Friday, July 06, 2007

Philosophy for kids

I was really pleased by this report about philosophy classes for primary school children. The example problem being discussed was whether it is possible to step into the same river twice. Good question. And the children seem to have been thinking about it in an interesting way with skilled supervision. But then the teacher, Peter Worley, goes and says this:
"There's something wonderfully naive about the ancient Greeks because they were right at the beginning of it all," says Mr Worley. "There's something that the children can identify with - it is at the same level as themselves, but it is also sophisticated in its own way," he adds.
Sigh. You can find out more about this company, 'The Philosophy Shop' on their website. They also offer philosophical counselling.


Peter Worley said...

"Sigh". I take it this is a sigh of disapproval so let me defend myself! I admit that the quote comes across very clumsily. I was speaking specifically about the pre-socratic philosophers when I made that comment, and all I meant was that some of the questions that come from the pre-socratics are uniquely approachable for children. They don't need to unpack the questions or be furnished with lots of background information to engage philosophically with them as I hope was demonstrated by the session described in the article. Of course, I think ancient Greek philosophy is highly sophisticated and I wouldn't describe Plato as niave.

JIW said...

Dear Peter

Thanks. I should say once more that I think the lessons sound very promising, and I do agree that packaged properly some of these questions are an excellent entry into some deep questions. I suppose I just cringed at the word 'naive'! James