Saturday, June 16, 2018

The President of PLATO Thomas E. Wartenberg guest of the Israeli Academic Forum for Philosophy with Children

Professor Thomas E. Wartenberg, president of PLATO (the Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization) was the guest of the Israeli Academic Forum for Philosophy with Children in the University of Haifa in May 2018.

Thomas E. Wartenberg is Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at Mount Holyoke College. His main areas of focus are aesthetics, the philosophy of film, and philosophy for children. Among his publications are Thinking on Screen:  Film as Philosophy, Big Ideas for Little Kids:  Teaching Philosophy Through Children’s Literature, A Sneetch is a Sneetch and Other Philosophical Discoveries: Finding Wisdom in Children’s Literature, Existentialism: A Beginner’s Guide, and mostly recently Mel Bochner: Illustrating Philosophy. His first philosophy for children website,, was awarded the 2011 APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovations in Philosophy Programs. He received the 2013 Merritt Prize for his contributions to the philosophy of education. He is President of PLATO and Film Editor for Philosophy Now. He recently created a website for teaching philosophy through works of art: Philosophy@The Virtual Art Museum.

Professor Wartenberg conducted a workshop on the use of children’s books for philosophical inquiry with children. The lecture discussed the book Frog and Toad.

Frog and Toad are the protagonists of a series of stories by the picture book author and illustrator Arnold Lobel. The two amphibians repeatedly find themselves facing difficulties, such as how to get some seeds to grow (“The Garden”) and trying not to get sick by eating too many cookies (“Cookies”). The stories are told with such verve and humor that their philosophical underpinnings are often passed over. But philosophical they really are.

In his talk, he examined how a favorite Frog and Toad story, “Dragons and Giants,” examines an important philosophical question: Whether you can be brave even though you are scared. I will show that the story actually make a philosophical claim by presenting a counterexample to a philosophical thesis.

His examination of “Dragons and Giants” served to introduce a more general discussion of the utility of picture books as prompts for elementary school philosophy discussions. The talk ended with a brief survey of the state of philosophy for children in the United States and the central US organization that fosters its development, PLATO.

At the end of Wartenberg’s lecture, Dr. Arie Kizel and the students in the Seminar for Philosophy with Children thanked Tom for an excellent workshop that was followed by an open discussion on the possibilities for deepening the philosophical inquiry amongst children.

נשיא PLATO תום ורטנברג התארח בפורום האקדמי ישראלי לפילוסופיה עם ילדים

פרופ' תום ורטנברג, נשיא PLATO (האגודה האמריקאית לפילוסופיה עם ילדים) התארח בסוף חודש מאי 2018 בפורום האקדמי ישראלי לפילוסופיה עם ילדים באוניברסיטת חיפה.

פרופ' ורטנברג העביר העבירה סדנא אודות השימוש בספרי ילדים לצורך חקירה פילוסופית עם ילדים. ההרצאה נגעה לספר Frog and Toad.

בתום ההרצאה הודו ד"ר אריה קיזל והסטודנטיות בסמינר פילוסופיה עם ילדים לתום ורטנברג על הסדנא המעולה אשר הסתיימה בדיון פתוח אודות אפשרויות העמקת החקירה הפילוסופית בקרב ילדים.

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