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Politeia

Volume 1, Issue 3, Summer 2019

Ioannis Alysandratos, Dimitra Balla, Despina Konstantinidi, Panagiotis Thanassas
Pages 68-81
DOI: 10.5840/politeia20191320

Aristotle's Wondering Children

Wonder is undoubtedly a term that floats around in today’s academic discussion both on ancient philosophy and on philosophy of education. Back in the 4th century B.C., Aristotle underlined the fact that philosophy begins in wonder (θαυμάζειν), without being very specific about the conditions and the effects of its emergence. He focused a great deal on children’s education, emphasizing its fundamental role in human beings’ moral fulfillment, though he never provided a systematic account of children’s moral status. The aim of this paper is to examine, on the one hand, if, to what extent, and under what conditions, Aristotle allows for philosophical wonder to emerge in children’s souls, and, on the other hand, how his approach to education may shed light to the link between wonder and the ultimate moral end, i.e. human flourishing. We will, thus, 1) try to offer a unified outlook of the philosopher’s views on children’s special cognitive and moral state, and 2) illustrate how wonder contributes in overcoming their imperfect state of being.

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