Philosophy for Children

an article published in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (first published May 2, 2002, substantive revision June 8, 2009).

In the United States, philosophy typically makes its formal entry into the curriculum at the college level. A growing number of high schools offer some introduction to philosophy, often in special literature courses for college bound students. In Europe and many other countries, it is much more common to find philosophy in the high school curriculum. However, philosophy prior to high school seems relatively uncommon around the world. This may suggest that serious philosophical thinking is not for pre-adolescents. Two reasons might be offered for accepting this view. First, philosophical thinking requires a level of cognitive development that, one may believe, is beyond the reach of pre-adolescents. Second, the school curriculum is already crowded; and introducing a subject like philosophy will not only distract students from what they need to learn, it may encourage them to become skeptics rather than learners. However, both of these reasons can be challenged. They will be addressed in turn:

  • 1. Are Children Capable of Philosophical Thinking?
  • 2. Philosophy in a Crowded Curriculum
  • 3. The Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC)
  • 4. Philosophizing With Others?
  • 5. Philosophy For Children Around The World
  • Bibliography
  • Books and Articles
  • Periodicals
  • Other Internet Resources
  • Related Entries

… (full long article, Bibliography and other resources).

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