Philosophy for Children - The Humanistic Point of View: Engaging Children and Young Adults in the Practice of the Humanities

By Wendy C. Turgeon.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Too often the humanities in general and philosophy in particular are viewed as items to check off a “Core requirement” list for graduation. The mantra, “But why do I need to know X?” echoes throughout schools from elementary through college level around the United States and abroad. But how might the act of “doing philosophy” transform the person into an engaged, thoughtful member of a community of inquiry? This paper will introduce the concept of “Philosophy with/by children” as a model for revolutionizing education at all levels towards an active engagement of students in the learning process and a way of revitalizing the humanistic perspective on the world. If “the unexamined life is not worth living” has any ring of veracity to it, we must acknoledge that education, the main path towards such self reflection, has been derailed too often into a form of job training with an increasingly narrow focus and an economic rationale. A brief history of the “P4C” movement will be presented along with its conception of a specific role for philosophy within education as a force to nurture active thinking within the humanistic disciplines. The goal is to offer to all a form of life that can enrich both the individual and the society to which she belongs. It is hoped that there will be an active exchange of ideas regarding such a model for philosophy and its connection to other disciplines.

Keywords: Philosophy, Education, Children, Young Adults

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 8, pp.79-86. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 502.050KB).

Dr. Wendy C. Turgeon

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Saint Joseph’s College, Patchogue, New York, USA

I have been involved in the educational movement known as Philosophy for Children for the past 15 years. In addition to developing and teaching courses in this area for Stony Brook University and St. Joseph’s College, I have served as an officer of ICPIC (International Council for the Philosophical Inquiry with Children) and have presented at conferences in Iceland, Brasil, England and Canada. I teach a range of introductory philosophy courses but am particularly dedicated to philosophy of education and have developed online graduate courses in this area for Stony Brook University where I hold an adjunct position and have taught for the past 25 years.

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