Coping with children’s wit: Materials for a dialogical odyssey

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Carlos Sousa Reis


In this paper we start by discussing how Philosophy for Children (P4C) was launched by Matthew Lipman (1922-2010) in the 1970s in order to establish philosophy as a fully-fledged school programme in the US, and has since become a movement which evolved through the last four decades, adopting different epistemological and pedagogical discourses (Vansieleghem & Kennedy, 2011). From philosophy for children we arrive at philosophy with children, swapping the fixed method for the modelling and coaching by communal reflection, contemplation and communication, thus giving a greater emphasis to dialogue, while opening up different approaches, methods, techniques and strategies. This is precisely the line of work we personally prefer, when it is articulated with Gareth Matthews’ assumption that children can ask the same questions as philosophers do, and sometimes even better ones. Along the lines of Storme and Vlieghe (2001), we think that P4C can allow the child to be philosophical and philosophy childish, an understanding that perhaps can free us from the dominant one dimensional unproblematized realm of the ideology of productivity that envisages education as a process exclusively preparing persons for labour markets, understood as the set of positions gained in an operative and ruthlessly competitive battle. This offers a context where constructing existential meaning, by and for each individual, is excluded from education.

Keywords: Philosophy for children, song, tales, cinema.


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Reis, C. (2019). Coping with children’s wit: Materials for a dialogical odyssey. New Trends and Issues Proceedings on Humanities and Social Sciences, 6(1), 365-377.