on the notion of good reasons in philosophy for children


  • diego antonio pineda Universidad Javeriana


Reasonableness, Good Reasons, Criteria, Intuition


The reasonableness is a basic ideal of a philosophical education. Such ideal is especially expressed in “Philosophy for Children” by the notion, still open to multiple interpretations, of “good reasons”. “Being reasonable” means, in its widest sense, the trend, the finely cultivated habit, of giving, asking and evaluating reasons for our thoughts, feelings, actions, words, actions, or wishes. What is demanded of those who participate in a community of inquiry is the permanent effort of searching for the best reasons for what we are, feel, think, say or wish to do. Why are good reasons necessary? How are those reasons to be evaluated? What allows us to distinguish between a good and a bad reason? What are the main characteristics of a good reason? These are some of the main questions I aim to examine in this paper. I begin by trying to clarify what gives rise to the need to give, ask and evaluate reasons. Then I try to answer the question I consider to be central: what is a good reason, or what does one consist of? I conclude my thoughts with some notes on the possibility and meaning of a “logic of good reasons” and on the role it plays in the P4C project. I show the diversity of reasons that can be offered according to the circumstances and the circles of interest in which we move. Since we live simultaneously in different worlds (those of day-to-day life, theory, moral decisions, and who knows what more possible worlds we can create through fantasy), the kind of reasons we must offer in each case may be entirely different. Therefore, the criteria according to which we can evaluate the reasons offered in each context may also be very different. I emphasize that good reasons are, in a great number, intuitive. They are immediate, that is, not mediated by long analysis, but ‘emerge’ in our minds rather ‘spontaneously’. Though good reasons may show up in a rather intuitive way, in general they are supported by a long process of analysis. Good reasons would not be such if they were not timely; therefore, they cannot take too long to show up; pressing circumstances require them to show up swiftly. Nonetheless, they are not produced casually or by chance. As a matter of fact, they are prepared in our permanent exercise of making good judgments, that is, careful, relevant and well enlightened judgments. This implies a process of decomposing a problematic situation into its constitutive parts (i.e. an exercise of analysis), which happens too fast in our minds and shows up finished in those who permanently strive to reason in a sensible and coherent way when confronted with different situations. Key words: Reasonableness; Good Reasons; Criteria; Intuition




How to Cite

pineda, diego antonio. (2010). on the notion of good reasons in philosophy for children. Childhood & Philosophy, 5(10), p. 317–338. Retrieved from https://www.e-publicacoes.uerj.br/childhood/article/view/20590