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Proposal for the Inclusion of Philosophy in Public Diplomacy


About Author

Master of Arts in Philosophy

Ateneo de Davao University 2013

Professional member


Philosophy is a critical and reflective discipline that delves on fundamental and deep questions, such as what is being? what is the nature of reality and existence? how should we live? what is the life worth living? why should I be good? Philosophy, however, does not only talk about the individual in isolation. It critically engages on various social and political structures and norms that can either provide the enabling conditions, or its opposite impede the individual’s goal of self-realization, for instance, or how these social structures and norms can facilitate the realization of collective goals, such as the possibility of cross-cultural dialogue that makes mutual understanding possible, despite the diversity of cultural beliefs, practices, customs, and traditions.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) affirmed the value of philosophy itself, and what it can contribute to social and cross-cultural discourse. The UNESCO asserts,

“Through its intellectual work, in dialogue with other humanities disciplines and social sciences, philosophy contributes to institutional responses to the issues of social transformation, reflecting the pluralism of experience and cultures across the world. The humanities and philosophy deal not only with the traditional legacy derived from past cultures and times but also with the challenges the world is currently facing: the plurality of identities, languages, migration, environmental change, critical thinking on theory, action, and policies… These legacies and dynamics nurture inventive approaches to social change.” Philosophy (

Philosophy engages in contemporary socio-political political issues, such as migration, climate change, citizenship, justice, freedom, human well-being and dignity, and development, among others. It challenges asymmetric power relations and structures that trample on the inherent dignity of every human being and the distinct identity of every culture. Philosophy promotes human flourishing and brings to light issues that prevent the realization of our common humanity. Since the issues mentioned are also issues that other discipline raised, philosophy is able to cross disciplines, and is able to critically dialogue with other fields in analyzing and addressing these various individual, social, global, and cross-cultural concerns.

Philosophy must be included in the public diplomacy’s ecosystem. Philosophy can make relevant contributions to our contemporary individual and collective predicaments. As a critical discipline, it is able to engage different disciplines and scholars across those fields in various pressing issues confronting the world at large. Issues raised in the different ecosystems of public diplomacy, such as in science, cultural, economic, humanitarian, environmental, sports and water field, are also issues heavily discussed and debated in philosophy.

Philosophy provides critical perspectives in dealing with issues in these ecosystems that go even beyond data and statistics. For instance, Philosophy does not only talk about policies, but puts human dignity and concern at the core of every policy and development discourse. It calls for humanizing social, political, development, and cross-cultural discourses. It is able to examine and scrutinize, not only issues, but even policies and programs, that though institutionalized, do not contribute to the well-being of its recipients. Discourse in public diplomacy will be expanded and deepened with the inclusion of philosophy, as a critical, reflective, and normative discipline.

Proposal for the Inclusion of Philosophy
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Professional member- JOHAREL SUNICO ESCOBIA


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