The burgeoning worldwide “Philosophy for Children” movement

Laura D'Olimpio at the Australian Broadcast Corporation:

ScreenHunter_1482 Nov. 01 19.17Some people may wonder if young people can do philosophy. In his Nicomachean Ethics, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle writes that the young—and not necessarily the young in age—are not suitable students of ethics and politics because they lack experience and because they tend to follow feelings rather than reason.

Furthermore, in Socrates’ day, there was a concern that teaching the youth critical thinking skills would result in them being less obedient. If we teach students philosophy, will they simply argue for whatever they like, and be able to justify their arguments? Is the study of philosophy corrupting or empowering?

Philosophy for Children (P4C) is a program that takes philosophy out of the academy and into the classrooms of primary and high schools. P4C started at Montclair State University, New Jersey in the 1970s, when Matthew Lipman and Ann Sharp decided that a pragmatic approach to doing philosophy was needed. Their vision was to train children to think critically, creatively and collaboratively so that they would be better democratic citizens.

Influenced by the pragmatism of the philosopher John Dewey, Lipman applied the term ‘community of inquiry’ to the pedagogy that is central to conducting philosophical dialogue with children.

More here.