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Listening to Dialogue

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In accordance with Progressivism, Matthew Lipman, introduced an educational model for renewal and change by means of the child. With his Philosophy for Children programme he wished to offer an alternative for the intellectualistic oriented education which silenced children. The answer to the search for freedom and change, Lipman finds in the symbioses between ‘Philosophy’ and ‘Children’. Philosophy expressed in critical thinking and communication, was the basis to emancipate the child from the oppression of the adult and to cause change. According to Lipman the main purpose of philosophy is to free every individual from determination. This plea is being elaborated by dialogue. The main issue of our paper concerns the question whether Lipman’s alternative ‘Philosophy for Children’ can fulfil the promise of change and freedom. To answer this question we will investigate thoroughly where dialogue and change in Philosophy for Children stand for. Finally we will propose another perspective of dialogue. A dialogue stressed on listening. Listening to how the world appears to us and how we appear to ourselves.

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Author information

Correspondence to Nancy Vansieleghem.

Additional information

Nancy Vansieleghem is working on a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education at the Department of Education at the University of Gent, Belgium. Her main area of research is philosophy of dialogue and public space.

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Vansieleghem, N. Listening to Dialogue. Stud Philos Educ 25, 175–190 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11217-006-0008-x

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  • critical thinking
  • dialogue
  • intersubjectivity
  • Michael Bakhtin
  • philosophy for children