Education and Philosophy Seminar Series: Which Truth for Philosophy with Children?

The “Eduction and Philosophy Seminar Series” is organized by Ansgar Allen and Centre co-director Joshua Forstenzer. In the next event of the series, Sebastiano Moruzzi and Luca Zanetti (University of Bologna) talk about questions of truth in relation to philosophy with children.

The event will take place on Thursday the 30th of May 2019 from 2pm-3.30pm, and will be held at the Humanities Research Institute Seminar Room, Upper Hanover Street at the University of Sheffield.

This is the full abstract of the presentation:
This paper argues for two theses: first, the quest for truth is an inescapable aim of inquiry, and as such it is a constitutive aim of philosophical inquiry with children; second, the inescapability of the quest for truth poses some constraints on the theory of truth and knowledge that should be put at the background of the practice of philosophical inquiry with children. In the first part of the paper, we argue that inquiry constitutively aims at truth. Inquiry is the process of asking questions and answering them in the form of judgment. To ask a question is to aim at receiving a true answer, and to judge is to take the content judged as true. In this minimal sense, to inquire is to seek for the truth. The aim of truth is also dialectically inescapable (Ferrero 2009) because any judgment and doubt about inquiry and our capacity for truth and knowledge would be a move within inquiry. The inescapability of truth allows us to argue against those who take philosophical inquiry with children as not aimed at discovering the truth and supports those (e.g., Gardner 1995) who contend that truth as the aim of belief is at the centre of philosophical inquiry with children. In the second part of the paper we focus on the following question: does the inescapability of truth pose any constraint on the theory of truth and knowledge that should support and orient one’s philosophical inquiry with children? Lipmanian P4C is defended and vindicated within a broadly pragmatist framework. Some (e.g., Bleazby 2011) have recently argued that only a pragmatist conception of truth (and knowledge) can make sense of P4C. We argue against this fairly widespread view. First, we argue that the intelligibility and point of the practice is compatible with several accounts of truth and knowledge. Second, we argue that some accounts of truth and knowledge are incompatible with the inescapability of truth. Third, we argue that some motivations for weakening the realist and objectivist features of truth and knowledge can be captured by endorsing a pluralist account of truth and knowledge which countenances the differences between, say, empirical truths and moral truths without downplaying the role of truth across all domains of discourse. A pragmatist view of truth and knowledge is therefore not necessary in order to vindicate philosophical inquiry with children.