Teaching Philosophy to Children

To love wisdom is literally the definition of Philosophy

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Studying fundamental questions about different concepts such as reality, existence, knowledge, mind, and many more gives us a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Philosophy enables a person to be able to think critically, and it provides knowledge and answers to different topics that could potentially leave an influence on one’s life.

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Philosophy is broad and complex, and it covers a wide variety of issues and ideas that each have its own importance and level of understanding. Philosophy may seem like a heavy topic that couldn’t easily be understood. However, there is an importance in teaching philosophy to children. One lesson on Philosophy that I believe is essential and that I would like a child to always remember is the lesson on self-existence, specifically the philosophical theory “I think, therefore I am.”

Questioning and doubting one’s existence is not unfamiliar when it comes to Philosophy. A French Mathematician and Philosopher, often credited as the “Father of Modern Philosophy”, named René Descartes has taken this idea of existence into account by formulating the mandate, “Cogito, ergo sum” or “I think, therefore I am” where he is confident that when he is thinking, he exists (“Rene Descartes | Biography, Philosophy, & Facts | Britannica,” 2020). To explain this, Descartes was in a state of universal doubt in which he doubts if the foundations of knowledge were truly certain and he struggled to feel the existence of anything. Descartes claims that our senses can be misleading and that they are not always trustworthy, and that dreams are often indistinguishable from reality (Maden, 2019). And as he doubts the existence of the physical world, he also considered if he, himself is included with that “everything” and if his existence is merely just a perception. Therefore he concludes that we cannot claim absolute certainty. But with all this doubting, Descartes realizes that through these thoughts, he is thinking, and every thought is our existence, making us a thinking being. Assuring himself of his own existence, he is sure of one thing, that we cannot doubt the existence of our thoughts, because as we suspect, we think. Thus, “I think, therefore I am.”

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