The Pragmatist Foundations of Philosophy for Children and the Education of Reasonableness

Mendonça, D. S. D. L. (Invited speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The pedagogical project of philosophy for children (P4C) developed by Matthew Lipman and Ann Sharp was conceived under the guidance of the pragmatist philosophical proposal (Lipman 2003, Sharp 1987). The paper argues that this inevitably leads to a specific conception of education of reasonableness. The first part of the paper puts forward how certain principles of pragmatism are present in the pedagogical program of P4C both in the theoretical body of the program as well as in the classroom practice. P4C adopts the pragmatic maxim and lively takes up the criticism of the Cartesian methodological doubt recognizing the situated character of questioning. P4C also embodies an epistemological attitude that recognizes the centrality of intersubjectivity and its development in understanding one’s own self and others, and the way thinking and research must be done within a community of inquiry, as well as the necessity of cultivating a fallibilistic attitude. The second part of the paper shows how its pragmatist heritage places reasonableness at the center, and specifically how Lipman’s notion of caring thinking asks for the incorporation of emotions in judgment and that this is crucial to fosters rigor in thinking and to understand Lipman’s claims about reasonableness. The paper concludes by showing how the social conception of rationality that P4C puts forward is well suited to distinguish the dialogue promoted in P4C classrooms both from practices that foster conversations and those activities that directed exercises of engaging students in debates or drills for training argumentation. Finally, the conclusion points out how P4C methodology promotes dialogue and reflective habits of mind in a decisive manner for the solidity of the democratic ideal and the general education of citizens in a changing global environment.

Period28 Jan 2020
Event titleWomen in pragmatism Internacional Conference: null
Event typeConference
LocationBarcelona, Spain