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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 3, 1999

Philosophy of Education

Gareth B. Matthews
Pages 1-10

On Valuing Perplexity in Education

Plato and Aristotle thought that philosophy begins in the perplexed recognition that there are significant puzzles one does not know how to deal with. Some such puzzles can be expressed in questions of the form, ‘How is it possible that p?’, e.g., ‘How is it possible that the world had an absolute beginning?’ I discuss an example of young children asking that last question and go on, with further examples, to make a plea for cultivating such questions as an educational objective, whether the perplexity-expressing questions themselves be scientific, philosophical, or both.

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