Philosophizing With Children. What Does It Mean to Think About Abstract Concepts?
Philosophy for/with children continues to face the suspicion that children—especially of relatively young ages—cannot philosophize because they are unable to think in abstract terms. In what follows we will try to establish that thinking abstractly should not be confused with thinking in general terms: All the concepts and ideas that pertain to philosophy and are abstract in nature, namely, beauty, friendship, justice, fairness etc. are, first of all, contestable and ambivalent; second, they endure throughout history, constantly resurfacing occupying a locus of interest—common to both, adults and children—and, finally, they seem to be already operative, embodied within children’s lives. Thus, the question that we need to pose refers to the meaning of the term ‘abstract’. We will try to establish that to think about abstract concepts it suffices to be able to acknowledge the ambivalent character of the aforementioned ideas: and being ambivalent means that there is no consensus regarding their meaning; thus, to think about abstract concepts might mean to be able to acknowledge and think from different standpoints; something akin to Kant’s sensus communis.
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