At Avenor, we are constantly concerned with making learning relevant, interesting, and useful for real life.

What’s Worth Learning?” is an important question for education, and we aim to find answers from the most erudit and remarkable individuals in our society. Thus emerged the initiative “What’s worth learning?”, which involves hosting conferences on topics of interest not only to our community but also to a broader audience, featuring speakers who are experts in their respective fields.

Scheduled for February 8th, the second conference in the “What is worth learning?” series will take place at the Avenor campus. We are delighted to welcome Doru Căstăian as our guest speaker. He is a teacher of philosophy at the “Dimitrie Cuclin” High School in Galați and an associate professor at the Faculty of History, Philosophy, and Theology, “Dunărea de Jos” University. He aims to teach us “How to Live a Good Life.”


The invitation extended to Professor Căstăian is motivated by the intention to learn from great philosophers how to build a good life and why it is worthwhile to have this topic of discussion and learning in schools.

Why Philosophy?

We are increasingly concerned about the quality of our lives – at home, at work, in our relationships with others and with ourselves – and we desire to have a good life. Philosophy has always been concerned with the good life, developing practices and tools that can be used both in everyday life and in the classroom.

Perhaps, for your child, the value of philosophical inquiry and its practical applications may not be immediately evident. Likewise, for you as a parent. Yet, many presumed innovations in parenting are, in fact, repurposed tools from ancient traditions of thought. Philosophy can be seamlessly integrated into everyday activities like brushing your teeth, watching a Netflix movie, exploring the city, or even enjoying a football match (especially when watching one). In all seriousness, I wholeheartedly believe that the benefits of philosophy remain relevant today, if not more so. Across the globe, people are rediscovering the forgotten riches of philosophical thought, whether to navigate work challenges, adolescence, or the complexities of first loves, both shared and unshared.” – shares Doru Căstăian.

The Resurgence of the Formative Spirit 

The resurgence of the formative spirit is increasingly acknowledged within Romania’s higher education philosophy sector, offering a broader array of “tools” to the general public, ranging from books to podcasts and master’s programs in philosophical counselling. Through vivid and concrete examples, Doru Căstăian will illustrate how we can integrate philosophical tools into our daily lives to address personal challenges and enhance our pedagogical practices in the classroom.

We cannot deceive human nature. We cannot manipulate fragments, uncertainties, or glimpses of feelings as if they were mist. Viewing everything as a production process is unrealistic; not all problems have algorithmic solutions, nor are all objectives SMART. Somewhere within the core of our minds, perspectives must converge to provide a coherent understanding of the world around us at every moment. These aspects may seem like mere philosophical embellishments on simpler matters, but they are not. They represent fundamental needs without which human beings suffer, both literally and metaphorically. Whether it’s ourselves, our children, or the adolescents under our care, even philosophical tools alone are insufficient; we must also nurture certain dispositions through what Foucault termed as techniques of the self. This cultivation can occur both at home and in the classroom, and I aim to demonstrate how” articulates Professor Căstăian.

Reflection and Self-Creation in the Age of AI

The widespread use of AI, which is becoming increasingly unavoidable, presents a host of specific issues that, like any technology, disrupt and reorganise our social frameworks.

Our lives are becoming more fast-paced, leading to a decline in reflection. We often seek the shortest and easiest routes, constantly searching for recipes promising success. However, algorithms, upon which such recipes are based, prove ineffective in matters of personal discovery and relationship-building.

How should we navigate this technological revolution, whether we are parents or educators?

Smart technologies are already reshaping our lives unlike any other technology before. We are only at the outset, and individuals of all walks, from the child completing homework with ChatGPT to the expert in the philosophy of knowledge, are striving to understand the unfolding dynamics. It’s tempting to adopt unexamined notions from our surroundings, whether envisioning a dreamy new technological utopia or predicting an impending apocalypse. However, as parents and educators, it is incumbent upon us to delve deeper, to understand how AI and its suite shape our knowledge, skills, memory, goals, and values. We must grasp its capabilities and limitations and leverage this understanding to become better parents, educators, and mentors.” expresses Doru Căstăian.

About the Purpose of Philosophy Today

How do we discover our values, how do we sift through what is important from what can be set aside? What is the meaning of life and how do we uncover it? What are our virtues?

I am honest enough and, I like to believe, lucid enough not to claim that I have a panacea. I don’t have motivational speeches for you, life recipes, or unbeatable algorithms. However, I do have some advice, a lot of willingness, and the desire to make new friends in the realm of reflection. It pains me to say, reflection has nearly vanished from the realm of our professional practices. And those who pay the price are almost always the children. They pay for our unforgivable hesitations, our arrogant ignorance, our existential confusion. Yes, in this millennium, I still believe in the promise made millennia ago by philosophy. That happiness is possible. That we can refine its patina every day. That a journey that usually begins with ourselves can be fascinating,” says Doru Căstăian.

These are some of the topics Doru Căstăian will discuss at the conference on February 8th, in an attempt to help us learn “How to Live a Good Life“.