the philosophical baby and socratic orality

antonio cosentino


Lipman’s curriculum of “Philosophy for Children” was the outcome of a harmonious and fruitful partnership between philosophy and pedagogy, but over the time practice shows the risk of a double fall and reduction: on the one side into the ditch of pedagese and, on the other, into the ditch of philosofese. Using the expression “Philosophical Practice of Community” (PPC) instead of “Philosophy for children” (P4C) appears preferable to protect the latter from the risk of being considered, because of its evocative vagueness, both a sort of toy-philosophy, and a kind of pedagogical device suitable for all purposes. Set out in terms of PPC, the project of doing philosophy with children becomes part of a broader field of research concerning each of the three components (“philosophical”, “practice”, and “community”) and their relationships. If ideas are not clear about what “philosophical” means, the risk is that philosophy can be assimilated to other approaches and used as general as empty label. Among the many questions that a PPC puts on the table, I’ll try to frame three of them: 1) Is it necessary to know the philosophical tradition to practice philosophy with children? 2) Who are the philosophers?  3) How to revitalize the Socratic orality?


philosophy for children, philosophical practice, socrates

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