Philosophy a holistic practitioner’s perspective
Philosophy recovers itself when it ceases to be a device for dealing with the problems of
philosophers and becomes a method, cultivated by philosophers, for dealing with
the problems of men.” (“The Need for a Recovery in Philosophy,” 1917; MW 10:42)
Philosophy has moved too far away from everything and everyone other than its professional (university) initiates. It should be the prerogative and birthright of all.
With Professor Matthew Lipman I hold the view that it is a natural part of being human to philosophize and that schools should make accessible, and integrate, philosophizing in schools from the earliest years. To this end Lipman’s programme for educating teachers, and their pupils, is the exemplary programme for the Criticality dimension of the SunWALK model and for the Criticality dimension of my version of HI (Holistic Inquiry).
The difference between Lipman’s PI (Philosophical Inquiry) and my HI (Holistic Inquiry) is that I want to emphasize the need to weave continuously the three voices of I WE and IT into the processes of education. They need to ‘dance’ in the consciousness and daily activities of the children – the moral and the creative in science, the creative and the scientific in moral activities, the scientific and the moral in arts activities. Deadness is the result of separation.
The I voice of subjective knowing is developed via engagement with reality using content from the Arts.
The WE voice of moral knowing is developed via engagement with reality using content from the Humanities.
The IT voice of objective knowing is developed via engagement with reality using content from the Sciences.
Reality is seen as deep engagement in, and command of, Justice, Truth, Goodness and Beauty – and all of the other such virtues. Religionists sometimes call such virtues the Names, Attributes and … of God. Focusing on virtues is surely a way for many ‘factions’ to unite’ – religionists and non-religionists, Catholics and Protestants, East and West. Though of course if you have an overpowering need, or reason, to create an enemy in order to feel right you will upset any means toward unity. The only enemy is the enemy of self – projected on to some other as racism, sexism, etc.
Sticking only in the Criticality voice (or either of the other two) creates unbalanced people – and a very nasty world!” Horrible denial and confusion between the three voices is at the root of the clash between the West and East.
Philosophy starts in wonder, so does the mystical. The difference between the two is that the former starts with “I wonder….” (a duality) and the latter starts with wonderment (an experience of non-duality).
“I wonder” is concerned with the clarification and use of concepts. Wonderment is concerned with a) maintaining a relationship with the Whole (God if you are a theist) b) being temporarily relieved of the burden of self. The former is a ‘left-brain’ activity and the latter a right-brain activity (yes I know it is more complex than that).
Relief from the burden of self comes through some form of contemplative practice that enables unitive experience – such experiences are often of short duration. I would argue against the more extreme forms of contemplative activity for two reasons. Firstly it becomes extremely selfish and self-centred – as in a case I saw recently in which a master left his wife and children to go and do ‘the big one’. Secondly I think it is intrinsic in being and becoming human and we come to know through ‘oscillating’ between experience of separateness and unitive experiences on the other hand.
The Ontario government has a curriculum outline for use within its secondary schools. It has suggested a range of topics for the seven major areas of philosophy
The seven major areas of philosophy are given below. Possible topics are listed under each area.
a) Philosophy of human nature:
free will and determinism
the meaning of life
egoism and altruism
mind and body
pleasure and desire
morality and reason
good and evil
the self and others
virtue and “the good life”
ethics and the professions
relativism and objectivity
rights and duties
c) Social and political philosophy:
freedom and autonomy
violence and power
justice and equity
the community and the individual
the state and citizenship
rights and duties
biases based on gender and culture
humans and the environment
knowledge and belief
evidence and proof
rationalism and empiricism
ways of knowing
intuition and idea
philosophy of language
e) Logic and the philosophy of science:
observation and theory
inductive and deductive reasoning
formal and informal logic
validity and soundness in arguments
fallacies in arguments
discovery and justification
realism and phenomenalism
taste and judgement
standards of criticism
creativity and creation
art and society
being, non-being, and becoming
space and time
identity and difference