Philosophy and Reform: A Word about Current Philosophy - Religion Dialogue within the Romanian Educational System

Article excerpt

Abstract: The analysis aims at showing that the position of philosophy in society depends upon two factors: the real spirit of reform born from philosophy and the appetence of society for reform. The first part of the present study provides a short historical illustration of the genuine character of philosophy as a bearer of reform, while the second part of the work mentions different attitudes toward reform, as well as the problems generated by the intersection of these attitudes with the reforms promoted by philosophy. In addition, the paper intends to contribute to the understanding of the present-day status of philosophy within the Romanian educational system. In this respect, the dialogue of philosophy and religion is considered relevant to the topic. Besides this aspect, the work also mentions the dogmatic imprint of philosophy during the Stalinist epoch and the dogmatic inertia after 1990 - manifested in different and apparently opposed forms. Moreover, the study suggests that the improvement of the prestige of philosophy depends not only upon the self-criticism that Romanian philosophy has to develop but also upon the influence that this spirit of self-criticism could have on decision-makers. Philosophical self-criticism is a precondition and, at the same time, a part of the reform that philosophy initiates in the field of knowledge. Thus, the paper is to underline the importance of philosophy in giving direction and in providing the framework for social reform. From this point of view, the dialogue between philosophy and religion is difficult but possible at university level and in the field of research.

Key Words: crisis of philosophy, Romania, the institutional crisis of philosophy, reform, university, bureaucracy, philosophy, religion, dialogue, self-criticism

Etymological captatio

The following text intends to suggest that the entire evolution of philosophy as well as its social recognition and presence in educational institutions depend on the spirit of reform it endorses. But what is reform? A possible speculation views the link between the Greek exclamation (ñå) - expressing surprise, astonishment or calling attention - and the Latin prefix re - signifying the permanent renewing of an action initially revealed as limited, unfinished and requiring improvement. Thus, the response to an action is a re-action, i.e. a) the continuity of the action, b) a new action somehow in contradiction or even in opposition to the first one, c) the return to the previous status of the action. If the consciousness of the now inadequate character of the entire set of actions is acute, the reactions constitute a re-form. First of all, reform means being conscious that things are already obsolete and have to be reformed. Secondly, reform shows the intention to change - thus change as such, irrespective of the directions of this action: backward (and from this standpoint, there is considerable overlap between reform and the etymological sense of revolutio) or forward. Thirdly, reform points out the effort to improve the old status, to recover from certain languidness through some concrete measures, to correct the negative aspects within the considered framework, by preserving its genuine form and thus by restoring it.

Therefore, to reform means to consolidate the form of a structure. It is the result of the consciousness of the crisis of the given structure.

The historical context of the crisis of philosophy: Stalinism, post-Stalinism, bureaucracy and its inertia in present-day academic life

What does the institutional crisis of philosophy in Romania mean1? If speaking about it, one is certainly interested not so much in the crisis of philosophy as such but in the diminished prestige that philosophers and philosophy have in the decision-makers' view, who do not consider they should be given an important place in the public sphere. This means the lack of considerable philosophical education in high schools2 and universities, in opposition to the desire of the Romanian philosopher Ion Petrovici who, in 1926, imagined a common and large course in philosophy for all high school classes3. …