SOPHIA Network Meeting 2017

Meeting 2017

Our next meeting will be held in Portugal on Monday July 3rd and Tuesday July 4th.

Our Meeting in 2017 will be held directly after the 18th bi-annual ICPIC Conference. The theme for the ICPIC Conference is Family Resemblances and it will be held in Madrid from June 28th to July 1st 2017. You can find out more about the Conference on the website: ICPIC Conference Website.

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 hours drive to Aveiro, or a train journey.

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. 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

We are currently trying to make arrangements with one of these hotels for a discount – we will be emailing all registered people with the details once they have been confirmed. So please register or become a member of SOPHIA to stay up-to-date.

To see this years timetable and speakers visit our registration page.

 

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

A Decade of European Thought

by Goedele De Swaef

As coordinator of the European Socrates-Comenius TAXI project (School Development Project forthe Advancement of Philosophy with Children) I think it would be interesting to present the history of our European Projects, viz. Thought Castle (1995-1998), the 100 Journal (1998-2001) and Taxi (2001-2004) and of course the history of the 100 Journal itself (i.e. the European Philosophy Journal of Children), a journal that was published during all those years.

  1. Sophia

In 1992, in Barcelona, people from different European Centres of Philosophy with Children set up SOPHIA, a European Foundation for Philosophical Inquiry with Children. This foundation was formally registered in Amsterdam in 1993, where it was connected to the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Amsterdam.

SOPHIA was set up to establish a network within Europe of organizations and persons committed to the implementation of philosophising inside educational institutes. Most of these centres started translating one or more of Lipman’s stories and manuals.

The 100-journal was meant to be one of the first concrete projects of SOPHIA, but it became an independent project called Thought Castle sponsored by the Socrates-Comenius action 1 for primary education.

  1. Socrates-Comenius

Socrates is a European programme for education. Its aim is to promote the European dimension and to improve the quality of education by encouraging cooperation between the participating countries.

The programme sets out to develop a Europe of knowledge and thus to better cater for the major challenges of this new century: to promote lifelong learning, to encourage access to education for everyone, to acquire qualifications and recognised skills.

The overall objectives of Comenius (one of the actions of Socrates) are to enhance the quality and reinforce the European dimension of school education, in particular by encouraging transnational cooperation between schools, by contributing to the improved professional development of staff directly involved in the school education sector, and by promoting the learning of languages and intercultural awareness.

Comenius seeks to help those learning and teaching in schools, to develop a sense of belonging to a broader and outward-looking European community – a community characterised by diverse traditions, cultures and regional identities, but nevertheless rooted in a common history of European development.

Comenius contributes to enhancing the quality of school education and to reinforcing its European dimension by:

  • promoting trans-national cooperation and exchanges between schools and teacher training programmes/institutions;
  • encouraging innovation in pedagogical methods and materials;
  • promoting the trans-national dissemination of “good practice” and innovation in school management;
  • developing and disseminating methods for combating educational exclusion and school failure, for promoting the integration of pupils with special educational needs, and for promoting equal opportunities in all sectors of education;
  • promoting the use of information and communication technology in school education and in the training of staff working in this sector.
  1. The 100 Journal

 The idea for a journal was born at the Sophia meeting in Barcelona. Berrie Heesen from the Dutch Centre of Philosophy with Children came up with the idea of a journal for children philosophising, as a continuation of a journal that once existed in Poland, i.e. the Little Review.

During the twenties this was a journal for children that was set up by Janusz Korczak, who was a Polish pedagogue and director of an orphanage in Warsaw, Poland. The journal, the Little Review, had an editorial board with children aged between 8 and 14. Children from all over Poland every month travelled by train to Warsaw (sometimes more than 500 km) to meet with the editorial board of the Little Review, which would appear every Friday as a supplement to a daily Jewish newsletter called Our Review.

The name ‘100’ was chosen because a number can function as a logo in the different languages. It was complicated to find a word, even a new word, that was acceptable in all these languages, so finally a number was chosen as title. Numbers are, at least in Europe, all written the same but pronounced differently. This seemed to be a good combination of what Europe is: unity in diversity. Of course, children are aware of the great quantity of numbers that exist, so why specifically the number 100? The explanation of the title was printed on the cover of the first issue:

“There is a beautiful story why this journal is called 100. The story is about a man who lived in Poland before World War Two. His name is Janusz Korczak.

Korczak was director of an orphanage in Poland. He was also editor and organizer of a weekly Polish journal for children with a real children’s editorial board. Korczak was convinced that children were not enough respected and appreciated. He was convinced they were not taken seriously. He did not like this. Therefore he started a children’s journal with writings of children themselves. There was a boy called Alexander Ramati, nine yers old, who travelled several times a year a few hundred kilometres by train to be present at the children’s editorial meetings.

But why number 100?

It’s like this. In the orphanage of Korczak existed a tribunal that had to judge about all the problems among children. This tribunal existed of five child judges who were chosen every month by all the children of the orphanage. Korczak said: ‘This tribunal is not justice, but it strives for justice.’ Everybody who thought he or she was treated unfair was able to lay down a charge. And about the judges said Korczak: ‘Judges can make mistakes. They may punish for acts they themselves are guilty of. But it is shameful if a judge consciously hands down an unjust verdict.’ The tribunal just pronounced an article from a list of a thousand articles. The first article said: ‘Charge is withdrawn.’ Article 100 was the dividing line between forgiveness and censure. Article 100 said: ‘Without granting pardon, the court states that you committed the act with which you are charged.’ Children charged even Korczak himself. The worst punishment Korzak ever got from this tribunal was article 100. To keep this story alive of a man who organized a children’s tribunal and a children’s journal, this journal is called: 100. It is a European Doing Philosophy With Children journal.

To download Goedele’s full paper on Ten Years of European Thought go to our Resources page.

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