kids and philosophy

How should kids be taught about philosophy?

Kids and philosophy have really amazing connections as they perceive anything purely more than anybody else. Apparently, it seems that kids and philosophy have no connection but honestly, it’s not correct since kids have a different level of knowledge. Sometimes some of the kids will really amaze you with their truly intelligent thoughts.

Actually, it depends on the age and curiosities of the child.

I have seen that fairly young children (say, age 4 to 9) have interesting thoughts about the sort of topics that philosophy was traditionally concerned with such as ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. But you have to ask sincerely and work with their answers on an age-appropriate level.

You can accomplish that by doing quite a bit of teaching, but not by lecturing. That will either perplex the kids or turn them off. Instead, explain their ideas.

I’ve had brilliant conversations with kids under ten about:

  • Whether God exists and how you can tell
  • What good and bad behavior are and why you should be good.
  • Why anything exists
  • Why we can be surer of some things than others

With older kids (high school age) you can try a much more traditional approach, but it still might turn kids off. I think lecturing is a poor way to teach philosophy unless the person is already interested. So, in college, where philosophy is an elective, you’re likely to get students who want to study these issues. But with other people, a discussion is much better. A seminar could work.

Unfortunately, our schools are not set up for that.

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