Matthew Lipman – USA (August 24, 1922 – December 26, 2010)

Linked with Cours à distance ‘la philosophie pour les enfants’, and with Toward a Philosophy of Thinking. Added 14th June: and linked with the International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children ICPIC.

Matthew Lipman (born on August 24, 1922) is recognized as the founder of Philosophy for Children. His decision to bring philosophy to young people came from his experience as a professor at Columbia University, where he witnessed underdeveloped reasoning skills in his students. His interest is particularly on developing reasoning skills by teaching logic. The belief that children possess the ability to think abstractly from an early age, led him to the conviction that bringing logic to children’s education earlier would help them to improve their reasoning skills. In 1972 he left Columbia for Montclair State College to establish the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (IAPC) [1] where he began to take philosophy into K-12 classrooms in Montclair. That year he also published his first of many books specifically designed to help children practice philosophy, Harry Stottlemeier’s Discovery. A primary goal of Philosophy for children is to foster critical thinking, defined by Lipman as “thinking that (1) facilitates judgment because it (2) relies on criteria, (3) is self-correcting, and (4) is sensitive to context.” [2]He challenges educators to create a community of inquiry to this end. The IAPC continues to develop and publish curriculum, working internationally to advance and improve philosophy for children … (full text).

He says: “The students become accustomed to asking each other for reasons and opinions, to listening carefully to each other, to building on each others ideas” …

… and he writes: … Philosophy taps children?s natural curiosity and sense of wonder. It engages them in the search for meaning and enriches and extends their understanding. It strengthens thinking and reasoning skills and builds self-esteem. It helps to develop the qualities that make for good judgement in everyday life … (for both full text).


Matthew Lipman – USA

Video: Philosophy for Kids, by Matthew Lipman (6/7), 9.30 min, added: May 25, 2008.

Lipman and Sharp: Philosophy for Children (P4C) as a method of enquiry, was developed by Matthew Lipman and Ann Margaret Sharp in the late 1960’s. They both still work at the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children at Montclair State University in America. Lipman and Sharp developed specially written texts to be used in the classroom. (children thinkin<em> – link disabeled since</em>).

… Philosophy for Children is an international movement started by the American philosopher and educator Matthew Lipman in 1969 and developed with caring spirit by Ann Margaret Sharp … (full text<em> – link disabeled since</em>).

Matthew Lipman and Philosophy for Children Another important pioneer in what in the United States is termed the Critical Thinking movement, and which we talk about in the UK as the thinking skills, is the American philosopher, Matthew Lipman. Originally a university philosophy professor, Lipman was unhappy at what he saw as poor thinking in his students. He became convinced that something was wrong with the way they had been taught in school when they were younger. They seemed to have been encouraged to learn facts and to accept authoritative opinions, but not to think for themselves. He therefore left his post and founded the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children (I.A.P.C.) at Montclair State College, New Jersey. For the last forty years decades, he and his colleagues have been developing material for use in schools, aimed at helping young people (from 6 year-olds to late adolescents) to think … (full text<em> – link disabeled since</em>).

Philosophy with Children Centers Around The World, Sept. 23, 2004<em> – link disabeled since</em>.

… He recognizes that there are different views as to the function of education and schools and that there any several opposing viewpoints that express what the function should be. Some take the stance that schools are designed to make better future citizens, some contend that they should foster a sense of self-worth in a child and engage with their creativity, while still others insist that the school has been rendered almost useless because of the many conflicts that exist within the institution. In this summary of “Thinking of Education” all of these ideas will be touched upon as in the book, Matthew Lipman offered some analysis of these many aspects that are having an effect on education and deciding what its modern function should be. (full text<em> – link disabeled since</em>).

Download the google book: Philosophy in the classroom<em> – link disabeled since</em>.

He says also: (to be a philosophical teacher) means to help children think philosophically, making access to philosophical thinking easy for them. Naturally, the next question would be: what does philosophical thinking consist of? And I would say that it consists of trying to think reasonably about certain concepts that philosophers have always discussed, the nature of which is very general. Since these concepts do not belong to any specific discipline, no discipline deals with these ideas. Concepts such as truth, justice, freedom, relationship…, are not limited to specific disciplines, and, therefore, if you lead children to reflect, to analyze, to discuss and argue about general concepts, then you are leading them to think philosophically. But, immediately you could ask: What does reasonable mean? And I would say that reasonable thinking is critical and creative at the same time. However when someone is being critical or creative or both, she may not be aware she is doing this. I mean that there are a few people who are aware of their thinking processes, and who say to themselves «I am being critical», when they think critically, or «I am being creative» when they think creatively. It would be ridiculous. However, if we had to do it, we could establish the criteria that make critical thinking critical. In this way, I think that teaching this is an initiative in favor of rationality. It is not magic, as when a magician takes a rabbit from the hat. I think also that we are finding the way to do it and I am convinced that this already constitutes an essential part of education. Actually, I do not think it is possible to speak seriously about education without philosophy as a component … (full long interview<em> – link disabeled since</em>).

… Making reference to the contemporary educational scene, Lipman compares the K-12 Philosophy for Children curriculum to the many unsatisfactory solutions being offered in our current drive for educational excellence … (full text<em> – link disabeled since</em>).

And he says: “… Just as there is only one discipline called “philosophy”, so there is only one Philosophy for Children. But there are many different versions of each. For example, there are many different versions of the philosophy of science, the philosophy of psychology, the philosophy of art, and so on. Each “philosophy of” is an extensive critique of the discipline upon which it focuses. But the Philosophy for Children is not identical with Education, nor is it identical with Philosophy of Education. What is called “Philosophy for Children” represents an effort to develop philosophy so that it may function as a kind of education. It becomes education that employs philosophy to engage the mind of the child so as to try to satisfy the hunger of the child for meaning. Philosophy with children has grown up as a small offshoot of Philosophy for Children, in the sense that philosophy with children utilizes discussion of philosophical ideas, but not through specially written children’s stories. Philosophy with children aims to develop children as young philosophers. Philosophy for children aims to help children utilize philosophy so as to improve their learning of all the subjects in the curriculum … (full long interview).

How can you know the difference between what is real and appearances<em> – link disabeled since</em>?

… a textbook for teachers that demonstrates how philosophical thinking can be used in teaching children. It begins with the assumption that what is taught in schools is not (and should not be) subject matter but rather ways of thinking. The main point is that the classroom should be converted into a community of inquiry, and that one can begin doing that with children. Based on the curriculum that Matt Lipman has developed at the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, which he heads, this book describes the curriculum and explains its use. The text is self-contained, however … (full text<em> – link disabeled since</em>).

Find him and his publications on amazon; on Google inauthor-booksearch; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search.

Didaktik der Philosophie bezeichnet im engeren Sinne die Theorie von der Lehre und des Lernens von Philosophie. Didaktik der Philosophie tritt in der Regel als Fachdidaktik auf … (ganzer Text auf


Pro-Philo, Switzerland;

philosophical questions from children’s stories;

philosophy for children;

the book: Philosophy for Kids: 40 Fun Questions That Help You Wonder…about Everything;

Philosophy with children/la philo pour enfants sur wikipedia français.

The International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children ICPIC;

Filosofia para Ninos, Argentina, same in english;

the blog: Socrates satisfied;

Routledge: Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning;

the blog: mente filosofia;

Michel Sasseville:

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