21.10 2019

Can philosophy help to manage conflicts?

Philosophy and peace
Photo Can philosophy help to manage conflicts?

Philosophy is a multidisciplinary science which can analyze different kinds of topics. But what is its role in finding solutions to human problems? The answer to the question relies on the essence of the problem and the significant range of the science. By taking one of its bases into account, which considers « philosophy as a quest for wisdom », philosophy is absolutely able to resolve problems.

Moreover, conflicts are certainly the main problems that affect peace, which, in turn, is a delicate subject in the study of philosophy. Yet, in practice, can philosophy help in conflict management?

Certain approaches in philosophy can be used to manage conflicts

In philosophy, there is no absolute truth or self-evident truth. Its basic principle highlights that you can simply come nearer to the truth. Since it is more appropriate not to refer to what is true, it sparks a conflict. As a mediator for the antagonists of conflict, you should not take any side, whichever it is. You have to be impartial. To prevent the tension from getting worse, you should know how to focus more on the origin of the problem, and pay more attention on how to resolve it.

Through philosophy, it will be much easier to do so, since it allows you to suggest an idea, support or refute it, so that you can eventually reach a consensus. Such a dialectic process is the most adequate one to manage conflicts.

Some philosophical theories enhance peace

In philosophy, it is crucial that the way of thinking be very clear, and it should aim at maintaining the spirit for the quest for wisdom. The will to give more value to peaceful life creates an important part in such a way of thinking. According to « Perpetual peace » by Emmanuel Kant, we will be able to eventually live in a life without neither conflict nor war. Everything, however, depends on us. It is vital to adopt the way of thinking which favors true peace.

According to it, peace cannot be identified as the absence of conflict; in contrast, peace is defined as lack of any potential for conflict. Thus, the conflict management process consists in using reasoning through thought with the aim to make the antagonists understand the negative impacts of conflict in the society, and eventually, it will be essential to look for other ways to resolve the problems.

Use of reasoning

Reasoning is a method used in philosophy to understand it. It is worth pointing out that reasoning consists of questioning more about the subject, which is to be studied. Thus, during a conflict, reasoning is used in order to inquire about the chronology of the conflict, which means its causes, its aftermaths, what could be still happening, as well as who were involved in the conflict. Therefore, tension can be relieved through logical reasoning.

To manage a conflict through reasoning, it is crucial for the mediator to keep asking many questions to the antagonists so that the latter could eventually come to an agreement. The Socratic Maieutics is another way to manage conflicts. It aims at finding truth from the questioned people. That way, the maieutics can resolve a conflict.