Volume 2, Spring 2020
Revisiting the Community of Philosophical Inquiry through the Lens of Arendt and Butler
The purpose of this paper is to reimagine philosophy programs in schools, such as philosophy for/with children, through a critical analysis of the work of Hannah Arendt and Judith Butler, especially in light of their understanding of the space of appearance and plurality. Drawing on a critical reading of Hannah Arendt along with Butler’s critique, I argue that during the enactment of the community of philosophical inquiry (CPI), the classroom becomes a space of appearance through the collective willingness of those present to be exposed to and recognize unknown others and matters in the condition of plurality. I begin by summarizing Arendt’s notions of the space of appearance and plurality. Next, I introduce Butler’s critique and reading of Arendt to focus on sociopolitical aspects of the space of appearance. Finally, I synthesize both Arendt’s and Butler’s analyses to show the phenomenological and sociopolitical aspects of the CPI.