that's a better ideia. philosophical progress in philosophy for children


  • clinton golding


epistemic progress, philosophical inquiry, reflective equilibrium, resolution, conceptions


Philosophy for Children is an important educational programme that engages children in philosophical inquiry as the means to make sense of the world. A key to its success is that participant’s progress with making sense of the world or, more colloquially, they develop better ideas. Although philosophical progress is essential to the value of Philosophy for Children, there is little written on this important concept and what is written tends to be merely suggestive. The result is that teachers and students often find themselves lost in the dialogical, open inquiry of Philosophy for Children where there is no pre-determined end-point or uncontroversial ‘right’ answers they can move towards. This paper will uncover the seed of a conception of philosophical progress in the current Philosophy for Children literature and then ‘grow’ this into a more adequate conception of philosophical progress. I argue that philosophical progress in Philosophy for Children should be conceived of as the movement from philosophical problems to philosophical resolutions, or in other words, from incongruous and inadequate conceptions to transformed conceptions where the problems no longer occur. A framework of philosophical inquiry helps students to keep their bearings as they move from philosophical problems to philosophical resolutions, and helps them to identify milestones that indicate they are getting somewhere. They know they have made progress not because they have the ‘right’ answer, but because they have better conceptions that are in greater reflective equilibrium in comparison with the incongruous and inadequate conceptions they started with and in comparison with alternative resolutions. My recommendation is that such a conception of philosophical progress become a core feature of the Philosophy for Children programme so it can provide needed scaffolding for the essential aim of making philosophical progress. Keywords: epistemic progress; philosophical inquiry; reflective equilibrium; resolution; conceptions




How to Cite

golding, clinton. (2010). that’s a better ideia. philosophical progress in philosophy for children. Childhood & Philosophy, 5(10), p. 223–269. Retrieved from