creating investors, not tourists: how to care for the linguistic ecosystem


  • daniel john anderson Graduated with Philosophy Honours from UBC. Associate Director of Think Fun Camps at the University of the Fraser Valley.


The role of the facilitator within Communities of Philosophical Inquiry (CPI's) has often been allocated to structuring group interactions and/or affirming participants' contributions. In this paper, however, it will be argued that facilitators must take a far more active role in dialogue than has hereto been recognized. This is the case because, when left to its own devices, CPI dialogue often devolves into mere opinion tourism, becomes obscure, and/or is drowned by an excess of irrelevant content. It will be argued that these effects, in turn, pose a serious threat to agent investment. That is, by muddying dialogue, these effects can sever the link between agents' motivational sets and the subject matter at hand and, consequently, may cause agents to internally disengage from the discussion underway. Given the danger that unchecked dialogue poses to agent investment, it will be argued that facilitators must be vigilant in attending to the health of the linguistic environment that both they themselves and participants occupy. That is, it will be argued that facilitators have a responsibility to care for participants by intervening in dialogue and pushing for rigour and clarity. This ecocentric model of care, interestingly, often directly contends with the more intuitive, or biocentric position, that a facilitator must directly care for participants affective or emotional welfare by celebrating their contributions for contribution's sake. Instead, it suggests that facilitators can indirectly care for participants by strategically prompting them to make their contributions logically sound, concise and clear. Moreover, this ecocentric perspective also conflicts with the often purported view that a facilitator is a temporary figure that should eventually become obsolete in a CPI. To the contrary, the ecocentric perspective suggests that a facilitator's role is indispensable to a CPI's success, insofar as it helps create and maintain the necessary conditions for agent investment, and helps ensure the continued health of the linguistic ecosystem, upon which everybody's welfare crucially depends.




How to Cite

anderson, daniel john. (2015). creating investors, not tourists: how to care for the linguistic ecosystem. Childhood & Philosophy, 11(22), 283–297. Retrieved from