Abhishek Shukla (India)


Abhishek Shukla (India) - M.Phil, University of Delhi, a Junior Research Fellow at Department of Philosophy; an active member of philosophical practitioners' group in Delhi; engaged with various voluntary organizations to promote philosophical practice in India.

An Inquiry into The Nature of Philosophy with Special Reference to The Children's Ability to Think Philosophically (Presentation) 

Presentation language: English

Philosophical inquiry with children faces criticism that children lack the cognitive development necessary for higher-order thinking. This definition of philosophy as higher-order thinking put forward by opponents of philosophical inquiry with children is not only tenable but a good definition of philosophy. Philosophy as a higher discipline deals with problems with cannot be resolved through first-order thinking. In other words, philosophical problems exist in the space between empirical problems and logico-mathematical problems; neither can be solved through empirical methods nor logical-mathematical deduction. Philosophical questions belong to the domain where nothing can be known with certainty; therefore, they are open to disagreement, but philosophical disagreements are different from disagreement in first-order disciplines; they can go at the second-order level. Ayer (1936) gives a good example of such a disagreement that idealists and realists do not disagree on the nature of reality only, but they also agree on how to prove or disprove their claims. Gareth Mathew (1980), based on his experience of philosophical inquiry with children, claims that young children naturally ask philosophical questions, but merely asking philosophical questions cannot be said to be a philosophical inquiry unless there is sufficient progress. This leads to the question of progress in philosophy. The concept of progress in philosophical inquiry should be different from first-order disciplines because philosophical questions are open to disagreement and they cannot have a definite answer. There can be progress in philosophical inquiry, even if it is accepted that philosophy as a discipline does not make any progress.