2016 Crete Workshops

Workshops and presentations at the Crete SOPHIA Network Meeting on 2nd and 3rd September

The Meeting will be held at XENIA, 16, Sofokli Venizelou str, 74100 Rethymno

P4C and Literature – Laure DucasseKambouris (France)

Improving the reading and interpretation of literary texts with Lipman’s P4C

PhiloZoo: P4C in the science curriculum – Eef Cornelissen & Jelle De Schrijver (Belgium)

In the workshop Eef & Jelle will demonstrate different activities illustrating their Philozoo-approach: turning the science class into a philosophical laboratory. We explore how P4C can contribute to the understanding of scientific concepts, how p4c allows to explore ethical scientific issues and how the philosophical dialogue can facilitate discussion about the nature of science.

Epictetus in the Classroom  – J Bladimir Garcia (USA)

In my presentation, I will elucidate how Epictetus’ philosophical ideas can enrich the classroom and outline its value to scholars of Philosophy for Children and educators who seek a deeper understanding of the teaching of philosophy during the pre-college years. Epictetus in the Classroom draws together aesthetic, intellectual, and moral dimensions to unleash a more holistic approach to teaching rooted in Stoic philosophy. In so doing, it calls attention to how teachers must broaden students’ understanding beyond the traditional memorization of facts, i.e., moving past knowledge into understanding. Throughout the presentation I will draw on aspects of my experience in the classroom to illuminate the educational values of Epictetus in the classroom.

Socrates in Prison – Dr Mary Bovill (Scotland)

Mary will present a project (Critical Dialogue & Community of Philosophical Inquiry) she has been running with prisoners and young offenders in Scotland.

Pandora’s Box – Andy West (England)

The Greeks didn’t just leave us a great legacy of philosophy, they gave us a canon of stories that also asks questions about the human condition. Pandora’s Box tells how there came to be evil in the world. Andy West will demonstrate a session – put together by he and his colleagues at The Philosophy Foundation – that you can use to help children wrestle with the question of evil.

Philosophy in the Greek Kindergarten – Dr Stelios Gadris (Greece)

Stelios works with 5 year olds, and sees that the current Greek curriculum for kindergarten allows for philosophical enquiry. He will demonstrate a session, share some insights from the classroom and discuss the links between the curriculum and philosophy.

From Anaximander to Einstein. In between science and philosophy looking for the wonder of discovering – Cristina Rossi (Italy)

What do philosophy and science have in common? What’s the meaning of having a scientific or philosophical approach to things? Does a scientific vision of the world date back to the Modern Age or to Ancient Greece? Starting from some examples taken by children and teenagers’ P4C sessions, we will explore some of the features of scientific thought.

The If Odyssey – Peter Worley (England)

Peter’s book, The If Odyssey, is based on Homer’s classic Odyssey and introduces children to Philosophy, by drawing out the intellectual puzzles that lie behind many of the episodes in Odysseus’ long voyage home after the Trojan Wars. Concepts explored include the value of happiness, just-war theory, non-existent entities, moral dilemmas, what is prophecy, the nature of love, free-will, heroism, personal identity, and more besides. Pete will run an interactive workshop around this book.

Poster Sessions

Rob Bartels: Teaching Teachers to Think

The Philosophy Foundation: TPF work and books

Lynda Dunlop

Nimet Kucuk, Lycee Sainte Pulcherie: Turkish Philosophy Café : Bringing philosophy into young people’s lives in Turkey

Our Timetable can be downloaded.

Please Register here to join us at the SOPHIA meeting

You can find out about Accommodation here.

Meeting Registration

Please register to attend the SOPHIA Network Meeting at the University of Crete in Rethymnon on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd September 2016.

This year we are working in partnership with the Department of Philosophy and Social Studies and the theme is:

FROM ANCIENT GREECE TO THE MODERN CURRICULUM: WHERE DOES PHILOSOPHY FIT?

To see the workshops and presentations on offer this year please visit our 2016 Crete Workshops page.

As usual we are keeping the price as low as we possibly can to make it easier for people to attend. The Network Meeting is only €15 for the two days – in order to attend you need to be or become a member for our minimum period of a year, this is €35.

For more on our membership rates visit our Join Sophia page.

Crete Accommodation

The University of Crete at Rethymnon (where we are holding the meeting) has a Guest House we can book. If you are interested in this please let Emma know (emma@philosophy-foundation.org). There are about 10 or 11 rooms, one of which has a wonderful view to the sea but is rather noisy). The bathroom facilities are very basic, but en suite and clean. Price 26 euros for a single, with breakfast. Double is around 35, I think, but rooms have only double beds (no twins)

Hotel Ideon is right next to the guest house, more luxurious, quite nice, with a swimming pool, on the waterfront but not on the part where you can swim. In the past Chloe, who is working with us from the University, has organized successful events combining the two venues, since that gave people a way to spend more time together (the guest house also has a lovely seminar room which anybody can use).

Prices for very few rooms that are left (no sea view, but this means they will be more quiet) is 67 for the single and 92 for the double, with a 10% discount, when you mention that you are coming for a University event: ideon@otenet.gr. Also this is right next to the old town, so people can hang out without having to use cars or buses. Public transportation to the University is very easy.

Prices in euros, provided you book directly with them (needless to say). https://www.facebook.com/ideonhotel/

There is also the option of the big hotels by the sea, the disadvantage there being that you have to use a car to go back and forth to the town.

Or you could try airbnb

Karel and the birth of Philosophy with Children

By Pieter Mostert

Karel after receiving his PhD in 1988

Karel after receiving his PhD in 1988

Karel and I met for the first time in September 1976. I was a master student in philosophy, he was one of the lecturers. One of his colleagues asked me whether I was interested in becoming his teaching assistant. There were hundreds of students in social science that had to be pushed through the obligatory philosophy course and he simply wasn’t motivated to do that any longer. I had been studying philosophy for five years and had slowly but gradually figured out what it was about. And coming from a teaching family I had an interested in teaching. So I got the job and decided that it might be useful to sign up for the course “teaching philosophy outside academia”, which was offered by Karel, as he was the only member of staff with experience in teaching philosophy outside the university (he taught philosophy in a professional programme for social work). I shared my plans and experiences. Karel’s feedback was always sharp and without any compromise, not very practical, but definitely helpful. It made me think better.

Study prize for best dissertation of the Erasmus Foundation (1989). Karel is on the right side, Pieter left of the middle; the man in the middle is Prince Bernhard, the father of Queen Beatrix.

Study prize for best dissertation of the Erasmus Foundation (1989). Karel is on the right side, Pieter left of the middle; the man in the middle is Prince Bernhard, the father of Queen Beatrix.

In 1978 I finished my studies and started teaching in several professional programmes: social work, nursing, library. In those years I looked around for different approaches and teaching methods. Karel and I met rarely. That changed in 1980, when I was appointed to a teaching position at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam similar to his at the University of Amsterdam. Early 1981 we sat together for an outline of a joint research project, which would lead to a PhD, which we finished in 1988. My first contribution to the research project was a literary review: what is going on in different countries, what is the dominant approach and what literature is available. It struck us how national traditions were: in the Netherlands philosophy was mainly taught in a ‘propaedeutic’ way, in Germany it was mainly devoted to reading selected texts from famous philosophers, in France it was devoted to essay writing, and so on.

Karel receiving his PhD in 1988

Karel receiving his PhD in 1988

From all we read two initiatives immediately stood out for us and caught our interest: it was the German tradition of ‘Socratic dialogue’, developed within the school of Leonard Nelson and the materials of Matthew Lipman and his IAPC, creating opportunities for children to engage with philosophical questions. Why?

First of all, it was both Karel’s and my personal experience that at university you may study philosophy and learn a lot about philosophy, but you learn very little about the doing of philosophy. Therefore teaching philosophy outside academia is mainly done through a simplified, watered down version of what is taught at university. Our favourite comparison was tea and teabags: when the philosophy programme at university is like the first cup of tea from a fresh tea bag, the programme outside university may be the third of fourth cup of tea from that same teabag: tasteless.

Both of us were struck, appalled by the tastelessness of philosophy programmes. And we were convinced that the only way to bring back the flavour is by practising the ‘doing’ of philosophy. For us, both the practice of the Socratic dialogue and P4C were encouraging and challenging attempts to practise the doing of philosophy.

But there was more. For me, by that time, doing philosophy should be practised in the questioning style of Socrates and Nietzsche, best summarized in the rule “before we start answering the question we should first enquire whether this is the real (philosophical) question”. For Karel what’s at stake in philosophy was slightly different. His main interest was in Chinese philosophy, not the popular westernized version from the seventies – few things could irritate him more than glorifications of eastern philosophy by reducing them to some westernized mish-mash – but careful reading of classical texts, with all the source books and commentaries on the table. Karel in his own medieval monastery cell – that is where philosophy is done and where it develops. The distance from here to philosophy for children may seem vast, but for him it wasn’t. At least, as long as philosophy for children is devoted to the same scrutiny of concepts and categories. More bluntly said: as long as teachers avoid the mistake which many people make when reading about Chinese philosophy, namely that they read their own concepts into it, whether it is the Chinese philosophical text or the children’s expressions of their thoughts.

Karel mastered the skill of introducing an example or comparison at the right moment and let this example do the work of convincing the listeners. One day, when we were discussing what P4C should be about, he said “Pieter, don’t you know Borges’ story about the classification of the emperor of China?”. No, I didn’t, and when I read the story later that week I knew why Karel was devoted to studying Chinese philosophy and to developing philosophy for children: It’s about categories, how arbitrary they are and how hesitant we should be in assuming that our categories are correct and universal, because they make sense to us [Borges’ story is called “Celestial emporium of benevolent knowledge”; I would say: obligatory reading!].

In 1990 Karel and I took the initiative to found a Dutch Centre for Philosophy for Children. Shortly after we were approached by a group of educational consultants, who were developing a school programme to address bullying at schools. They wanted to hear from us what philosophy can do to prevent bullying. Karel’s reply was as clear and without compromise as always: all we can do is facilitate conversations with children in which we explore the category of bullying and related categories. P4C was born and it immediately showed its stubborn identity.

In 2013 Karel gave his final SOPHIA talk at our meeting in Amsterdam on the theme of ‘Diversity’.


Karel van der Leeuw born 1940 deceased 2015. Much missed by the SOPHIA & P4C Community.

SOPHIA is holding an annual memorial prize for Karel, for details on how to enter to win €500 visit the Karel van der Leeuw Memorial Prize page of our website.

SOPHIA 2016: Crete

We are delighted to announce that our next meeting is being held at the University of Crete in partnership with the Department of Philosophy and Social Studies at the beginning of September.

The theme this year is:

From Ancient Greece to the Modern Curriculum: where does philosophy fit?

And we currently have a call for proposals open (closing date May 1st) – for more please visit our next meeting page.

As usual we are keeping the price as low as we possibly can to make it easier for people to attend. The Network Meeting is only €15 for the two days – in order to attend you need to be or become a member for our minimum period of a year, this is €35. For more on our membership rates visit our Join Sophia page.

The dates for the meeting have been agreed as Friday 2nd September and Saturday 3rd September.

See you then!

 

New Board Members

We would like to welcome Rob Bartels (Netherlands) as our new Treasurer, Joos Vollebregt (Belgium) as our new Secretary and Grace Robinson (England) as a new Board Member.

You can see our full Board and their associations on this page of our website.

 

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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Ways into Philosophy

Introduction to SOPHIA Network Meeting 2014, Zagreb Peter Worley, President

“For many, philosophy is impenetrable. It is often thought to be, among other things, dense, difficult and dry. To these detractors the idea of taking something as abstract and difficult as philosophy to children must seem absurd.

One way around this is to redefine philosophy so that it is simply no longer dense, difficult and dry. Something broad like ‘an open-ended discussion’ might be an example of this kind of re-definition.

Alternatively, one may take the so-called ‘dense, difficult and dry’ literature (in other words, the philosophical canon) as the starting point and then attempt to find ‘ways in’ to it. This is my preferred way of tackling the problem of the impenetrability of philosophy and the doing of philosophy with children.

On a personal note, providing young people with a way into philosophy is not just about a way into philosophy but also a way (for me, back) into education. Becoming interested in the problem of the nature of numbers is also becoming interested in maths; becoming interested in the philosophy of religion can lead to an interest in the philosophy of science which can (and did me) spark an interest in science.

One reason why I set up The Philosophy Foundation, and also why I am honoured to take up the presidency of SOPHIA, is because I believe philosophy has the power to bring those who find themselves at a distance from education, or at its edges, back into it. After failing school and subsequently leaving education it was through an interest in literature and through exploring religious questions that I discovered philosophy. My interest in philosophy then brought me back into education and at the age of 24 I went to university to study philosophy.”

In our resources section for members you can read Peter’s full introduction to the weekend, which includes ideas about philosophical controversy, helping a class towards the controversy and assessing progress, as well as seeing the film mentioned in this blog. His workshop on different ways into philosophy includes narrative / storytelling; experience, exercises, games, sci-fi, interactive imagination, poetry, visual, auditory and kinaesthetic sessions, children’s literature (both novels and picture books) Shakespeare, physicalisation and drama which can also be found in this paper.

Our resources section also contains papers / workshops / presentations from workshop leaders in Zagreb. Workshops in Zagreb included:

  • Andy West (England) Kinaesthetic Learners
  • Tina Marasovic (Croatia) Graffiti: Philosophizing in Art
  • Mary Bovill (Scotland) Philosophy in the Secondary Curriculum
  • Laura Blažeti? Faller (Croatia) “Blind Bat” Game
  • Milosh Jeremic (Serbia) Wandering Test
  • Grace Robinson (England) Philosophical Enquiry in Role
  • Ed Weijers (Netherlands) Structure & Dynamics
  • Ilse Daems (Belgium) Philosophy Games
  • Renate Kroschel (Germany) What is a Soul?
  • Peter Worley (England) Many Ways into Philosophy
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Peter Worley TEDx Talks

How To Be A Rebel

TEDx KCS June 2014 – click here to view on YouTube

 

Plato Not Playdoh

TEDx Goodenough College May 2014, click here to view on YouTube

 

Using Poetry for Philosophical Enquiries

By Peter Worley

When National Poetry Day and World Poetry Day come around each year I like to use poetry for all my philosophy sessions where possible. I usually write some more Thoughtings and a blog. This year I have got a little over-excited about poetry. Because I love it! So this is the second blog on poetry which follows on from my previous blog post ‘Why Poetry? Because it is like the TARDIS…’

Something similar to what follows can be found in the appendices at the back of Thoughtings together with a sample lesson plan around one particular Thoughting. The poems in that collection have been written specifically to do philosophy with, however philosophy can also be done with many other poems not written to do philosophy. With that in mind, I’ve put this together for anyone who wishes to start using poetry as a starting stimulus for doing philosophy but who lacks the confidence (or a procedure) to do so. This is only a guideline so the word to bear in mind is ‘variation’ – play around with this structure to best fit your aims, your class or group and your poem. All the poems mentioned here can be found by following the links in my previous blog ‘Why Poetry?…’

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