The Philosophy of Childhood
"Matthews' guided dialogues with children show that they consistently and happily develop philosophical trains of thought, evaluate those of others, and try to think things through, often reaching solutions that are essentially the ones propounded by the big people who are lucky enough to be paid for doing it...With careful listening and without distorting preconceptions about what children might or might not be capable of doing, Mr. Matthews has unearthed a seam of would-be wisdom. His open-minded attention to the way children's minds work has also yielded a new concept of childhood intelligence that may bear on the question of children's rights, children's art and the status of literature for children. He argues that the philosophy of childhood should be a respectable branch of philosophy, like the philosophy of science or the philosophy of law. This strikes me as too modest a goal. Mr. Matthews' incisive investigations into the relations between the world of children and the world of adults are too thought-provoking to be confined to one branch of one academic subject...He subjects Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development and Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of moral development to simple and searching criticisms that make his book essential reading for anybody interested in early childhood education." --Anthony Gottlieb, "New York Times Book Review"
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