Philosophy And The Young Child / Edition 1

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Overview

Philosophy and the Young Child presents striking evidence that young children naturally engage in a brand of thought that is genuinely philosophical. In a series of exquisite examples that could only have been gathered by a professional philosopher with an extraordinary respect for young minds, Gareth Matthews demonstrates that children have a capacity for puzzlement and mental play that leads them to tackle many of the classic problems of knowledge, value and existence that have traditionally formed the core of philosophical thought. Matthews' anecdotes reveal children reasoning about these problems in a way that must be taken seriously by anyone who wants to understand how children think.

Philosophy and the Young Child provides a powerful antidote to the widespread tendency to underestimate children's mental ability and patronize their natural curiosity. As Matthews shows, even child psychologists as insightful as Piaget have failed to grasp the subtlety of children's philosophical frame of mind. Only in children's literature does Matthews find any sensitivity to children's natural philosophizing. Old favorites like Winnie the Pooh, the Oz books, and The Bear That Wasn't are full of philosophical puzzlers that amuse and engage children. More important, these stories manage to strip away the mental defensiveness and conventionality that so often prevent adults from appreciating the way children begin to think about the world.

Gareth Matthews believes that adults have much to gain if they can learn to "do philosophy" with children, and his book is a rich source of useful suggestions for parents, teachers, students and anyone else who might like to try.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement

This is a truly delightful little book, to be savoured by anyone with an interest in either philosophy or children. Clearly, precisely, entertainingly, Gareth Matthews reminds us of some simple, important, yet half-forgotten truths about them both.
— Don Locke

Times Literary Supplement - Don Locke
This is a truly delightful little book, to be savoured by anyone with an interest in either philosophy or children. Clearly, precisely, entertainingly, Gareth Matthews reminds us of some simple, important, yet half-forgotten truths about them both.
Professor Matthew Lipman
What a unique and remarkable achievement! Gareth Matthews, an exceptionally able philosopher, has somehow managed to attune himself to the philosophical wave-lengths of children's conversations. He is marvelously sensitive to the metaphysical and epistemological implications of children's remarks, and is equally adept at showing us how children wonder at the enigmas of existence...Matthews amply documents his case by citations of children's own conversations. It is a delight to find such a splendid book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674666061
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 12/12/1980
  • Series: Harvard Paperbacks Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 130
  • Product dimensions: 0.30 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 8.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Gareth B. Matthews is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
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Table of Contents

1. Puzzlement

2. Play

3. Reasoning

4. Piaget

5. Stories

6. Fantasy

7. Anxiety

8. Naiveté

9. Dialogues

Notes

Index

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