Philosophy for children goes to university

Jennifer Bleazby, Christina Slade

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


    In this chapter, we provide an historical account of Philosophy for Children (P4C) in Australian universities, based on information gathered from online questionnaires conducted with Australian P4C scholars, as well as from archival research of university handbooks dating back to the mid-1980s, when P4C was first introduced to Australia. There have been at least thirty subjects containing substantial content related to P4C taught in Australian Universities. The first was taught by Laurence Splitter at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in 1987. There has also been two postgraduate degrees that were devoted entirely to P4C: A Master’s degree at Deakin University in Victoria and a graduate certificate at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Both courses lasted four years during the 1990s. Our research found that at least twenty-five academics have taught about P4C at Australian universities. It is likely there have been others, as university handbooks only list unit-coordinators for each subject. Most of these people are well-known figures within the P4C movement, who have also published P4C research, developed philosophy curricula materials for schools, and ran teacher professional development programs.

    In the following section, we provide an overview of these P4C subjects and courses. This overview includes a description of how these subjects came about; who developed and taught them; the topics and readings covered; and the reasons they ended. Finally, we will draw out some key themes and recommendations regarding best practice for teaching P4C in Australian universities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPhilosophical Inquiry with Children
    Subtitle of host publicationThe Development of an Inquiring Society in Australia
    EditorsGilbert Burgh, Simone Thornton
    Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)9780429431821
    ISBN (Print)9781138362963, 9781138362925
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Philosophy for Children
    • Community of Inquiry
    • Philosophy in schools
    • History of tertiary education

    Cite this