Mom, I have a question.
You’re my Mom and Dad’s my
have a Mom - Grandma. And so does she. But
human get born?”
“ Dad, could the whole world be nothing but a dream?”
I went to the dentist and he gave me a shot, it really hurt.
I didn't cry, but I was really scared. Does that
was the last time your child stumped you with a philosophical
like the ones listed above? How did you respond? If you are
like most of us, you tried to reassure your child, but didn't
feel like you could really answer his or her question. You
know what? You don't have to tell your child the answer in
order to discuss the issue that
How?! Well, that’s what philosophy
for children is
website presents all the tools that you need to discuss even the
most mind-boggling questions your child can throw at you. The basic
idea is to get them to say what they think rather than
to stumble over an answer you don't really believe in or to change
the subject. All that this involves is faith that your child actually
has a lot to discuss with you about the ideas that intrigue and
puzzle them. So, instead of panicking when your child gets that
puzzled look on his or her face, dive right in and explore
together ideas that you are also intrigued by. You'll be
surprised at the results.
get a taste of what this is like, take a look at the video-clip
featured on this site. (It can be accessed
through the VIDEO page or the HOME page.) It's a sample
from a philosophical discussion among fifth-graders of a question
raised in Peter Catalanotto's picture book, Emily's Art.
When an art class in Emily's first-grade class results in a clearly
inferior drawing being awarded first prize, many questions arise.
One of them is how you can judge something so apparently subjective
as art. After all, we don't think that it makes sense to say that
chocolate is better than vanilla: It's just a matter of taste.
Does the same apply to art? Watch what the school children have
to say about this...and you will truly be amazed at how they
develop the idea that there must be objective standards to use
in evaluating works of art!
even if you are unnerved by the idea of having a philosophical
discussion with your 4, 8, or 12 year old, don't let that stop
you. Philosophy isn't the esoteric specialty you may remember from
that intimidating college course you took and barely passed. Philosophy
was born when people began to puzzle about the most basic features
of their lives. Despite all the changes of the past two and
a half millennia, we still haven't figured out the answers to all
of those questions. Just relax and enjoy discussing these age-old
problems with your young child or children. You may find that you
have a lot to learn from them. And let us know how it goes!
to Story Questions and Guidelines
for Philosophical Discussions