A philosophical coming of age. What makes philosophical education for children philosophical?
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When I became more acquainted with philosophical education for children, I missed a clear idea of what exactly makes it philosophical. Driven by the conviction that philosophical education should safeguard a philosophical essence, in this thesis I try to find out what philosophical education for children (P4C) should entail in order for it to be considered philosophical. To answer this question I first explain what P4C is and which ideas lie at the root of the tradition. I discuss the ideas of pioneers of P4C, Lipman and Matthews and I show that P4C is a dynamic movement. In the second chapter I try to answer the question "What is philosophy?" with the help of four theories on the nature of philosophy in general, namely those of Deleuze and Guattari, Priest, Williamson and Van de Water. In the third chapter I describe and analyse seven contemporary methods in philosophical education with the help of the ideas of Matthews and Lipman and the theories of the second chapter. While my initial idea was to construct a list of core characteristics or a bottom line of "philosophicalness" and my research question referred to philosophical education in general, during my research I came to the conclusion that I would not be able to do exactly that. Given the fact that education not only takes place on paper but also in practice and that a philosophical intention does not guarantee a philosophical outcome I believe that the only thing that I and the theories are able to do are stating that they are more or less philosophical, according to these theories. I believe that this conclusion contributes to the fact that philosophy is hard to define and is an illustration of the challenging relation between theory and practice in philosophy. With this adjustment of goal in mind I propose several theoretical guidelines based on the theories and the methods that I discussed and that I believe will help to apply theory to practice and contribute to making education as philosophical as possible. To illustrate what philosophical education for children looks like in practice I discuss and analyse a recorded lesson in philosophy presented by WonderWhy.