Philosophy Philosophy for Children
by
Philip Cam
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0387

Introduction

Philosophy for Children is an educational movement that was originally associated with the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) at Montclair State University (formerly Montclair State College) in the United States beginning in the early 1970s. The term was coined by Matthew Lipman, who was primarily responsible for setting up the institute, after moving from Columbia University in New York, where he first began this work. Lipman and his colleague, Ann Margaret Sharp, promoted Philosophy for Children in the United States and then internationally. It has since attracted the attention of philosophers and educationalists in many parts of the world and both it and its offshoots have become widely represented in schools. Philosophy for Children adapts philosophical subject matter and modes of inquiry for use in school education, either as a separate intervention or by way of integration into existing school subjects. Although philosophy has been traditionally restricted to the senior years, Philosophy for Children is to be found throughout all levels of schooling. This reflects the fact that, while not neglecting the intrinsic value of moral, epistemological, metaphysical, and other philosophical subject matter, it has broader educational objectives. Philosophy for Children is committed to the development of active democratic citizens who have an open inquiring outlook and are prepared to arrive at judgments on the basis of reason and evidence. It supports this outcome through collaborative inquiry-based teaching and learning, treating the classroom as an inquiring community, where emphasis is placed on critical, creative, and caring thinking and the development of associated cognitive and social skills, abilities, and dispositions. A wide array of books for teachers and classroom materials have been produced along with a growing body of research and academic publications in monographs, anthologies, and journals.

IAPC Curriculum

The Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children promoted its work though a range of philosophical novels written by Matthew Lipman, supported by teacher’s manuals developed by Lipman and his colleagues. Lipman’s corpus stretches over all school years, with each novel written for target grades and having a different philosophical focus. Among the classroom materials that formed the IAPC curriculum are Lipman 1981, Lipman 1982a, Lipman 1982b, Lipman 1983, Lipman 2003a, and their respective teacher’s manuals, Lipman and Sharp 1982; Lipman, et al. 1984; Lipman and Sharp 1986; Lipman, et al. 1985; and Lipman 2003b.

  • Lipman, Matthew. Pixie. Upper Montclair, NJ: Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, 1981.

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    A philosophical novel for middle elementary grades emphasizing reasoning about language, with a focus on logical, social, causal, and other kinds of relationships.

  • Lipman, Matthew. Harry Stottlemeier’s Discovery. 2d ed. Upper Montclair, NJ: Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, 1982a.

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    Originally published in 1974, this is the first and best-known of Lipman’s philosophical novels for children. Written for twelve year olds, it has a syllogistic reasoning base and was developed in association with the New Jersey Test of Reasoning Skills.

  • Lipman, Matthew. Kio and Gus. Upper Montclair, NJ: Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, 1982b.

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    Written for junior elementary school children, Kio and Gus concentrates on reasoning about nature.

  • Lipman, Matthew. Lisa. 2d ed. Upper Montclair, NJ: Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, 1983.

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    Designed for young adolescents, this philosophical novel focuses on reasoning about ethics.

  • Lipman, Matthew. Elfie. 2d ed. Upper Montclair, NJ: Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, 2003a.

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    Designed for use with children in their first year of school, Elfie focuses on elementary reasoning and conceptualization, particularly making distinctions and connections.

  • Lipman, Matthew. Getting Our Thoughts Together: Instruction Manual to Accompany Elfie. 2d ed. Upper Montclair, NJ: Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, 2003b.

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    The manual helps children explore their experience through such topics as friendship, respect for others, teasing, and family relationships. The exercises are devoted to basic inquiry and language skills.

  • Lipman, Matthew, and Ann Margaret Sharp. Looking for Meaning: Instruction Manual to Accompany Pixie. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1982.

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    The manual includes many topics that relate to the experience of younger children and copious exercises with a language arts focus.

  • Lipman, Matthew, and Ann Margaret Sharp. Wondering at the World: Instruction Manual to Accompany Kio and Gus. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1986.

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    The manual addresses a vast array of concepts related to nature studies and addresses thinking skills, mental acts, and verbal acts through hundreds of exercises.

  • Lipman, Matthew, Ann Margaret Sharp, and F. S. Oscanyan. Philosophical Inquiry: Instruction Manual to Accompany Harry Stottlemeier’s Discovery. 2d ed. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984.

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    The manual identifies all the leading ideas to be found in the accompanying novel and provides discussion plans and exercises for the teacher to use in order to explore them.

  • Lipman, Matthew, Ann Margaret Sharp, and F. S. Oscanyan. Ethical Inquiry: Instruction Manual to Accompany Lisa. 2d ed. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1985.

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    The manual introduces students to a wide range of topics in ethical inquiry and gives practice in applying the tools of philosophical thinking.

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