Be Free Thinkers in Taiwan, in the Globe, and in the “INFODEMIC”

One of the biggest challenges in the post-pandemic era is to fight against the “infodemic” either it is accompanying the COVID-19 or not. As defined, an “infodemic” is too much (dis)information including fake news and vague mixture of falsehood and truth in digital and physical environments. It is an issue for all people in the globe. Taiwan is excellent in its COVID-19 containment strategies. The Department of Philosophy in Chinese Culture University (hereinafter referred to as CCU) in Taiwan declares that philosophical education can and must help in the “infodemic” management.

The Department of Philosophy in CCU is nourished in the lively democratic society of Taiwan with a rich heritage of traditional Chinese culture. The campus of CCU is located in Yang-Ming-Shan mountain area in the north of Taipei city, lies in direct neighborhood of the National Park area (http://english.ymsnp.gov.tw), and near to the famous National Palace Museum (https://www.npm.gov.tw/). The university has its own museum (https://hkm.pccu.edu.tw/), too. With the excellent natural and cultural surroundings, the department is unique in combing the edge-cutting new thoughts on the one hand, and the long-standing traditional ideas on the other hand. Not widely known, this department is the first institute which endowed PhD degree in Philosophy in Taiwan. It have invited scholars of various backgrounds to give lectures, including some who were blacklisted during the period of the martial law (1949-1987), say, Hu Lancheng, who was labelled as a traitor and lived in Japan for the rest of his life. In recent years, Philosophy department of CCU have built more connections with philosophers from the globe. In 2015, the department had a joint conference on Memory cooperated with Nagoya University, Japan. In 2018, the department hosts the 2nd Asia regional meeting of the International Plato Society which is the most international organization in the field of Platonic studies. (https://platosociety.org/ips-regional-meeting-report-forming-the-soul-plato-and-his-opponents-20-22-april-2018-taipei-taiwan/)

The success of that conference has been well recognized. Now, Prof. Hua-kuei Ho of the department is the representative for Asia, Australia, and Africa in the International Plato Society. At the same time, the department devotes itself into philosophical education among locals. Prof. Feng-wei Wu, another staff of the department, created the Philosophical Education Development Organization, abbrev. Phedo (http://www.phedotw.org/), with his friends, to promote people’s capacity of critical thinking. He was the 2nd and 3rd president (2016-2017 and 2018-2019) and remains a core figure in the organization now.

Philosophy does not only pursue freedom of thought, but also cultivate ability to think free, think independently. The Philosophy department of CCU calls for philosophical education development which will hopefully be an important tool to make people immune to the confusing thoughts in the “infodemic”. In this era, it is what philosophers can do, and also what philosophers must do.

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