"Childhood and Democracy – New Philosophical Challenges"


October 20 - 23, 2011 in Graz/Austria




What Life Style for a Creative Democracy?
Antonio Cosentino (Neapel/IT)

When democracy is conceived as a “way of life” (Dewey) it becomes particularly relevant from an educational point of view. Given this assumption, what needs to be further explored is the  question about the kind of life style we evaluate as democratically shaped. To the extent that the concept of democracy we are referring to is substantial and not formal, the style that has to be assumed includes a necessary reflective commitment to an inquiry on “what” democracy might be, i. e., an essential ethical concern.
In any case, to say “democratic way of life” means a set of behaviors that expect to be specifically named. In this paper I’ll try to start the list:

  1. The sense of community is a precondition for an active participation in a democratic society (Sharp). Here we need to rethink the sociological construct of community: no more as a potential aggregation of individuals (the modern idea of society), but as an ontological condition of human beings (Esposito, Nancy);
  2. The reflective attitude and the dialogical communication making democracy the unique place for critical thinking and for the creation of new values. When in Athens Sophists and Socrates began to criticize the tradition, they desacralized the power and its origins and, so doing, they firstly made available political affairs to the rational inquiry (Castoriadis, Lipman);
  3. A theory of knowledge according to which truth appears not as an unquestionable revelation, but a free play of negotiation between different beliefs (Peirce, Dewey). A strong relation is very likely to be found between theories of knowledge and political conceptions. According to Plato, for example, philosopher is the only one entitled to rule the polis just because he is the owner of the ultimate truth. On the contrary, democracy is related with a weaker concept of truth and with a more contextualistic/constructivistic interpretation of knowledge development.
  4. The reconstruction of the “public” as the right place for a practice of freedom (Arendt; Freire; Foucault). The modern world has lost the ancient concept of public arena. What we mean by “public” actually is – according to Arendt – something like a “private” socially shared, where dynamics are mainly governed by economic interests.
  5. Philosophical dialogue as social practice, that means a significant and widespread commitment to a common inquiry about the tacit premises, the unconscious frames and the customary attitudes that steer our daily experience. Philosophical practice, thus, as walking from his/her own center towards the borders of the “cave” where each one has been thrown.

Being democracy a practice and not a mere theory, it can be learnt only by practice, that is actively participating in a democratic context, the one that schools should provide for all students.

Empowering Children - the Community of Inquiry as a Pluralistic Form of Life
Daniela G. Camhy (Graz/A)

One goal of education for democracy is the achievement that citizens will be competent to participate in democratic societies.  But what does this mean? According to Hannah Arendt, we are not born as democrats. So what can we do? How can we educate those who will become the adults of tomorrow?
In Hannah Arendt´s view one aim of education is the cultivation of the future action of young people. It is the most important goal of education `to build children to participate in society´. So education should help them to become familiar with the world and make them feel secure, and prepare them to a life of action so that they get involved in the world and  that they get the chance to be creative and attempt something new. That leads to a consideration of children´s right to develop personal opinions and to be assisted in this process through enabling them to deliberate and to think critically, creatively and caring. So we have to help young people to articulate and support their own views and to develop their capacity for self-awareness and self-development as well as developing their dispositions of self correction. To become active members of democratic societies it is not enough to expose children to the basic concepts and competences of democracy, what is crucial are an education that develops in young people a sufficient degree of social understanding and judgment.Transforming the traditional classroom into a community of philosophical inquiry is a democratic process, where children learn to inquire together about common problematic issues. Children learn to exercise their capacity of decision making and critical thinking aims to help them to make better judgements, by becoming conscious of criteria and paying attention to the context.

“We need to reconstruct education in such a way that children learn how to make more considered judgements, judgements that will work toward, in Hannah Arendt’s words, a creation of a better common world.”

A Liberation of the Children’s Mind
Nicole Decostre (Nymi/B)

The quality of education constitutes the best prevention. It is essential to strike at the root of the problem. One of the fundamental dangers is the spirit of absolute, be it under the form of desire, of ideology, of system.
Absolute is a defect of the human mind that should be eradicated at the prime age.  It constitutes the ground of the religious fanaticism as well as of the political intolerance. It is part of all forms of dictatorship, among which xenophobia. The reason why it is strong and much expanded is that it is rooted in personal or tribal vanity as well as in the submission to authority.
The other is necessarily wrong or bad. It is much more simple and comforting to support a strong conviction than to accept relativity, complexity and challenge of the values and of the social life.
By the Philosophical Community of Inquiry as well as the subtlety and the diversity of the exercises proposed in his manuals, Matthew LIPMAN’s program (P4C) courageously and perseveringly counters that dangerous laziness of the mind.

Translating Democracy into Practice - Exercising Plural Reasonability as a Means to Enhance Democratic "Capabilities" in Children
Isabelle Jespers (Brussels/B)

 If the view that democracy is something which has to be experienced rather than taught is generally well-accepted, it is still a difficult challenge, as well for adults as for children, to take a critical distance from their own prejudices and beliefs. Matthew Lipman's approach which focuses more on the process of becoming a citizen rather than on a fixed definition of what a good citizen is or should be, offers interesting material to experience democratic pluralism directly in the classroom. Also P4C books and manuals and some short philosophical stories from different cultural horizons are especially well-designed to stimulate argumentation, inquiry and the search of reasonability. They offer concrete examples of alternative reasoning and of how thinking and acting together can occur when one is trained to look things from a different perspective. It is this active pluralism, which is not to be confused with relativism, which contributes to create a common concept of global and cosmopolitan citizenship. However how can we conciliate the democratic ideal of impartiality with the need to take the needs of the more deprived into consideration? Is it possible? How can children acquire the capacity to postpone their own personal satisfaction and to listen to others, in other words to get acquainted with a democratic way of thinking that takes into account different needs and aspirations which can sometimes be contrasting or conflicting? And also how can Philosophy for Children help to develop cognitive, social and creative "capabilities" in children and prepare their future emancipation?

A High Impact Approach to a Philosophical-political Experiment in an Italian Middle School
Vincenzo Filetti (Catania/IT)

Last spring I conducted a philosophical-political experiment in a middle school in cooperation with the local public library. Thanks to previous experiences in adult coaching and philosophy for children, I introduced philosophical coaching in a huge classroom setting having 50 students, a number representing a nightmare for teachers using traditional methodology. Almost 6 teachers were my assistant in helping children in following my rules and suggestion. Why philosophical coaching: because managing 50 students for 1 hour and a half required pure coaching skills and an high emotional impact in order to reach the goal, following specific rules and behave in democratic ways. The meta-goal was to show how a democratic society allows a better life to its citizen. The official goal was to build an ideal state in which every member of the team should have a precise political role. Moreover, the task included designing seven laws allowing to rule the micro state. Therefore, I organized ten groups of five kids and I gave them precise instructions video recorded by the local public library manager. The final outcome shown how is strong the impact of this activity able to raise motivation of the kids in an impressive way. The activity was the best way to emphasize the democratic approach applied by some of the students in building a society where everybody can express their ideas and beliefs.

Educating for Democracy, Educating in Democracy
Félix García Moriyón (Madrid/ES)

The basic question this Conference asks is: “When democratic principles should be applied to foster the autonomous development of children in an optimal way? How do children and young people learn to live in a democracy?”
“Democracy” is a common and basic concept that needs some clarification before moving forward to a concrete proposal of educating young people for democracy. We approach that concept in two different areas: democracy as a way of life than should be present in any domain of our everyday life; democracy as a way of living together, that involves the procedures we agree with and includes a participatory and a deliberative ingredients.
In order to foster in children a democratic way of life and the competences they need to become active members of democratic societies, it is necessary to move from an education for democracy to an education in democracy. It is not enough to expose young people to the basic concepts, and competences, of democracy, as it is usual in most curricula of democratic education. You also need to create an educational environment in which children live democratically.
That involves at least to radical transformation of the educational settings. First, we need to transform class rooms into communities of philosophical inquiry; then we have to transform the whole school into a democratic school, ruled by democratic procedures and open to participation and deliberation of all the members of the school: students, teachers, staff and workforce services.

Philosophical Inquiry and the Cultivation of Civic Friendship
Jen Glaser (Jerusalem/IL)

The central focus of this paper concerns the conditions for deliberation in a multicultural democratic society and their educational implications.

The first half of this paper articulates four conditions (norms, dispositions, habits) that need to be met in order that members of  a multicultural society are able to deliberate together around questions concerning the common good – including being able to engage in discussion of the common good with others with whom they fundamentally disagree. These are conditions of (i) trust, (ii) communicability (iii) care, and (iv) respect.  Here it becomes important to clarify how we might best understand these conditions as they relate to establishing the social and discursive conditions of a multicultural deliberative democracy (exactly what kind of trust, care, etc., is needed).

In the second half of the paper I will suggest that these four conditions come together in the notion of civic friendship, and that multicultural democracies will be well served if they take civic friendship as a guiding educational and social ideal. I will then go on to relate the development of these conditions to the practices (philosophical and pedagogical) within a philosophical community of inquiry. I will suggest that the introduction of Philosophy for Children into schools, and with it, the cultivation of Philosophical Communities of Inquiry in classrooms, provides educators with an ideal framework for cultivating civic friendship. Through such practice we there by empower children to become active deliberative citizens of the democratic societies in which they live.

Zur Multifunktionalität von Einfachheit und Komplexität als Gestaltungsprinzipien
Johann Götschl (Graz/A)

Auch wenn Kindheit als spezifische soziale Kategorie noch nicht hinreichend bestimmbar ist, so zeigen sich im digital-globalen Zeitalter wichtige Facetten, wonach sich „Kindheit“ innerhalb des Generationenkontextes neu positioniert. Vier signifikante Kategorien – Kognition, Emotion, Sozialisation und Kommunikation – sind es, mittels derer sich die Bedeutung von „Einfachheit und Komplexität als Gestaltungsprinzipien“ für unser Verständnis von Kindheit verbessert. Die Relationen zwischen Einfachheit und Komplexität weisen darauf hin, dass Wissensproduktion und Wissensreduktion bzw. Erkennen und Humanisieren zentrale Voraussetzungen dafür sind, um ein vertieftes Denken im Sinne einer „qualitativen Demokratie“ in die Kategorie „Kindheit“ zu implementieren.

Using Picture Books to Do Philosophical Discussion with Children to Enhance Multicultural Education
Huiya Huang (I-Ian/TW)

Taiwan’s need to foster multicultural education is as imperative as other countries because of her vast immigration. Most of the multicultural educational programs in Taiwan are made to help the new immigrants to adapt and to integrate with the new nation. This policy, assimilation approach, tends to help assimilate ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. Under the shadow of Sino-centrism and the predominant respect, the second generation of the new immigrants seems disadvantaged while building up their self-identity among the majority and in the “superior” culture. If the dominant culture remains the only sublime position, it might blindfold children from seeing others’ cultures; or, reversely, it might silence children from making their own voice.
The essay assumes that prejudice is caused by the fallacy of judgment making. When the fallacy of thinking is clarified, the inappropriate believes and attitudes would be (and could be) corrected. Philosophical discussion about how we are all the same as well as how we are different can lead to a clearer concept of human relationships.
Philosophical discussion can help empower children with their self-identity as well as self-esteem. The clearer the concept is, the easier to for the children to build up relationship of love, harmony, and integration with others.
In this essay, I will use the picture books of The Sneetches, Elmer, and Stellaluna, as the means to illustrate the possibility of using picture books to do philosophical discussion with children on multiculturalism. In these books, disadvantaged children (or animals) show their agony of prejudice and discrimination from out-groups and their efforts, better or worse, to find shared qualities in differing groups of people. The resolutions like de-stereotyping, and offering a criterion in judgment implied in the stories will be explicitly explained and discussed. Some of excises designed by Matthew Lipman are extended here.
Multicultural education cannot depend on preaching; instead, through the process of philosophical inquiry children can get a rational concept and correct intergroup attitude and therefore lead a harmonious live with their society.

Wer ist die beste Bürgerin? Wer ist der beste Bürger?
Herausforderungen der Demokratie- und Bürgererziehung in Bulgarien
Evelina Ivanova-Vardzhiyska (Sofia/BG)

Dieser Vortrag berichtet über die Erfahrungen und Herausforderungen der Bürgererziehung in Bulgarien in den letzten fünf Jahren.
Das globale Ziel der Bürgererziehung ist die Entwicklung einer autonomen Persönlichkeit zu unterstützen, die vorbereitet und motiviert ist, sich am Leben der Gesellschaft zu beteiligen. Die Bürgererziehung an der Schule sollte das Erwerben der dazu notwendigen Kenntnisse, Fertigkeiten, Einstellungen und Kompetenzen ermöglichen.

Durch Analyse und Evaluation bisheriger Erfahrungen lassen sich einige problematische Spannungen aufzeigen, die im Vortrag näher untersucht werden:

  • die Spannung zwischen modernem Inhalt und „altmodischer“ Methode - Diese entsteht dadurch, dass viele Lehrer keine Ahnung von einer Community of Inquiry haben oder diese Arbeitsweise nicht anwenden können oder wollen.
  • die Spannung zwischen nationale und übernationale Identität – Latente oder ausgeprägte nationalistische Einstellungen von Lehrern oder Schülern kollidieren mit den demokratischen Zielsetzungen im Sinne von europäischer Bürgerschaft bzw. Identität.
  • die Spannung zwischen individueller Leistung und Interesse der Gemeinschaft – Seit fünf Jahren findet in Bulgarien die Olympiade in Bürgerschaftserziehung statt. Diese ist eine Möglichkeit für die Schüler, Probleme in ihrem Umfeld frei aufzudecken, zu analysieren und Ideen zu ihrer Überwindung zu entwickeln. Es gibt keine inhaltlichen Vorschriften außer die ganz allgemeinen Richtlinien für die Bürgererziehung generell. Vorgeschrieben ist nur die Form – die Schüler entwickeln und präsentieren Projekte mit unterschiedlichem Schwierigkeitsgrad für die jeweiligen Altersstufen. Trotz positiver Erfahrungen und Motivationseffekte auf Schüler und Lehrer, führt das Wettbewerbscharakter dieser Veranstaltung oft dazu, dass die Aufmerksamkeit eher darauf gerichtet ist, wer gewinnt und wer "verliert", anstatt dass man stärker die Gemeinsamkeiten betont und die Gemeinschaft unter den Teilnehmern fördert.

Die kritische Analyse wird mit Daten aus empirischen Untersuchungen untermauert. Das Model der Forschergemeinschaft als genuin demokratische Praxis gemeinsamer Konstruktion von Wissen und Bedeutung wird als eine Möglichkeit hervorgehoben, Bürgererziehung effektiver zu gestalten.

The Democratic Education: Opportunities and Limitations
Arie Kizel (Haifa/IL)

The Democratic Education is one of the most challenging systems for the Nation cantered education. Israel has dozens of democratic schools and they are a good example of an alternative democratic system.
This system offers a vivid democratic organization that teaches and practices children, at the same time, how to live in a democratic state and how to implement those values during learning and living in school.
The Democratic Education engages with three main general areas: 1) Democratic processes, classroom/school governance and civic education. 2) Freedom to choose and learning without compulsion. 3) Aspects that emphasize self-actualization, human rights and environmental awareness.
Although the Democratic Education poses significant challenges it is also very controversial because of questions like children as independent personalities, ability to solve problems at an early age and the ability to be self-critical in a post-modern era.
The lecture will describe the principles of the Democratic Education system from a critical point of view and will offer a new perspective to the subject of the relevance of an open Democratic Education system today.

Relativism and Philosophy in the Classroom
Stephen Law (London/UK)

What is relativism? What is the difference between relativism and pluralism? Is there any truth to relativism? Why are people drawn to it? Does philosophy in the classroom require or involve the view that truth is relative, or that there are “no right answers” in philosophy? Is to say that individuals should make their own judgments, and avoid being dogmatic, to say that they should embrace relativism? Stephen Law will be exploring these and related questions.
Stephen Law is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London, and editor of THINK, Philosophy For Everyone, a journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy. He is the author of several children’s philosophy books, including The Philosophy Files, has written several popular introductions to philosophy including The Philosophy Gym, and is the author of a book on moral and religious education called The War For Children’s Minds.

No Baby Talk: Childhood in a Truly Egalitarian Society
Helmut Lukas (Wien/A)

The topic of this symposium "Childhood and Democracy" will be approached from the angle of social anthropology. What is special in the approach taken here is the cross-cultural perspective. Anthropological evidence shows that just as age is differentially defined and employed in different societies, so the types of age differentiation, the concepts of childhood, the treatment and socialization of children, the relations between age groups etc. are highly variable. It was mainly anthropologists who recognized children and youth as a cultural category, interesting in its own right.
Instead of using the “multivalent” term democracy, the speaker will confine himself to the observable (un)democratic procedures and attitudes governing the relations between the age groups (e.g.: To what extent the society provides the possibility of a “domination-free discussion”? To which extent children can participate in decision making, etc.).
The subject “Childhood and Democracy” will be investigated by means of societies very different from our own. The connection between the childhood pattern and democracy will be demonstrated by ethnographic examples from the Malay Peninsula (Siwang, Semai, Temiar, Maniq-Semang).
All these societies are characterized by the following features: communal property distribution, egalitarian social structure, egalitarian sharing etiquette, gender as well as intergenerational equality (no baby talk!), emphasis on individual autonomy, absence of a dominant-subordinate relationship between parent and child, egalitarian decision making, permissive socialization of children.
The speaker believes that there is a causal relation between the socio-cultural organization and the economic structure on the one hand and the specific pattern of childhood as well as the particularly democratic practices and attitudes on the other hand.

What does it Mean to Educate People to “Respect” the Rights of Others?
Fulvio Cesare Manara (Bergamo/IT)

What does it mean to educate people to “respect” the rights of others? Is the philosophical CoI (Community of Inquiry) a setting and a context in which Human Rights Education can be implemented? These are the fundamental questions that in my paper I intend to deal with. Of course, these topics are also connected with many other questions regarding social and personal empowerment in CoI settings, and about the concrete exercise of citizenship in social context. We usually affirm the basic importance of Human rights in those matter of citizenship, but very often this issue do remain a simply theoretic assumption or premise. So, it seems that’s it’s time to try to explore this questions more deeply.

Utopien und Dystopien - Narrationen der Zukunftsvorstellungen von deutschen Jugendlichen
Eva Marsal und Takara Dobashi (Karlsruhe/D und Hiroshima/J)

In unserem Beitrag möchten wir uns mit den Träumen und Visionen von deutschen Jugendlicher auseinandersetzen, in denen sie sich, angeregt durch philosophische Utopien und politische Träume, wie z.B. der Rede von Martin Luther King, eine bessere Zukunft vorstellen. Diese Perspektiven, Erwartungen, Wünsche, Hoffnungen etc. legten sie in Form von Narrationen vor. Der Impuls, entsprechende Geschichten zu schreiben, wurde durch Unterrichtseinheiten angeregt, die dem Paradigma „Philosophieren mit Kindern“ folgen und im Rahmen des Forschungsprojekts „Narrative, Dreams, Imagination: Israeli and German Youth Imagine their Futures“ an der Pädagogischen Hochschule Karlsruhe entwickelt wurden. Da ein Kulturvergleich aufgrund der fehlenden Narrationen der israelischen Kinder zu diesem Zeitpunkt noch nicht durchgeführt werden kann, beschränken wir uns in diesem Vortrag auf den Gendervergleich. Im einleitenden theoretischen Teil soll die Genderperspektive der philosophischen Utopien skizziert werden, da bereits Platon in seiner Politeia für die allgemeine Bildung der Frauen und ihre Förderung eintrat. Im empirischen Teil sollen die erhobenen utopischen Narrationen heutiger Mädchen und Jungen untereinander und mit den philosophischen Utopien verglichen werden.
Bei den Verfahren zur Datengewinnung bevorzugen wir qualitative Methoden, die auf kleine Stichproben ausgerichtet sind und in deren Mittelpunkt die Sprache steht. Die statistische Erhebung der Zukunftsmuster großer Populationen mit quantitativen empirischen Methoden würde zum einen den Rahmen unseres Forschungsvorhabens sprengen und zum anderen nicht der Aufgabenstellung gerecht werden, da diese auf differenzierte, komplexe Einzelerzählungen zielt, die mit solchen Verfahren nicht zu erfassen sind. Unser empirisches Ziel liegt in der Phänomenbeschreibung des Gendervergleichs von utopischen Elementen bei den sozialen Mustern, Auffassungen von Demokratie, moralischer Argumentationen, Vorstellungen von Glück etc. Die Jugendlichen können dabei ihre implizite Kritik an den bestehenden Verhältnissen entweder in Form von angezielten Utopien oder warnenden, abschreckenden Dystopien festhalten.

Teaching the Value of Democracy through Comic books
Jeff McLaughlin (Kamloops/CAN)

It is an unwritten tradition in American comic books that superheroes save the world but they don’t change it. But why? Why doesn’t Superman just go around and stop all wars and help rebuild nations instead of spending his time trying to save just one life? In 1985, writer Mark Gruenwald attempted to explore what would happen if superheroes did in fact take control and change the world. In the comic book maxi-series Supreme Squadron, the modern world is not a very nice place as there is not enough food, jobs or peace.  So a group of superheroes decide they can do better…and at first they succeed but then philosophical issues such as freedom and freewill start to get in the way. Even with their good intentions and utopian ideals there is dissent and the series juxtaposes the consequences of the forced imposition of world views with the ideals of democracy. This paper presents some of these concerns and how they are dealt with in the comic book series as a means to help young readers understand the value of democratic principles – even if flawed, and the dangers of dictatorship – even if beneficent.

An Evaluation Model in Democratic Citizenship Education
Jinwhan Park (Jinju/Korea)

Lots of people talk about crisis of democracy. Populism is one of them. How can we build up strong democracy? This paper concerns to seek what is needed to effective education for strong democracy. Recently the objectives of democratic citizenship education have been changed from information based one to skill based one to build up strong democracy. Communication skills, critical thinking skills etc., were newly introduced in democratic citizenship education. But still there is no agreement what kind of skills we need, how can we teach and evaluate it. Some curriculums stress only one skill, some curriculums stress multi-dimensional skills.

  1. One skill: Communication skill, practical judgment by one principle or critical thinking skill.
  2. Multi- dimensional skill: critical thinking skill, creative thinking skill, caring thinking skill, communication skill

One skill approach is not enough to satisfy real needs of democratic citizen capacities. Multi-dimensional skill approach seems more reasonable to satisfy such kind of capacities. But so far we did not have effective evaluation tools for such kind of teaching. This paper will suggest new evaluation model for that.

Zur Bedeutung der Demokratie im kindlichen Entwicklungs- und Erziehungsprozess
Nadine Priesterjahn (Leipzig/D)

Der Begriff der Demokratie, wie er im Kontext des kindlichen Bildungs-, Erziehungs- und Entwicklungsprozesses entfaltet werden soll, umfasst im Wesentlichen Betrachtungen zu Empathie, Kooperation und Fairness. Doch was heißt es Demokratie zu leben aus der Sicht des Kindes? Ausgehend von den verschiedenartigen Verständnisweisen stellt sich die Frage, wie auf deren Grundlage die Verwirklichung einer demokratischen Lebensweise gelingen kann, um zugleich den stets neuen Herausforderungen im Rahmen der Globalisierung gerecht werden zu können. In diesem Zusammenhang sollen zwei Schwerpunkte herausgestellt werden: Dialogfähigkeit und Ausbildung guter Denkgewohnheiten, deren Bedeutung für eine demokratische Lebensweise im Sinne der Verbesserung kognitiver, individueller und sozialer Kompetenzen es zu klären gilt. In diesem Zusammenhang sei abschließend auf die Notwendigkeit curricularer Neuerungen verwiesen.

Philosophy and Children in Non-democratic Contexts
Laurance Splitter (Taipo/HK)

It is true that many so-called democracies do not function as true democracies in the sense urged by Dewey and others. Further, some previously harmonious societies have been sorely challenged by religious extremism and immigration patterns. And what of countries that do not even pretend to be democratic? Examples range from extreme dictatorships such as Myanmar and North Korea, to the eternally – and internally – troubled nations of Africa, to Arab nations currently reaching out for democratic change and, of course, looming over all, to China. What can philosophy realistically offer to the children of such regimes, given that the community of inquiry is a thoroughly democratic institution? Is it hopelessly naïve to think that a few visits here and there, even a few teachers and children engaged in philosophical dialogue, can really make a difference in countries such as China? I will present some questions and ideas for discussion in relation to the challenges facing philosophy in these troubled times and places.

Children's Rights and Reality - How Democracy Influences Children's Perspectives on Society and Perspectives on Children in Society?
Ivana Putanovic (Belgrad/SRB)

The way we understand childhood is influenced by various attitudes to children and their capabilities, based on culture, tradition and pedagogical and psychological knowledge, as well as the nature of the relationship between childhood and adulthood. To determine the age that distinguishes between these two periods of life is merely to make a formal distinction. It is rather in the different ways in which the needs of adults and children are expressed and met that we can find a basis for understanding the relationship. Childhood is a time in life which has its own rights and rules, its own culture (children's culture), so the child is to be respected in every sense, in the family, society and in schools. Democracy based on rights, equality and responsibilities creates an environment to overcome differences between childhood and adulthood. The development of democratic consciousness in a society affects its perspectives on children as well as the way it understands childhood. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasizes that children acquire rights by birth and all citizens should respect children's rights all over the world, since children's rights are part of human rights. By respecting children's rights we respect future citizens. The rights that are guaranteed by the UN Convention are meant to protect all aspects of a child's life, but does this always happen in reality? This question and many others represent philosophical challenges in an attempt to find answers to the following: How to understand the relationship between childhood and democracy? How to improve the position of children in society and how to develop democratic skills in children? What is the real meaning of the words "best interests of the child"? Can we really give the answer to this question unless we ask children first? And by doing this we get acquainted with their perspective. Democracy is a way of shaping people's characters and this is why it insists on the culture of dialogue. This is the reason why from the very beginning adults should establish dialogue with children on different issues which concern them directly. The model of dialogue in the process of education represents the way in which democratic values are established in society if we consider schools as "miniature democratic communities". Philosophical dialogue in a community of inquiry includes discussion about different social issues in general, but also discussion about aspects of social relations among all participants in a community of inquiry. The aim of developing communities of inquiry in schools is to equip the children with thinking skills and prepare them for participation in the decision making process in society. Through the engagement in a community of inquiry students discuss different social issues and values that may influence them to form different perspectives on society, as well as on their own involvement in making decisions, first in their schools and then later as rightful citizens in society. In a democratic society citizens can be involved in the decision-making process in different ways and, as a result, there are different forms of democracy. Deliberative democracy is a form which has special demands for schools because it emphasizes the development of democratic skills in students, especially the skills of reasoning and thinking that we can find in a community of inquiry. The main influence of democracy on the way we understand children's place in society is through establishing respect for children's rights, establishing a relationship between children and adults based on tolerance and helping children understand different terms such as rights, responsibilities, duties, autonomy and freedom. On the other hand, the emphasis is on the children's competence to take active part in their schools and their local communities, living in a democracy from the very beginning.

Gründe für Demokratie: Förderung demokratischen Denkens und Handelns
Marie-Élise Zovko (Zagreb/HR)

Nicht nur aus theoretischer Sicht ist es wichtig, sich über die Gründe für Demokratie im klaren zu sein. Wenn man auf demokratischer Weise das Bewußtsein für Demokratie fördern möchte, muß das eigene Verhalten zu jeder Zeit durch Prinzipien der Demokratie bestimmt sein, muß man bereit sein, die eigene Position, die Konsistenz der eigenen Einstellung, Überzeugung und Verhaltensweise mit diesen Prinzipien in Frage stellen zu lassen. Die Bereitschaft, nicht nur zu einer ständigen Revision der eigenen Vorgehensweisen, sondern auchzu einer immer wieder in Griff genommenen "Resemiotisierung" der gängigen Begrifflichkeit und Terminologie demokratischer Systeme und Verhaltensregel, ist eine unerläßiche Bedingung zur Anregung und Aufrechterhaltung philosophischen Dialogs. Philosophischer Dialog, wenn er ein solcher sein sollte, ist grundsätzlich demokratisch und setzt Gleichberechtigung der Teilnehmer des Dialogs voraus, was hinsichtlich der Aufgaben philosophischen Denkens ein vorbehaltsloses Geltenlassen nicht nur der themenbezogenen Fragen, sondern auch der kulturell und individuell bedingten Beschränkungen und Einschränkungen der eigenen Fähigkeit zum Verstehen und Verarbeiten derartiger Fragen verlangt. Praktisch gesehen heißt das, daß der- oder diejenige, die ein philosophisches Gespräch oder ähnliche Auseinandersetzung mit philosophischen Fragen ins Leben rufen möchte, auch die Verantwortung auf sich nimmt, die eigenen Einstellungen, erworbene Einsichte, sogar die eigene Formulierung philosophischer Fragen, im Hinblick auf die Interessen, Fähigkeiten, und Zielsetzungen der anderen Beteiligten in Frage zu stellen und gegebenfalls zugünsten eines neuen, gemeinsam Reformulierten Anlaufs zum gegebenen Thema zurückzustellen. Voraussetzung für den erfolgreichen (allseitig befriedigenden) Verlauf einer (praktischen oder theoretischen) Auseinandersetzung mit philosophischen Themen ist das Erzielen eines vorläufigen Einverständnisses über den gewählten Themenbereich. Damit wir im Philosophieren mit Kindern (sowie mit Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen) nicht "aneinander vorbeireden", muss ein solches Einverständnis ebenso auf demokratischer Weise erzielt werden. In diesem Vortrag werden mögliche Vorgehen zum Herausfinden der Gründe für Demokratie, sowie Beispiele aus der durch Sokrates, Platon und Kant, aber ebenso durch Augusto Boál, Betty Edwards und andere inspirierten, experimentellen Praxis von Projekt Stohrenschule besprochen.

Caring Thinking: Between Morality and Empathy. A Curriculum for Democracy Education
Diego Di Masi (Padua/I)

The aim of this paper is to present an educational curriculum to promote the education through democracy based on the development of competencies for an authentic participation. Following the Philosophy for Children (P4C) programme, the Municipal Council of Children - an instrument to promote the children's participation to democratic life - had been converted in a "community of philosophical inquiry". The paper has the aim to present the impact of the P4C program and the results in term of moral competences and empathy in the children involved in the practice of philosophical dialogue.

The Aporia of Inclusion in Dialogue: A Pragmatic Solution in the Community of Philosophical Inquiry
Marina Santi (Padua/I)

Is it possible to include without excluding something else? Is it dialogue the only way we can follow to realize inclusion as a form of individual and collective participation to culture and social life? What could be the role of philosophical activity and agency as regards the issue of inclusion of "diversity" and "alteritiy"? These are the main questions which are considered in the presentation, trying to offer a ground supporting the hypothesis that "community of philosophical inquiry" could be the pragmatic solution to the aporia of inclusion and an educational mean to improve it as orienting value.

Promoting Multifaceted Mathemetical Classroom Dialogue
Nadia Stoyanova Kennedy (New York/USA)

In the traditional approach to mathematics education, students are typically presented with mathematical rules and algorithms as finished products. These products are then applied to exemplary problems, which students are expected to solve. As such, the elements of inquiry, of discovery, and of personal and collaborative production of meaning are absent from traditional math pedagogy, which tends to isolate the discipline epistemologically even further, by removing it from the world of everyday reasoning and perception. In recent decades, the epistemological gap between classroom instruction and the experience of the learners has been addressed to a certain extent by the steady push for curriculum reform in mathematics education, which has resulted in important strides in the development of new mathematics curricula (e.g., the Connected Mathematics Project). However, although most of these curricula have been successful in promoting an exploration approach to mathematics, the exploration in question has typically remained in the traditional context of mathematical problem solving. The approach proposed here is concerned to take the exploratory nature of mathematics education to a new level. It assumes that a necessary aspect of learning the discipline is constructing, for oneself and with others, a broad understanding of the structures and processes of that discipline, and especially the assumptions that underlie them. As such, the primary theoretical premise informing this project is that a basic building block, missing in most educational methodologies, is the philosophy of that discipline, the "big ideas" that ground it; and that exploring these big ideas through critical dialogue promises to introduce the learner to a larger structure of understanding that leads to making sense of mathematics on the part of the learner in an authentic and personally significant way. A useful model for translating our theoretical assumptions into specific instructional choices is Philosophy for Children (P4C). Following the P4C model, we offer examples from a pilot curriculum, which is still under construction, and consists of philosophical stories, discussion plans, exercises, and mathematical activities—in this case devoted to the philosophy of mathematics. It is designed to be used in the context of a pedagogical discourse known as "community of inquiry," which operates through teacher-facilitated communal deliberation on mathematics concepts, epistemological questions, and issues related to the relationship between mathematics and the physical and social worlds. The stories present these concepts through plot elements and through narrative dialogue between characters for whom the concepts have become problematic. In a typical session, a reading of an episode in the text is followed by a teacher-facilitated discussion of the questions it triggers among students. As such, the curriculum exemplifies a dialogical and emergent curriculum, in which a teacher-delivered stimulus is met by a discussion agenda generated by students, followed by a discussion that mediates the two. Through the introduction of the theory and practice of critical dialogue in a community of mathematical inquiry that this curriculum makes possible, students are expected to acquire mathematical reasoning skills and inquiry-oriented intellectual dispositions at a significantly higher level than is possible through the more mechanical approach that is characteristic of traditional mathematics education. Furthermore, it is expected that these skills and dispositions will enable students to apply mathematical reasoning across disciplinary boundaries, and to connect the form of understanding that mathematics offers, not just to the everyday world, but to the worlds of social, political, and economic decision and action.