Ivory Coast

Collège Anador in Abobo

Unleashing the Abobolais Philosophers

In January 2024, we started our English philosophy club “The Thinking Playground” at Collège Anador in Abobo. 

During our first meeting, we talked about what philosophers do and what the word PHILO-SOPHY actually means. If it means “love of wisdom,” then how do we reach this? The Abobolais philosophers realized that when they philosophize, they are thinking about concepts or BIG ideas like Love, Friendship, Time, Ambition, Dreams, or Justice. But they discovered something strange. On the one hand, these concepts are vague. For example, if you hug your mother, it expresses love. Does that mean that it is Love? No, we said, it is just an expression of the concept. On the other hand, these concepts are real because I am hugging my mother! So, concepts are abstract but real. We will have to look more into this.

Our ideas from this session are here on the BB

We continued right where we left it last time: CONCEPTS! We said last time that concepts are abstract but real. For example, we talked about the concept of love and how you can not touch it, but it can be ex-pressed. So hugging your Mum can be an expression of love, but it does not mean that you are ‘touching’ the concept of love.

Q. But how do we ‘know’ a concept is being expressed?

Q. Who decides that it is being expressed?

For example, think about the concept of fairness. We thought that this was more political than the concept of friendship. Now, it has become an ethical issue. In other words, it becomes a question that influences people’s lives. This is why philosophy matters: philosophers think about concepts that impact our daily lives. 

Even though concepts are abstract, we can see, feel, smell, touch and maybe even taste them. To explore how we sense concepts in our daily lives, every group chose their own concept circles and wrote down their examples and questions.

We finished with beautifully drawn art in the Concept Circles, turning them into philosophical paintings!

The Black Board or BB with notes
Working on concept circles in a group.
Asking questions to find out what 'word' you are.

During the previous meetings, we talked about concepts. We found out that they are abstract and real at the same time. To really look into these concepts, we need good questions. But are we any good at asking questions? We began our third meeting with a question game. One student came to the front and had to guess what word we had written on the blackboard (BB). This turned out to be more difficult than we thought! You have to ask different types of questions to find out: Am I an object? Am I being used on a daily basis? Am I organic? Am I a piece of technology?

We then talked about the difference between open and closed questions.

We followed up by looking into the concept of identity. What questions can we ask ourselves to find out more about ourselves?! 

Blackboard with notes from our third meeting