Philosophy and Education Mini-Workshop

May 8, 2019
Department of Philosophy, University of Edinburgh

Room G32
7 George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9JZ
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • Royal Society of Edinburgh

Keynote speakers:

University of South Carolina


University of Edinburgh

Talks at this conference

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Workshop on Philosophy and Education

G32, 7 George Square

1345: Welcome

1400: Josh Forstenzer (Sheffield): Educating the Whole: Dewey, Higher Education, and the Pedagogic Promise of P4C

Abstract: Approximately one hundred years ago, two major events in the modern history of education occurred in close chronological order. The first took place on December 31st 1915 when the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) set out its Declaration of Principles, designed to protect academic freedom. It was the first text of this kind. The second event was the publication of a book in the following year called Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education, which outlined the essential commitments of a ‘progressive’ conception of education. These events were, of course, tied together by the figure of John Dewey, since he was then president of the AAUP and the author of the book in question. Despite his impressive intellectual contribution to the field of philosophy of education and his significant personal contribution to the cause of universities, Dewey wrote very little about higher education as a subject matter of its own. This talk will seek to fill in this gap by focusing on three dimensions of Deweyan thought in higher education: (1) the curriculum and the Dewey-Hutchins debate; (2) principles for progressive higher education; and (3) the democratic promise of Mathew Lipman’s ‘Philosophy for Children’ (P4C) pedagogy as adapted to higher education.

1515: Coffee

1530: Dina Mendonça (Lisbon): The Role of Immersion for Minds: Following Dewey's insights about experience

Abstract: The paper argues that recognizing the crucial role of immersion for the activity of minds helps us to better understand other far reaching consequences of Dewey’s notion of experience. The introductory remarks set up the stage showing how Dewey's notion of experience and its pedagogical implications require us to understand why not all experience is educational. Then it is shown that the notion of immersion may provide interesting insights for a more detailed account of how experience can have decisive cognitive impact. Nowadays the ongoing presence of people’s immersive attitude is quite visible by the way they are often immersed on their phones, tablets, and computers, and immersed also in talking about all these new technologies. The suggestion of this presentation is that this happens because these technologies promote the powerful force and utter pleasure of being immersed, and that skillful application of these technologies involves a more immediate and efficient way of doing things while being immersed, ultimately revealing that the ability to be immersed lies at the core of human malleability and ability to adapt to changes in the environment. 

  After describing how immersion has already shown its impact in language acquisition, the chapter describes how immersion comes in different degrees and that it enables a shift of perceptual association which is visible in other contexts and situations (such as new technological dimensions and gadgets, aesthetic experiences, and human relationships). This leads to show that the variation of intensity of the experience of immersion can be better understood in the recognition of layers of emotional experience, which in turn provide a better understanding of the experience of immersion, and offers another way to better understand why some experiences have educational impact and are best grasped by Dewey’s description of “an experience”. I conclude by indicating how further research could provide a better grasp on how immersion is fundamental to understand the functioning of Minds and Selves and choose the moments to embrace the power of immersion. 

1620: Discussion

1700: Workshop ends

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