The Experience of Childhood and the Learning Society: Allowing the Child to be Philosophical and Philosophy to be Childish

Journal of Philosophy of Education 45 (2):183-198 (2011)
Both ‘philosophy’ and ‘the child’ are notions that seem to have an everlasting presence in our daily vocabulary. What is less common and perhaps lacking is any reflection on the relation between them, which is rarely a focus of the researcher's attention. We believe that it is precisely this relation that is at stake in increasingly popular notions such as ‘philosophy for/with children’, or even in philosophy of education as such. In this article we will expand upon this claim by exploring the meeting place(s) of both notions. An extensive elaboration of this relation would need not only more space than the average journal article offers, but also much more extensive research. Both ‘philosophy’ and ‘the child’—if we were to do justice to the wealth these terms offer—should each form separately the object of further research, in order to be able to pick the fruits of their shared household. We will bypass a labyrinthine study of this sort, however, and instead offer some thoughts on the cross-section of both these terms, seeking as it were what could be philosophical about the child, and where philosophy becomes childish. We hope that the reader would be so kind as to step into this brief, and somewhat associative, reasoning and find something of value in this wordplay, knowing that the more extensive treatise that the interconnection of these two realities demands is to be found elsewhere. The authors, for their part, are writing in the conviction that less can sometimes be more
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9752.2011.00800.x
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