Philosophy for children and the reconstruction of philosophy

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In this paper I trace the dialogical and narrative dimensions of the philosophical tradition and explore how they are reconfigured in the notion of community of philosophical inquiry (CPI), the mainstay of the collection of novels and discussion plans known as Philosophy for Children. After considering the ontology and epistemology of dialogue, I argue that narrative has replaced exposition in our understanding of philosophical discourse and that CPI represents a narrative context in which truth comes to represent the best story, in a discursive location in which there are always multiple stories. Finally, I raise the issue of children's philosophical voice. Can children philosophize, and if they can, do they do so in a voice different from adults'? If so, what are the distinctive features of that voice? I assert that it is children's historical marginalization in the Western construction of rationality that now - as that rationality undergoes its crisis -makes of them, like women and other "natives," privileged strangers to the tradition, who are, through CPI, enabled to enter it through dialogue and narrative.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-359
Number of pages22
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Community of inquiry
  • Dialogue
  • Narrative
  • Philosophy for children


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