an approach to "philosophizing" discussion

vanya kovach


This paper responds to the concern that many novice Philosophy for Children facilitators have about how to ensure that students’ discussion is philosophical. Two ways of addressing this concern are outlined, and the second of these is identified as the approach my method builds upon. In particular, I focus on those agenda-setting questions students pose that might be called ”psychological speculation” questions and offer a range of moves for proceeding from those into more centrally philosophical discussion. The approach draws on familiarity with traditional areas of philosophy, and shows the practical everyday use for facilitators of such familiarity. Those who offer professional development in Philosophy for Children may find this approach a useful one to introduce in introductory or follow-up workshops, and novice facilitators will find enough guidance here to be able to apply these moves in their practice. A discussion of the distinction and the relationship between philosophical and empirical questions is undertaken, in passing, and a suggestion put forward for assisting novice P4C facilitators to discover their own abilities to find groups of related philosophical questions. Practical examples of the moves in my approach are provided, and a guide for building on them is offered. Finally, a connection is drawn between the questions that flow from traditional academic areas of philosophy and the idea of philosophy as ‘love of wisdom’.


philosophy for children, facilitation, teacher training, philosophical, questions

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e-issn 1984-5987 | p-issn 2525-5061