The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom

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9781441155832: The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom
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Can computers think? What makes something human? How big is infinity? From Sartre to Searle, this practical book is rooted in philosophical theory, and introduced at a level suitable for children. Each session offers an imaginary situation, followed by a series of questions to encourage children to challenge key philosophical ideas such as values and ethics, gender and identity, and existence and beauty. All the enquiries have been tried-and-tested in the primary and early secondary classroom, and a handy star system is included to indicate the difficulty level of each one, enabling quick ability differentiation. With a comprehensive introduction and key sections on the philosophy behind the experiments, this book also includes an online teacher's resource to guide practitioners through using the sessions to best effect in the classroom. Invaluable as a resource for P4C trained teachers, this book is also perfect for teachers who want to introduce higher order and critical thinking into their classroom, or as a resource for philosophy consultants working with children.

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Review:

'A very well-organised and thought-out book...One of the most Striking things about this book is it's intellectually rigour, it's grounding in the work of real philosophers and it's implicit belief that children will respond to big and important ideas.' --Times Educational Supplement, 28th Jan 2011

'This is a timely and valuable contribution: a capacity to think critically is the key component of any education, and Worley is an inventive enhancer of children's ability to think for themselves. --A.C.Grayling, Professor of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK

'Plato in primary school? Existentialism, moral responsibility and determinism as topics for key stage 2 exploration? Is this book suggesting that primary children can tackle these big ideas? Has Peter Worley ever been inside a school? The answers are yes, yes, yes and yes. Worley is seriously presenting this material for use in schools...This is, I think, a pretty comprehensive package. Many of the stimulus stories derive from classical origins, but these are mixed with the contemporary tale of Billy Bash the school bully and the futuristic Ceebies stories, which use an increasingly humanoid robot to explore what it means to be human. In all cases, the quality of the stimulus material is high and the task questions are engaging and demanding. Without the context of the stories, many of the questions, such as "Do you think the mind is the same thing as the brain?" or "Is it possible to think of nothing?" would be out of reach for primary pupils. But within context, they are exciting opportunities for exploration and I can imagine primary children getting very involved with them. --Martin Spice, TES Magazine

'This is a timely and valuable contribution: a capacity to think critically is the key component of any education, and Worley is an inventive enhancer of children's ability to think for themselves. --A.C.Grayling, Professor of Philosophy, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK

'Plato in primary school? Existentialism, moral responsibility and determinism as topics for key stage 2 exploration? Is this book suggesting that primary children can tackle these big ideas? Has Peter Worley ever been inside a school? The answers are yes, yes, yes and yes. Worley is seriously presenting this material for use in schools...This is, I think, a pretty comprehensive package. Many of the stimulus stories derive from classical origins, but these are mixed with the contemporary tale of Billy Bash the school bully and the futuristic Ceebies stories, which use an increasingly humanoid robot to explore what it means to be human. In all cases, the quality of the stimulus material is high and the task questions are engaging and demanding. Without the context of the stories, many of the questions, such as "Do you think the mind is the same thing as the brain?" or "Is it possible to think of nothing?" would be out of reach for primary pupils. But within context, they are exciting opportunities for exploration and I can imagine primary children getting very involved with them. --Martin Spice, TES Magazine

About the Author:

Peter Worley teaches philosophy in schools every week. He is a Resident Philosopher at 6 state primary schools in London and he is the founder and CEO of The Philosophy Foundation (www.philosophy-foundation.org), a charity that specialises in philosophy in primary and secondary schools, based in the UK. Peter has over 20 years' experience in teaching and regularly gives talks and presentations about philosophy in schools. He is a Fellow of the RSA and is a Visiting Research Associate at King s College London.

Tamar Levi is an author and illustrator based in London, UK and has her own website: www.TamarLevi.com. Tamar is also researching a PhD in English and Creative Writing at Roehampton University, UK.

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