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The opening speech

Marina Garcés or Philosophy as a way of life


We were used to seeing Philosophy as a discipline belonging to strange, enigmatic and often elitist beings, as a category of knowledge that belongs strictly to the academic world. At least, that was until some of the people working in this discipline taught us otherwise, that thinking is something we all do... if we want to and we set our mind to it. What if Philosophy wasn’t thinking "like" someone but thinking "with" someone? And what if it was more of an invitation than indoctrination?

Far from being a discipline of classrooms and offices, of thick and convoluted tomes, Philosophy is a sort of second skin that we don’t put on and take off but that’s with us night and day, whether we’re in a lesson or we’re getting supper ready. This is how Marina Garcés explains it, one of the thinkers of the new generation of Catalan philosophers born in the 1960s and 1970s and proclaimer at this year's Mercè.
Marina Garcés was studying Philosophy the year of the Olympian euphoria, when the Communist regimes had fallen, the end of History was announced and the future seemed to be the story of a fabulous and unstoppable progress. But not one to kid herself, she intuited that the world to come would be more complex than we were being told and that it would be a good idea to take on the intellectual tools to explain it or perhaps change it. In university classrooms, she found all manner of brave people, she realised that thinking wasn’t just for a few and she discovered collective action, a hugely important concept in its world view.
Marina Garcés was born in Barcelona, daughter of an architect and a historian, and granddaughter of grandparents from the north face of the Cap de Creus and of a poet descended from the Castilian immigration that came to the city to build the new city that emerged with the 1888 Universal Exposition. Although she works at the University of Zaragoza, where she is a professor of Philosophy, she continues to live in Barcelona, where she has also been one of the creators of the Espai en Blanc, devoted to critical and collective thinking. Making thinking something exciting is one of the aims of Espai en Blanc, which fights to combat isolation and proposes a collective way of thinking, based on cooperation, on the creation of networks and on the sharing of knowledge and collaborations.

She sets out all of these ideas and more in a series of books, including En las prisiones de lo posible (2002), Un mundo común (2012), Filosofía inacabada (2015) and Fora de classe. Textos de filosofia de guerrilla (2016). In these works, she commits to thinking that sees existence as a common problem and Philosophy as a tool of everyone and for everyone, a tool that we can and must use even in our everyday lives. Consequently, she develops her thinking, both inside and outside the classroom, even in in the pages of a newspaper, a space she occupies with decision and responsibility. They are part of a time in which Philosophy has perhaps lost importance in academic curricula but, in the meantime, are gaining ground in our everyday lives. Such is the case that this year it comes to the Saló de Cent in the form of a proclamation that promises to be an invitation to think together about the future we want.  


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