year-in-review show, John and Ken were joined by political theorist Margaret Levi to discuss what the future looks like for workers when technology and automation are putting so many out of work. The particular technology discussed on The Examined Year 2016 was driverless vehicles, as there were some major advances (and some setbacks) in that area last year. But that is just part of a bigger trend in automation that is threatening jobs in many sectors.

In The Guardian this week, teaching philosophy to children was suggested as the way to prepare future workers for this new reality. The suggestion originally comes from Michael D. Higgins, the president of Ireland (my homeland!).

As The Guardian reports, Higgins said that “The teaching of philosophy, is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to empower children into acting as free and responsible subjects in an ever more complex, interconnected, and uncertain world.” Teaching philosophy in the classrom, he said, offers a “path to a humanistic and vibrant democratic culture”.

The opinion piece, "Philosophy can teach children what Google can’t" ends with the proviso that philosophy is not going to bring back jobs lost to automation.

"But it can build immunity against careless judgments, and unentitled certitude. Philosophy in our classrooms would better equip us all to perceive and to challenge the conventional wisdoms of our age."

What do you think? Do we need philosophy now more than ever?

Read the full article here: