To teach philosophy is to educate to philosophize: The aim of the παιδεία aimed at σοφία


  • Marco Viscomi Università di Perugia



Philosophy cannot be taught as any other discipline, as the essence of that φιλία that looks at σοφία does not pertain to the mere cultural background of a so-called “civilized” society. Rather, this tension is inherent in the same way of being human in every man and woman that actually exists. This is why philosophy does not represent a possibility of learning, nor a need for knowledge, but the very need that is expressed in the human being as his own horizon. It is the same and intrinsic tension towards knowledge, as love for wisdom, that is embodied in the teaching of philosophy. The latter does not say the mere thematic direction of a science that can be fragmented in its historiography, but expresses something essential for the complexity of the human being. The need for philosophy overcomes the mere possibility of teaching it, exposing the inevitability of philosophizing. In fact, understood for the human part, philosophy is the constant of that fundamental experience of man, who can only know philosophy as he has always been in philosophizing.

It is therefore not possible to teach “the” philosophy, since the need to philosophize has always spurred, both internally and externally, the essence of the human. Since it is so improper to speak of philosophy alone as a mere scholastic discipline, the need to educate to philosophize is expressed with even more urgency. In short, teaching philosophy means educating to philosophize. A similar teaching, precisely as it pertains to the essential way of being for the human, concerns the relationship of being a man with the question of one's own existence. Thus, education in philosophizing passes inexorably through the questioning of the essential way of giving oneself of the human. Human essentiality is projected onto the horizon of meaning, near which the question on the παιδεία to philosophizing is located. As an essential figure for the human, the φιλοσοφεῖν is accomplished primarily by asking about what the existing man is like, that is, the meaning of life of every man and woman on earth, according to the essential constant of our common existence.