Brazil's military dictatorship seemed to have understood philosophy’s potential to create engaged citizens, so it eliminated philosophy from high schools. But, now that the dictatorship is gone, a new law mandates philosophy instruction in all Brazilian high schools. Can it teach students to question and challenge the foundations of society itself?
If philosophy were a mandatory subject in North America we might see some surprising results. One of the most inspiring things about philosophical issues is how it brings democracy, conduct and morality into question. If young people were provoked to examine not only historical precedents but their own lives through a philosophical lens perhaps it would lead to a heightened level of awareness among young people. There might be a reduction in crime, dropouts and drug use as students become more critical of their choices. Perhaps I am being a tad idealistic, but its a possibility worth exploring.