Plato and Socrates: From an Educator of Childhood to a Childlike Educator?

Studies in Philosophy and Education 32 (3):313-325 (2013)
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This paper deals with two forms of education—Platonic and Socratic. The former educates childhood to transform it into what it ought to be. The latter does not form childhood, but makes education childlike. To unfold the philosophical and pedagogical dimensions of this opposition, the first part of the paper highlights the way in which philosophy is presented indirectly in some of Plato’s dialogues, beginning with a characterisation that Socrates makes of himself in the dialogue Phaedrus. The second part details Plato’s condemnation of writing in the Phaedrus, and draws on the critique by Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze to establish what is at stake in this condemnation. In the third part, the pedagogical and political implications of this condemnation are reviewed, and Plato is placed in a surprising position in relation to his own teacher, Socrates. Finally, through a comparison between childhood and philosophy, the educational value of putting childhood and philosophy together is questioned. Through a number of questions, the paper ends problematising the pedagogical, political and philosophical value of placing the practice of philosophy in the realm of childhood citizenship education. It also recovers the value of philosophy—as a form of questioning and unlearning what we know and affirming the value of not knowing—in a childlike education.



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Walter Kohan
Rio de Janeiro State University

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References found in this work

Différence et répétition.Gilles Deleuze - 1985 - Presses Universitaires de France.
The Dialogues of Plato: The symposium.Erich Plato & Segal - 1984 - New Haven: Yale University Press. Edited by Reginald E. Allen.
The dialogues of Plato.Benjamin Plato & Jowett - 1892 - London: Oxford University PRess. Edited by Reginald E. Allen.
Childhood, Education and Philosophy: Notes on Deterritorialisation.Walter Omar Kohan - 2011 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (2):339-357.

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