‘Can Children do Philosophy?’

Click  to watch  Can Children Do Philosophy?

Published on 29 Apr 2016, The Battle of Ideas video includes talks from Peter Worley, President of SOPHIA and Catherine C. McCall (former President of SOPHIA). Our aim: to answer the question with “Yes”.

“Philosophy is a venerable university subject, but until recently it was much less common in schools. The ‘Philosophy For Children’ (P4C) movement aims to help children even at primary school to think for themselves using a wide variety of materials to instigate questioning and inquiry. Critics of teaching philosophy in primary schools maintain that philosophy is not just a formal way of inquiry involving dilemmas, reasons, criteria and fallacies. It also has its own tradition, a long quest for truth about the human condition and more, which would-be philosophers must engage with. Supporters of P4C insist children do not need this body of knowledge to philosophise because philosophy teaches reasoning in a conceptual way. But in simplifying philosophy, could P4C be undermining the development of genuine autonomy and creativity?

The speakers are Dr Catherine McCall, director of EPIC (European Philosophical Inquiry Centre), Peter Worley, CEO and co-founder of The Philosophy Foundation, Adam Seldon, co-director of Lauriston Lights, an education charity, and Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, English teacher and PhD researcher in education at the University of Cambridge. The debate is chaired by Toby Marshall, FE lecturer in social theory and PhD researcher in sociology education at UCL Institute of Education.”

(description from The Battle of Ideas)

A Brief History of SOPHIA

A Brief History of Stichting SOPHIA from 1993 to the establishment of the SOPHIA Network 2006, by Dr Catherine McCall, former President of SOPHIA.

At the 2015 SOPHIA Network and Board Meeting in Antwerp  I noticed that new members and some older members were not aware of the history of Stichting SOPHIA prior to the establishment of the SOPHIA Network. So here is a very brief outline of the foundation from 1993 when SOPHIA was composed of the Board of the Stichting (Foundation)  to 2006 when the SOPHIA Network was established by adding Regulations to the constitution. (This is written from memory so may need some corrections).

1993 Stichting SOPHIA established by Karel van der Leeuw registered at the University of Amsterdam

  • President –  Eulalia Bosch , Grup IREF (Barcelona, Catalonia)
  • Secretary  – Karel van der Leeuw, Dean of Philosophy University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
  • Treasurer – Robert Pilat, Polish Academy of Sciences (Warsaw, Poland)

1994 First Meeting of the Board of Stichting SOPHIA in the University of Amsterdam.

  • Berrie Heesen added as Adviser to the Board
  • In order to allow Roger Sutcliff and Karin Murris to join SOPHIA, Catherine McCall suggests splitting the UK into 3 nations – Scotland, England and Wales. Board decides to count nations rather than states in SOPHIA allows e.g. both Catalonia and Spain

1995 Second Meeting of the Board of Stichting SOPHIA in the University of Amsterdam

  • Karel van der Leeuw became both Secretary and Treasurer
  • Project 100 begun
  • PECA Project begun

1996 Third Meeting of the Board of Stichting SOPHIA in Glasgow University, Scotland

1998 Fourth Meeting of the Board of Stichting SOPHIA  in the Catholic University of Lisbon, Portugal

2004 (March) Fifth Meeting of the Board of Stichting SOPHIA at the University of Graz, Austria

  • Karel van der Leeuw informs the Board of resignation as Secretary and Treasurer
  • Roger Sutcliff, Chair of SAPERE, England  Acting  Secretary (March); Radmila Sutton becomes Secretary (June)
  • Karel van der Leeuw becomes the first Honorary Board member and continues as SOPHIA bank account holder

2004 (November) Sixth Meeting of the Board of Stichting SOPHIA at Oxford Brookes University, England

  • Eulalia Bosch becomes the second and Roger Sutcliff becomes the third Honorary Board members
  • Menon and Almatheia project proposals begun
  • Decision made to change basis of SOPHIA from one Board member per nation (28 Board members) to smaller Board of 11
  • Decision made to change basis of SOPHIA from one Board member per nation to a Network of individual members through which the new Board of  SOPHIA will fulfill its aims and objectives
  • Decision made to change annual membership fee of SOPHIA from 120 Euros to 20 euros
  • Ed Weijers , Radmila Sutton and Catherine McCall to investigate legal constitutional method of creating a SOPHIA Network

2005 Seventh Meeting of the Board of  Stichting SOPHIA in … Hotel , St Paul’s Bay, Malta

….  Ed Weijers ratified as Treasurer (?)

2006 (Jan) Eighth Extraordinary Meeting of the Board of  Stichting SOPHIA in the Philosophy Hotel, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

  • 17 SOPHIA Board members resign
  • SOPHIA Board votes in the new Regulations to create the SOPHIA Network

2006 (May) Ninth Meeting of the Board of  Stichting SOPHIA and First Meeting of the SOPHIA Network in Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland.

  • Board draws up a Resignation Schedule for SOPHIA Board members to stand down after 4 years service such as all Board members do not resign at once
  • Decision made to hold a SOPHIA Network Meeting every year
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