Event: Philosophy in Schools Conference, University of St Andrews, 2 November 2019

Philosophy in Schools Conference
University of St Andrews

Arts Lecture Theatre.
Saturday 2 November 2019, 10.30 – 5.15 pm.
(Refreshments available from 10.00)

The Department of Philosophy is pleased to announce its third conference on teaching philosophy to children at nursery, primary and secondary levels. The emphasis will be on practical methods of teaching philosophy, rather than on theoretical considerations. The conference is mainly aimed at schoolteachers, though anyone interested in philosophy for children is welcome to attend.

10.30 – 11.30 Thomas Wartenberg

11.45 – 12.45 Claire Cassidy

1.45 – 2.45 Peter Worley

3.00 – 4.00 Berys Gaut and Morag Gaut

4.15 – 5.15 Derek Ball, Brian Johnston, and a primary teacher (TBA)

The conference is free but if you wish to attend, advanced registration is required. To do so, please send an email to Morag Gaut (moraggaut@gmail.com).

The speakers:

Thomas Wartenberg, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Mount Holyoke College, is author of Big Ideas for Little Kids, a former President of PLATO (Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization), the subject of an Emmy-winning PBS documentary, and winner of the 2011 APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Philosophy Programs.

Peter Worley is co-founder and co-CEO of The Philosophy Foundation. He has written or edited eleven books on the subject, including The If Machine, which was adapted into a BBC series and nominated for a BAFTA award. He has trained numerous teachers in his P4C method.

Claire Cassidy is Reader in Education at Strathclyde University, and course leader of the Postgraduate Certificate in Philosophy with Children. She is leader of the Philosophy with Children network, which brings together teachers interested in P4C, and is author of Thinking Children.

Berys Gaut is Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews, and Morag Gaut is a retired nursery and primary teacher. They are co-authors of two practical guides for teachers about how to teach P4C: Philosophy for Young Children, and the forthcoming Philosophy for Older Children.

Derek Ball is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. He has introduced lesson plans and activities into schools in Fife about animal and human minds from both philosophical and psychological perspectives. He will co-present with one of the teachers who has used the plans.

Brian Johnston is a teacher at Caldervale High School, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, who has introduced an interdisciplinary learning course with a focus on philosophical enquiry and learning skills.

The conference is generously funded by the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the Scots Philosophical Association, and the University of St Andrews.

Resource: The Philosophy Man – free P4C resources

From The Philosophy Man website:

From small beginnings in 2008, The Philosophy Man is now the UK’s leading independent provider of P4C training and workshops. Jason and Tom send free p4c resources to nearly 16,000 educators worldwide, and train upwards of 2,000 teachers a year through INSETS and Keynotes in our streamlined and accessible Philosophy Circles approach to P4C. We spend as much time in the classroom as we do delivering courses, and we ‘show our working’ in front of children of all ages.

Access the resources here.

Event: Free Public Philosophy Lecture at Royal Society of Edinburgh, 13 Feb 2019

From the organisers of this free public lecture, hosted by the University of Stirling:

The issues addressed within the project raise questions of fundamental human concern. We believe that these issues both can and should be made accessible and interesting to any educated and inquiring person. To this end the project will hold a series of five public lectures, given by senior members of the project and its network.

These lectures will be recorded and made publicly available through the project’s Outreach pages, with an opportunity for continuing the discussion online.

Wednesday 13 February 2019, at 5.30-7.30: Public Lecture 4

Wellcome West Room, Royal Society of Edinburgh, 28 George Street Edinburgh

Professor Franz Berto (Universities of St Andrews and Amsterdam)
‘Knowledge via Imagination’

The human mind can contemplate the strangest unreal scenarios in imagination, from dragons and unicorns to exotic islands or science fictions. Why? What is the evolutionary utility of such mental escapes from reality?

One promising answer is that imagination helps to answer ‘what if?’ questions. What if I try to jump the stream? Will I get to the other side, or will I get hurt? Will a no-deal Brexit make me lose my job? Instead of actually trying a dangerous jump, or waiting for a no-deal Brexit to come, we imagine these events taking place, and try to guess what would happen then.

Empirical research shows that imagination as mental simulation helps us in a number of ways: skiers imagining the path they’ll follow in the ski run perform better in a downhill race. House movers imagining guiding the couch through the living room door can reliably conclude that it will in fact pass through the door.

But how can it be? If imagination is an arbitrary escape from reality, we can imagine whatever we like. How can this give us knowledge about reality, then? Better understanding how imagination as mental simulation works – which traps we are prone to fall into when we use it, when it can give us new, reliably formed and true beliefs – will help us to become better mental simulators, thus better equipped to deal with the uncertainties of the future. This is what this talk is about.

The lecture will be preceded by a brief drinks reception from 5.00-5.30.

Attendance is free and open to all.

Directions and information about the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Resource: SAPERE P4C resources now open access

SAPERE: Philosophy for Children, Colleges, Communities have recently made their P4C resources open access for anyone to use.

You can access the resources here.

From the SAPERE website:

You no longer need to log in to get access to our P4C resources.

As part of our commitment to supporting high-quality and sustainable P4C practice, we produce a range of P4C resources. These include our Level 1 and Level 2 Course Handbooks, our Getting Started Guide, and our Philosophy for Children (P4C) Resource Database. (Please note that the database is currently hosted on our old website.)

The database includes recommended reading, stimulus material, links and downloadable resources. You can search by age range/key stage, topic or theme and resource type. The database is added to regularly. If you have suggestions for material to include, please let us know on enquiries@sapere.org.uk.

You can also find some suggested P4C stimuli for each key stage.

Event: Philosophy and Education Workshop, 1 May 2019

Call for abstracts

Philosophy and Education: Exploring their interaction and dynamic relationship

You are invited to submit an abstract to participate in the Philosophy of Education Workshop at the Centre for Knowledge and Society (CEKAS) of the University of Aberdeen on the 1st of May, 2019.

Keynote speaker: Dr Ben Kotzee (Education, Birmingham)

We welcome papers from post-graduate students and early career researchers who work on topics at the intersection of philosophy and education.

Both continental and analytic approaches will be considered. Some possible topics involve – but are not limited to – problems and issues from the following research areas:

Aims and Nature of Education;
Moral and Political Issues in Education;
Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum;
Virtue Epistemology, Social Epistemology and their Relationship with Education;
Epistemology of Education;
Methodology in Educational Research;
Philosophy for Children or Philosophy in Education.

We encourage papers that will make concrete proposals and communicate ideas employable in educational policies for schools and universities.

We welcome submissions of abstracts up to 500 words (excluding references). Please note that each presentation will be 45 minutes long, followed by a 25-minute Q&A session. Only submissions in English will be considered. In the selection process of the speakers special attention will be paid to gender balance issues.

Each abstract should be fully anonymized for the purposes of blind review process. Please send as an attachment titled “ABSTRACT”. Please also attach a separate document, titled “CONTACT DETAILS” inclusive of your name, your expected degree or academic position, and your university affiliation.

To submit your work or for further inquiries please contact the workshop organizers: Christos Georgakakis c.georgakakis@abdn.ac.uk and Alessio Persichetti a.persichetti@abdn.ac.uk

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is the 15th of March, 2019; we aim to make a decision by April, 2019.

This event is financially supported by the Scottish Philosophical Association (SPA). Free child care will be available to conference participants and delegates.

Opportunity: Philosophy with Children CPD at University of Aberdeen

From the University of Aberdeen:

Continuing Professional Development (CPD), for teachers and educators of primary and secondary school children, on Philosophy with Children.

Tuesday 21st May 2019


The University of Aberdeen will host a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) event for primary and secondary educators on Philosophy with Children on the King’s College Campus.

The course provides professional development in facilitating group discussion on philosophical topics (Philosophical Inquiry) as a method for developing pupil skills at the core of the Curriculum for Excellence. These include applying critical thinking in new contexts, thinking creatively to solve problems, understanding different beliefs and learning to participate responsibly in a community of inquiry.

Research indicates that pupils engaged in collaborative group discussion on philosophical questions benefit from:

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Better numeracy and literacy skills
  • Greater ability to think creatively and critically about complex matters
  • Greater ability to understand, recognize and respect alternative reasonable viewpoints.
  • Improved social behaviour, participation and concentration.

“Philosophy for Children is a pedagogy that, when used creatively and in collaboration with children, develops their ability to make connections and think critically, to solve problems and learn in a creative and constructive way, and gives them ownership of their learning. It also allows teachers to see children as real learners and helps them facilitate rather than drive learning.”
Jane Craik, Head Teacher, Tullynessle Primary School, Aberdeenshire

Comments from Participants:
‘I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to have a go.’
‘Outstanding in service training day. Good opportunity to meet with other teachers and discuss how they’re using philosophy in school.’
‘Really enjoyed this CPD – rare that I feel I get much from courses that I don’t already know, but now I feel excited about the prospect of finding out more and working with my class. Thank you!’

Course Aims:
This CPD event will cover all the essential aspects of Philosophy with Children including:

  • Understanding Philosophy with Children, its aims and benefits
  • How to run a Philosophy Inquiry with children
  • How Philosophy with Children integrates with the Scottish Curriculum

09.00 – 09.30 Registration and coffee
09.30 – 10.15 Inquiry 1
10.15 – 10.30 Review of Inquiry 1
10.30 – 11.00 What Is Philosophy with Children?
11.00 – 11.15 Break
11.15 – 12.30 How to Run a PwC session
12.30 – 13.15 Lunch
13.15 – 14.00 Inquiry 2
14.00 – 14.15 Review of Inquiry 2
14.15 – 15.00 Philosophy and Curriculum for Excellence; Troubleshooting
15.00 Close

Would you like more information?

If you would like further information, please contact CPD Services, Research and Innovation, University of Aberdeen, Room 28 University Office, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX. Tel: 01224 272484. Fax: 01224 272319.

Email: cpdservices@abdn.ac.uk.

Opportunity: Royal Institute of Philosophy, Philosophy in Schools courses.

From the Royal Institute of Philosophy:

Since 1997, the Jacobsen Trust has made available to the Royal Institute funds to promote philosophical work in schools. Thanks to the generosity of the Trust, the Institute expanded the scheme, offering philosophy courses to as many as 60 schools across the UK each academic year.

The courses usually consist of one two-hour session each week composed of no more than 20 students aged 16 – 19, who have little or no experience in philosophy. The courses are taught by a teacher approved and paid for by the Institute. He or she is usually a postgraduate or recent PhD in philosophy with some teaching experience. Our teachers tackle basic philosophical topics concerning the nature of knowledge, ethics, the mind, free will, aesthetics and so on. The content is usually organized around the teacher’s own area of expertise — always situated in mainstream, academic philosophy.

The goals of the scheme are many: engaging the interest of students in basic philosophical issues, free and rigorous enquiry, clarifying and discussing certain questions and the various reasons offered in support of one position or another, developing the capacity to think critically. Throughout all of this, no particular religious, political or ideological lines are favoured.

We are always on the lookout for new schools, so please do apply. We hope to enthuse non-philosophers, so don’t worry if your students have no background in philosophy at all.

If you have any questions about the scheme, please do not hesitate to contact the Institute.

Opportunity: PESGB Annual Conference 2019, Teaching Scholarship Awards

Teacher Scholarship Awards 2019
Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) Annual Conference, New College, Oxford
Friday 29 March to Sunday 31 March 2019

Closing date: Friday 8th February 2019

The PESGB is delighted to announce the award of up to 4 scholarships to full time schoolteachers (0.8 FTE or above) wishing to attend its annual Oxford conference for the first time. These are offered by open competition and are worth up to £335. They cover:

a. the conference fee, including full board accommodation for two nights in Oxford (equivalent to £250)
b. a contribution to travel costs (up to £85).
Initial orientation to the conference will be provided to successful applicants. Teachers attending an academic conference for the first time may appreciate having identified colleagues to attend some sessions with them and talk the papers through afterwards. It is expected that successful applicants will negotiate the particular kinds of support they would appreciate with us. This year, confirmed keynote speakers are:
• David Hansen, Teachers’ College, Columbia University, New York
• Jan Derry, Institute of Education, University College, London
• Michael Bonnett, University of Cambridge
Interested teachers who meet the selection criteria should:

  1. Email their name, contact details and a short expression of interest (100 words maximum) explaining reasons for wishing to attend the conference to pesgb@sasevents.co.uk on or before 4.00 pm on 8.2.2019.
  2. Provide a short letter of support of a senior member of their school’s leadership team or similar e.g. headteacher/principal/ Officer of a professional association/ academic supervisor.
    Applicants will be expected to:
  3. Attend the conference in full (except where agreed in advance with the Society, for example, due to teaching commitments) and
  4. After the conference write a short reflective blog piece for the PEGSB website/ a social media forum used by teachers based on their experience of attending the conference or one aspect of it.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of members of the PESGB Executive Committee. Members of the panel will provide brief feedback on request in cases where applications are unsuccessful but reserve the right not to engage in lengthy correspondence.


  1. Successful applicants will be expected to pay the conference fee in advance, sign a written declaration confirming their status as a full-time serving teacher and to attend the conference in full, unless special arrangements have been agreed in advance with the PESGB Executive.
  2. The fee will be re-imbursed and a contribution made to travel upon receipt of the blog post and travel receipts, up to a total of award of £335.
  3. Reimbursements are conditional on applicants meeting all the requirements of the award.
  4. The Society reserves the right to withdraw the award at any time if applicants are found to have provided the panel with false information.

Full details of the conference can be found on the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain website (www.philosophy-of-education.org).

Event: John Stuart Mill Cup, 6 June 2019

Author: Dr Ben Sachs, Senior Lecturer, University of St Andrews

John Stuart Mill Cup logo

Hello OPEN Scotland members!  My name is Ben Sachs; I work in philosophy at St. Andrews.  I want to call your attention to the 2019 John Stuart Mill Cup, an event we’re hosting on 6 June.  

It’s a tournament in which teams of secondary school students go head-to-head in discussing ethical topics before a panel of judges. The judges reward insightfulness, thoughtfulness and civility – as opposed to the ability to win an argument, as would happen in a debating tournament. The students who participate in this tournament learn something about good citizenship while also being able to pick up, and show off, skills related to the analysis of philosophical and ethical issues. 

The 2018 event was a smashing success, with 11 teams from schools across Britain participating, and the 2019 event is shaping up to be even better.  

If you like the sound of this, you can help me by spreading the word among secondary school teachers and head teachers that you know – especially those who teach philosophy/ethics/religion/debating.  Please direct them to the John Stuart Mill Cup website

If you, or they, have any questions, please email me at millcup@st-andrews.ac.uk.  If you’re interested in volunteering as a judge during the event, email me about that too – I’d be immensely grateful.

Thanks and hope to see you and your students at the tournament!