What’s the point of Philosophy for Children?


Originally posted on Rethinking-Ed:

In case you aren’t familiar with the approach, here’s a quick potted history. There are essentially two ways in which one can learn philosophy: a) to study what philosophers have written (philosophy as a noun: a canon of texts to be consumed and understood); and b) to ask philosophical questions, and then discuss them at length (philosophy as a verb: a set of processes to be followed, modelled and learned). Obviously these things are not mutually exclusive, but fundamentally P4C is about the latter: philosophy as a verb.

The approach was developed in the 1970s by Matthew Lipman, a professor from Columbia University who became increasingly frustrated at the lack of critical thinking skills evident in his Philosophy undergrads. Lipman figured you need to start young, and he came up with a methodology for teaching children how to think and reason for themselves…

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