A study of the Faculty of Philosophy in Brazil: transformation process and the new pattern



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This study was concerned with the three main laws of higher education in Brazil which marked the three phases of higher education in which were defined the functions of the Faculty of Philosophy and its relationships with the university and the system of higher education. The Revolution of 1930 affected higher education by the establishment of a university which included within its structure the Faculty of Philosophy, Science, and Letters. Law Number 19851 of April 11, 19311 gave the basis for the creation of the University of Sab Paulo, a new spirit and organization. This law emphasized the existence of the Faculty of Philosophy where 'pure research could be performed in higher studies done in the fields of Science and Letters, independent of any immediate professional interest.' The idea was to be carried out by the professional faculties. However, in order to survive within the university structure, the Faculty of Philosophy had to emphasize its Department of Pedagogy or Education. Thus, the justification for its existence became the professional training of high school teachers. With the growth of enrollment, the need of secondary education increased and multiplied this model. Furthermore, with the new Law of Directives and Bases of National Education, approved in 1961, the Faculty of Philosophy entered a new phase in which it was clearly defined as another professional faculty. On the other hand, this law allowed the creation of Pure Research Institutes as part of the structure of the university. They were later called Central Institutes. The Central Institute became the basis for the structure of a new university model: the University of Brasilia Foundation. As a Foundation, however. Brasilia University was an exception and its structure did not give any hope for the smaller universities. They already had crystallized on professions as the role of the university where pure research, with few exceptions, was not allowed to survive. A new law in 1966 established the specific basis for the University Reform and the reintroduction of the idea of the Faculty of Philosophy. The idea of the Faculty of Philosophy was reintroduced as the General Studies area of the university. Furthermore, the Faculty of Philosophy lost its professional character when the Department of Pedagogy or Education became a separate college as the Faculty of Education. At the same time the professional faculties lost their basic departments to the General Studies area and kept only the professional departments under their control. It is expected from this redefined Faculty of Philosophy that this element will permeate the university horizontally and vertically. Statement of the Problem The primary consideration of this study was to determine how the original objectives of the Faculty of Philosophy have been revitalized by the decrees of November 1966 and February 1967, namely decrees Number 53 and Number 252, whereby the orientation of the faculty toward pure research and integration of the university has once more been established after a period during which the faculty, as a professional faculty, lost its direction. The objectives of the Faculty of Philosophy, and/or application of these objectives in the new university structure, were also examined. Specifically, the study attempts to determine (1) how the Faculty of Philosophy has been successively readjusted in its purposes and objectives, (2) how these successive read-justments have been made in order to survive in the structural academic organization of the university, (3) why these read-justments have led the Faculty of Philosophy away from their objectives, and (4) why basic research in the Brazilian universities has not been constant, and because of the frequent adjustments there is no fixed pattern of applied research today. Data Collection The first step was a review of the literature in order to determine items pertinent and related to the concept of the Faculty of Philosophy since its establishment in the Middle Ages. The following step was to collect all relevant major legislation enacted in Brazili thirty-one of the major pieces of federal legislation directly related to the University Reform were examined, fifty-four interpretations of the Federal Council of Education were reviewed; the related pieces of legislation to a total of seventy-four were also reviewed; from this total of seventy-four, seventeen were Federal laws, twenty-four Federal Law-Decrees, and thirty-three decrees; seven 'portarias,' (ministerial resolutions) were also reviewed. The next step was to collect the by-laws and regulations of universities and Faculties of Philosophy. In order to do this the following procedure was followed. Utilizing the Boletim Universitario Brasileiro, the writer prepared a list of universities which have the Faculty of Philosophy within their structure. A letter was sent to each of these universities requesting the by-laws of the university and their respective amendments. This letter also requested the by-laws of the Faculty of Philosophy and their amendments. Whenever the Faculty of Philosophy has been divided into more than one institution or has been renamed, the by-laws and the amendments were requested. This letter was sent to forty-nine universities among the total of fifty-six Brazilian universities. From those a total of eighteen answered and sent the by-laws of the university and Faculty of Philosophy regulations. The researcher collected in the library by-laws and regulations referring to six universities. The total of by-laws collected and analyzed came to twenty-four, which established a percentage of 41.10. Limitation of the Study This study was limited to universities which were old enough to have a Faculty of Philosophy whose structure was established before the Law of Directives and Bases (1961). This permitted the examination of the evolution of the Faculty of Philosophy and also an investigation of how it is related to the by-laws of the university and to the three federal laws. Findings The researcher collected all pertinent bibliography. The study allowed him to trace the evolution of the Faculty of Philosophy from the beginnings of the university until today. This analysis established a configuration that could be called 'transformation process and emergent patterns.' The evolution can be seen in four stages 1 (1) The evolution of the concept of the Faculty of Philosophy from the beginning of the university in Europe until the establishment of the university in Portugali (2) The evolution of education in Brazil and the establishment of the concept of the Faculty of Philosophy within the system of higher education; (3) The analysis of the evolution of the Faculty of Philosophy's objectives in the Brazilian university and the university models in relation to the Faculties of Philosophy according to major legislation on education; and (4) The establishment of a tentative model of the university, conceptualizing an emergent pattern for the Faculty of Philosophy. Conclusions The findings determine the evolution of the concept of the Faculty of Philosophy in Brazil within the university structure, with the answers to the four main questions. As a final conclusion there was a recommendation of a tentative model for the Brazilian university where the Faculty of Philosophy will be allowed to accomplish fully its function. The final section of the study has references and the necessary