Life comes from physical or biological survival. But the good life comes from what we care about, what we value, what we think truly important, as distinguished from what we think merely trivial. What we care about is the source of the criteria we use to evaluate ideas, ideals, persons, events, things, and their importance in our lives. And it is these criteria that determine the judgments we make in our everyday lives. In the second edition of Thinking in Education, (...) Matthew Lipman has indicated the importance of fostering critical, creative and caring thinking in children, if one is to prepare them to make better judgments and live qualitatively better lives. He tells us that caring thinking is appreciative thinking, active thinking, normative thinking, affective thinking and empathetic thinking and then goes on to list a number of mental acts under each of these categories. Maybe it is because ‘caring thinking’ is not as common a term as ‘critical thinking’ and ‘creative thinking’ in everyday educational language that we stop for pause when we hear it. However when we read what Lipman says about caring thinking, we find ourselves nodding and saying to ourselves, ‘Yes, that makes sense. To think caringly means to think ethically, affectively, normatively, appreciatively and to actively participate in society with a concern for the common good’. In a real sense what we care about is manifest in how we perform, participate, build, contribute and how we relate to others. It is thinking that reveals our ideals as well as what we think is valuable, what we are willing to fight and suffer for. (shrink)
Abstract When we speak about the aim of doing philosophy on the elementary school level with children as transforming classrooms into ?communities of inquiry?, we make certain assumptions about nature and personhood and the relationship between the two. We also make certain assumptions about dialogue, truth and knowledge. Further, we make assumptions regarding the ability of children to form such communities that will engender care for one another as persons with rights, a tolerance for each other's views, feelings, imaginings, creations (...) as well as a care for one another's happiness equal to the concern one has for one's own happiness. Lastly, we make assumptions about children's ability to commit themselves to objectivity, impartiality, consistency and reasonableness. The latter has social, moral and political implications. This paper is an attempt to identify and clarify some of these assumptions. (shrink)
When we speak about the aim of doing philosophy on the elementary school level with children as transforming classrooms into 'communities of inquiry', we make certain assumptions about nature and personhood and the relationship between the two. We also make certain assumptions about dialogue, truth and knowledge. Further, we make assumptions regarding the ability of children to form such communities that will engender care for one another as persons with rights, a tolerance for each other's views, feelings, imaginings, creations as (...) well as a care for one another's happiness equal to the concern one has for one's own happiness. Lastly, we make assumptions about children's ability to commit themselves to objectivity, impartiality, consistency and reasonableness. The latter has social, moral and political implications. This paper is an attempt to identify and clarify some of these assumptions. (shrink)
The overall purpose of this paper is to explore three related themes: feminist philosophy and philosophy for children have much in common including pegagogy, an inclusive orientation and fallibilist but critical epistemology, both feminism and philosophy for children benefit from a close reading of Peirce, but only philosophy for children draws explicitly on Peirce, and because of this common bond feminist philosophy and philosophy for children provide place to stand against the postmodern retreat to texts.e.
Abstract Moral education at its most effective is philosophical education conducted at the elementary school level within the context of classroom communities of inquiry. Such an education assumes that children are thinking persons and given the right environment and the right teacher, they can learn to do philosophy with integrity and can discuss ethical issues in a thoughtful, objective and reasonable manner. Participation in such a community of inquiry over many years can afford children opportunities to inculcate procedures of inquiry (...) in a reflective and self?corrective manner and cooperatively construct a reasonable understanding of the world and ways in which individuals can be said to live well. Such an education is the antithesis of indoctrination as it aims to give children the intellectual tools that they need to think autonomously about moral issues, to explore the metaphysical, logical and aesthetic dimensions of these issues and eventually move toward the formation of their own answers. (shrink)
As I was thinking about what I would say to you tonight, I remembered myself in my freshman year at a Catholic girls high school. It was Spring and the nuns had told us that we would have a five-day retreat. Speakers would come to speak to us in the mornings and the afternoons would be reserved for reflection and reading. Of course, it was to be a silent retreat. No talking for five days.
By now, I would guess that thousands of teachers and children have read chapter one of Harry Stottlemeier's Discovery by Matthew Lipman. It is the chapter in which Harry discovers, among other things, the Aristotelian notion of conversation. The students and the teahers have probably talked about truth, conversation, discovery, invention, mind, resentment, daydreaming, and perhaps even the role of Lisa as the one who supplies the counter-example to Harry's theory about language and how it works.
The classroom community of inquiry aims at helping children make better judgments. If we can show that emotions are judgments or appraisals, it follows that they are educable. Such education of the emotions optimally should take place within the environment of communal inquiry with its focus on respect for persons, dialogue, concept formation, critical, creative and caring thinking. Children need help learning to identify their emotions, detecting assumptions upon which they lie and justifying these emotions to themselves and to others. (...) Such work involves helping children to be sensitive to the salient aspects of individual situations, developing a consciousness of criteria and the ideals from which these criteria ensue, and fostering a disposition to be willing to self correct when we discover through inquiry that our emotions are based on unwarranted beliefs. (shrink)
Historically, philosophy has not played a significant role in the preparation of elementary and middle school teachers in the twentieth century. However, if philosophy could be organized and sequenced, that is reconstructed, in such a way that it could be taught to prospective teachers in the same way that they could present it to children, both teachers and students could come to cultivate: reasoning skills, logical skills, inquiry skills, concept formation skills, translation skills, social and interpersonal skills.
Philosophy for Children engages students in philosophical deliberation characterized by dialogue, inquiry, reasoning and self-reflection. Philosophy for Children assumes a pluralistic conception of philosophy which, when practiced in a community of inquiry with children, is a necessary tool for the liberation from oppression. It is on this basis that an analogous relationship with feminist philosophy is established. Students of Philosophy for Children commit themselves, either consciously or unconsciously, to such principles as egalitarianism, respect for persons, fallibilism, pluralism, open-mindedness, tolerance, and (...) the procedures of democracy. Some procedures for philosophizing with children are enumerated. The author concludes that Philosophy for Children is not just a discipline to be added to the curriculum, but represents an alternative model of education in which thinking, questioning, self-correction, judgment making, collaboration, dialogue, and inquiry are central. (shrink)
I finall am getting around to writing my short story. My name is Gabriel. Three years ago, I had a real problem. I was failing language arts. I liked the short stories and the novels that we read in class and at home, but I just couldn't write any stories of my own. And you had to write short stories, if you were going to pass language arts.
"Have you ever wondered how words began?" Monica asked. "I have," Stefan responded. "Did you come up with any theories?" "I'm afraid not," Stefan said. "The most I could think of was that perhaps words are what we make up to gather up the silence. That's not much of a theory." "I have a theory, Monica," I said. "Do you want to hear it?" The class settled down as if they were expecting a story.
Sometimes I wonder how I ever got here. Other times I wonder what I'm doing here. Then I remember what happened and say to myself, "You don't come from here. You know you come from somewhere else. And soon you will be leaving here for good.".
Every child has a doll. I do. Do you have a doll? Is it a boy or a girl doll? If you have a doll, why don't you bring it along with you next time. Then we can all talk together. And there will be twice as many people in the group.
Geraldo is a philosophical novel, targeted at 9-10 year olds. The novel speaks directly to children who are learning to read, as well as children learning English as a second language. The work attempts to focus on reasoning skills embedded in language as well as on philosophical themes that arise when a child is learning to read a second language.