Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Vansieleghem, Nancy (2011). Philosophy with Children as an Exercise in Parrhesia: An Account of a Philosophical Experiment with Children in Cambodia. Journal of philosophy of education, 45 (2), p. 321-37.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9752.2011.00803.x

Abstract
The last few decades have seen a steady growth of interest in doing philosophy with children and young people in educational settings. Philosophy with children is increasingly offered as a solution to the problems associated with what is seen by many as a disoriented, cynical, indifferent and individualistic society. It represents for its practitioners a powerful vehicle that teaches children and young people how to think about particular problems in society through the use of interpretive schemes and procedures especially designed for this. It typically conceives of truth-telling as the work of dialogical reasoning, which is understood in turn as leading to increasing awareness of mental and methodological processes. This article starts from another point of view. What is at stake, I shall argue, is not so much the question of how to think for oneself in an appropriate way. Rather, in line with Michel Foucault, I want to identify philosophy as a practice oriented by the care of the self and of transformation of the self by the self. From this angle, philosophy with children will not be understood as something that orients us towards valid knowledge claims, but as an act of becoming present in the present. This way of conceiving of philosophy with children will be explored in the context of a concrete philosophical experiment with children that I planned and carried out in Cambodia.

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