notes toward a metaphysics of wonder: appreciative reflections on leoni henning’s o pragmatismo em lipman e sua influência na américa latina

matthew lipman


"Notes toward a metaphysic of wonder" is the outcome of a "Reciprocal Inquiry" in which Leoni Henning and I participated. In our correspondence, we moved very fast: I thought each of us surprised the other. As a result, I found myself writing about astonishment more elaborately than I'd intended to. Before long I was involved not only with wondering but with awe and bewilderment and amazement, and eager to connect it all with philosophy in Latin America. So these "Notes..." are just a foretaste of what I hope will someday be a more extensive article, but which is only hinted at in the present version. Leoni Maria Padillha Henning’s thoughtful and informative paper, “Pragmatism in Matthew Lipman and its influence in Latin America” is singularly helpful in showing the relevance of Philosophy for Children to Latin-American education. Indeed, the intellectual momentum it generates is a powerful invitation to other educators and scholars to take up the issues where she leaves off. I’d like to take up just one of these issues, one that, on the surface at least, seems to be particularly unpromising. I’m referring to the near-unanimity that exists among scholars with regard to the tradition, descended from Aristotle, that philosophy begins in wonder. My intention is not to attempt to refute this claim, but to show its complicity in defending the traditional non-reflective paradigm of education, which has sturdily resisted the introduction of philosophy into the schools, just as it resists the conversion of the classroom into a community of inquiry. With the proper pedagogy, philosophy can readily be taught to children, and the teaching of philosophy for children can readily be taught to teachers. It is not essential that wonder precede philosophy: it can just as well follow it.


Wonder; Philosophy for children; Latin America

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