Philos Hol Ed RP



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


personal identity



b) Ethics:

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


d) Epistemology:

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


f) Aesthetics:

taste and judgement

standards of criticism

creativity and creation

art and society




g) Metaphysics:

being, non-being, and becoming

space and time

identity and difference





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