ArgLab • Permanent Seminar

Philosophy for Children and the practice of Reductio ad Absurdum

Dina Mendonça (IFILNOVA)

IFILNOVA’s Value Research Seminar heartily invites everyone to an online talk by Dina Mendonça (IFILNOVA).


Philosophy for Children has long been recognized as a pedagogical methodology that greatly contributes for the education of better thinking. The program fosters empathy and perspective taking in the establishment of philosophical dialogues within classrooms by creating a community of inquiry that cultivates gathering efforts to think together about a specific question of puzzle by listening to each other and by challenging each other in a safe environment in which every person has a role and an important place. This includes both thinking and thinking about the thinking process. In Thinking in Education (2003), Mathew Lipman states that a part of the methodology is to establish dialogues that follow the logical thread (Lipman 2003, 87) and praises Gilbert Ryle several pieces of writing as a guiding philosophical material to better understand what that entails and how the methodology should be fostered since “The search techniques and inquiry procedures Ryle has mentioned are among those characteristic of the community of inquiry” (Lipman 2003, 260).

The presentation will first critically present Lipmans’ description of “Thinking and Self Teaching” (Ryle), and then take up and explore Ryle’s comment in “Philosophical Arguments” (1945) that “A pattern of argument which is proper and even proprietary to philosophy is the reductio ad absurdum”, looking for ways and moments in which this can be identified in the methodology of philosophy for children.

Everybody is welcome to join!

For online participation, please use the following link.

This event is organized by Pedro Abreu and Erich Rast. The purpose of this seminar series is to give researchers a platform to discuss ongoing work and problems — open to all traditions and topics, though currently with a focus on values, evaluative language, and the nature of disagreement. For administrative inquiries, please contact Pedro Abreu or Erich Rast. More information here. If you are interested in giving a talk at the larger ArgLab Colloquium series, please contact Dima Mohammed.