grown-upness or living philosophically?

claire cassidy


This article addresses a particular element of Gert Biesta's presentation to the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children conference in Madrid, 2017: the notion of grown-upness and how this might be problematic in practising Philosophy with Children (PwC).  Biesta's grown-upness seems to imply a deficit view of children.  It is proposed here that the idea of grown-upness demands that children are positioned by others - adult others - which further denies their agency.  Biesta's suggestion that grown-upness is about a way of being in the world is discussed in relation to how PwC positively encourages participants to engage with others by attending to a range of views and perspectives without situating themselves at the centre.  The article concludes that emphasis on the philosophical element of the practice rather than on the children who engage in it, may address the deficit view thrown-up by Biesta, and that it may be more helpful to talk about practical philosophy or community of philosophical inquiry.


philosophy with children; child; grown-upness; practical philosophy; community of philosophical inquiry

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e-issn 1984-5987 | p-issn 2525-5061