John of Salisbury: An Argument for Philosophy within Education

John of Salisbury: An Argument for Philosophy within Education

Turgeon, Wendy C.

ANALYTIC TEACHING Vol. 18 No.2 (1999)


Many commentators on the movement known as Philosophy for Children stress the notion that this movement is not simply a specific curriculum or program. Lipman, Sharp and others invite us to re-examine the role and nature of education within society by exploring the transformation of education by the philosophical community of inquiry from a meaningless artificial activity into a passionate intellectual adventure. Intimately connected with this examination is the proposal that philosophy as a reflective, social and critical human activity offers us both a method and content for educational renewal.

Critiques of education abound in recent times. What is unusual is the suggestion that the inclusion of philosophy within educational curricula may offer some answers to society’s questions and concerns. In fact, the inclusion of philosophy as integral to a college education is relatively rare in the United States now. Despite this contemporary indifference to the presence of philosophy, a history for its centrality exists. When the P4C practitioners and theoreticians point to the invigorating presence of philosophical inquiry in the elementary and secondary classroom and when they argue for the necessity of including philosophy as a central key in educating the young, they unwittingly echo the thoughts and arguments of many a medieval writer.

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