SOPHIA Network Meeting 2017

Meeting 2017

Our next meeting will be held in Portugal on Monday July 3rd and Tuesday July 4th. There is still time to register to join us.

We have international speakers and workshop leaders running 12 workshops over the two days on the theme of ‘Questioning questioning.’ You can find out more about what will be going on here: Meeting 2017

SOPHIA will be holding our Meeting on Monday July 3rd and Tuesday July 4th 2017 at  Colégio D. José I in Aveiro, Portugal. There are direct flights, which take 1 hour 10 minutes from Madrid to Porto, and then an hour’s drive to Aveiro, or a train journey.

If you are staying in Portugal after the meeting then please consider going to the following conference in Porto on July 7th and 8th by the Episteme & Logos Association:

International Conference Philosophy for Children

Travel

You can travel by train from Oporto or Lisbon to Averio, for train times / shuttle bus see:

https://www.cp.pt/passageiros/en/

For more on getting around and to Aveiro see Lonely Planet:

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/portugal/aveiro

Uber operates in Portugal.

Accommodation

We recommend staying in the central district, and suggest booking through Booking.com. Alternatively you might want to try airbnb. There will be buses to get you from central Aveiro to the College.

4 stars hotels

  • Hotel As Américas
  • Hotel Aveiro Palace
  • Hotel Moliceiro
  • Melia Ria Hotel & Spa

3 stars hotels

  • Hotel Imperial
  • Hotel das Salinas
  • Hotel Afonso V

For some deals please download: Accommodation for SOPHIA

To see this years timetable and speakers visit our registration page please register or become a member of SOPHIA to stay up-to-date with travel and accommodation details.

 

Welcoming Talk Crete 2016

SOPHIA: opening remarks

SOPHIA Network Meeting 2nd of September, 2016, Rethymno

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

Welcoming address:

“Where does philosophy fit?

I’ll begin by saying: philosophy resists ‘fit’. If you look for philosophy you’ll find it where you find, among other things, aporia, confusion, difficulty, paradox. It may not ‘fit’ anywhere, but it has a role. And maybe the role is informed by its lack of ‘fit’. Philosophy is something of an unwelcome guest at a party, an awkward, difficult child in a classroom, an ugly, brutal truth at a wedding.

I prefer to talk about philosophy’s reach. In the beginning ‘philosophy’ captured all learning and included geometry, mathematics, rhetoric, cosmology, physics, metaphysics, biology and more. And though each of these subjects has become, in the classroom anyway, independent of philosophy, philosophy still secures a corner for itself in each despite attempts to shake it off. When an historian asks, ‘What exactly is an historical fact?’ or ‘What exactly is knowledge of the past?’ and ‘What is the past?’ they are asking philosophical questions. Or if a scientist asks, ‘Does the notion of ‘before time’ make sense?’ or ‘How can we represent an object such as an atom if it cannot be observed?’ and ‘Can such a representation be accurate?’ they too are asking philosophical questions. And though they may be an historian or a scientist, they are philosophising. In most if not all subjects, any student of the subject will at some point fall into a ‘philosophical hole’ that the subject has been unable to remove, fill in or cover up. So, philosophy is able to reach within all subjects though it may fit none.

And this leaves us with a question about how it’s done: should philosophy be discrete or integrated? Done in addition to everything else or done within everything else? For my part, I think there is a case for both but I don’t have time to make them here. I’ll finish with a cautionary note: my concern is that philosophy in schools is perhaps made to fit too much. By trimming it, covering its naked truth, sweetening it to better ‘fit the system’ we betray it. If we over-emphasise the collaborative aspect or its democratic allegiance, and under-emphasise its subversiveness, if we sentimentalise its power to better the world, if we reduce it to a ‘no right or wrong’ exchange of opinions, wiping away its evaluative strengths, we castrate it. We must be more careful to present philosophy to children not only as milk; philosophy sometimes has a bitter taste.

Where does philosophy fit? Perhaps its virtue lies in not fitting.”

Peter Worley, President of SOPHIA

Our resources section for 2016 will soon be filled with presentations, papers and workshops from this years presentation. You can see previous years here: SOPHIA Resources

Submit a Proposal to Host 2018 Meeting

This is the call for proposals for hosting SOPHIA Network Meeting in 2018. Deadline for proposals is noon on March 31st 2017. Host country will be selected by the Executives and will be informed at the latest by b.

The SOPHIA Network Meeting Proposal form should be completed and sent to:

President Peter Worley peter@philosophy-foundation.org

Treasurer Rob Bartels robbartels@xs4all.nl

Secretary Joos Vollebregt joosvollebregt81@gmail.com

Network Meeting Co-ordinator Emma Worley emma@philosophy-foundation.org

Proposals should follow the outline on the Proposal Form, and will be selected according to which proposal best fulfils the criteria below.

If you have any questions about the proposals or procedure, please contact emma@philosophy-foundation.org

SOPHIA Executive choose Host country/coordinator using the following criteria.

• Reliable contact (replies promptly to e-mails etc)

• Free venue

• National advertising of SOPHIA in Host country

• Should stimulate Philosophy with Children in Host country

• Should generate new members for SOPHIA

• Accessible for travel from through-out Europe

• Accommodation available near to venue

• Accommodation reasonably priced (members pay their own accommodation)

• Coffee, tea and water etc provided (not necessary to provide meals)

• Technical equipment provided (for videos power points etc.)

‘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)

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.