Sunday, April 18, 2010

Philosophical Minds are Everywhere

EDUCATION | April 18, 2010
The Examined Life, Age 8
Philosophical reasoning taught in the second grade. From the New York Times:

“A lot of people try to make philosophy into an elitist discipline,” says Professor Wartenberg, who has been visiting the school, the Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School of Excellence, since 2007. “But everyone is interested in basic philosophical ideas; they’re the most basic questions we have about the world.”

Gareth Matthews, a professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, concluded that their curiosity and sense of wonder make children ripe for philosophic inquiry.

“The world is new to them and they want to figure things out,” says Professor Matthews, who has written extensively about children and philosophy. “Young children very often engage in reasoning that professional philosophers can recognize as philosophical, but typically their parents or teachers don’t react in a way that encourages them. They might say, ‘That’s cute,’ but they don’t engage the children in thinking further about whatever the issue is.”

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