London, New York: Routledge (2021)

Maughn Rollins Gregory
Montclair State University
Megan Jane Laverty
Teachers College, Columbia University
2 more
Gareth B. Matthews, The Child’s Philosopher brings together groundbreaking essays by renowned American philosopher Gareth B. Matthews in three fields he helped to initiate: philosophy in children’s literature, philosophy for children, and philosophy of childhood. In addition, contemporary scholars critically assess Matthews’ pioneering efforts and his legacy. Matthews (1929-2011) was a specialist in ancient and medieval philosophy who had conversations with young children, discovering that they delight in philosophical puzzlement and that their philosophical thinking often enriched his own understanding. Those conversations became the impetus for a substantial component of Matthews’ scholarship, from which this book features essays spanning the length of his career. Contemporary contributors to the book critically evaluate Matthews’ scholarship, showing where he broke new ground and identifying developments and debates in the fields he helped to initiate. They take up pressing challenges, including biased idealizations of childhood in children’s literature; the tensions between teaching philosophy to, and doing philosophy with young people; the merits of theorizing childhood without theorizing children; and how professional philosophy at once desires and resists a return to childhood. This second volume in the Philosophy for Children Founders series is an important resource for philosophers, educators, and anyone interested in children’s philosophical thinking, developmental psychology, what it means to philosophize with children, the nature of childhood, and how children’s literature goes philosophical. It will guide and inspire those who share Matthews’ conviction that the impulse to philosophize begins in early childhood.
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