the community of philosophical inquiry as a social and cognitive matrix


  • maura striano Università Federico II di Napoli


According to Matthew Lipman, the community of philosophical inquiry can be understood as a social matrix generating a variety of social relationships and building up the framework of the cognitive matrices whose outcomes are cognitive relationships. From this perspective, the community, intended both as an existential as well as a social structure, is the ground for the emergence and development of complex thinking involving both critical, creative and caring cognitive processes. A community goes back to a pattern of relationships and interactions built on the recognition and acceptance of a cultural, ideological, religious or social reference with which the members of the group identify, and which represents the reason for them to form as a group. Communities generate relationships of commitment, sharing, and understanding that are the ground of caring thinking habits, but they are also the generative context of a process of continuous building/re-building/validation of shared meanings and sensibilities which is the ground for critical thinking. In a community context the dynamic between individual-individual and individual-community is both the expression and the management of conflict and opposition, and the construction of new existential, expressive and cognitive forms that allow for the emergence of thoughts capable of composition, integration, qualitative leaps, and surpassing and transcending phases therefore generating creative forms of thinking. As such, the community of philosophical inquiry represents a socio-relational matrix that is inseparably both epistemic and existential, and which reverberates along new links that build up between objects, between people, and within the world in a continuous circuit, and in which new senses and meanings are always being generated. For these reasons it can be extended to many other contexts other than those involving the teaching of complex thinking to children and adolescents, including a community development. Keywords: community; philosophical inquiry; complex thinking; social matrix; social relationships; cognitive relationships

Author Biography

maura striano, Università Federico II di Napoli

Associate professor of general and social pedagogy Department of Relational Sciences




How to Cite

striano, maura. (2011). the community of philosophical inquiry as a social and cognitive matrix. Childhood & Philosophy, 7(13), pp.91–102. Retrieved from