We in Athens are particularly pleased at the recent connections made between ‘philosophy for children’ and children’s success in literacy and maths. Today we spoke directly to the originator of P4C’s method of questioning, Socrates himself:
I’m very proud that gains can be demonstrated in mathematics and writing as a result of doing philosophy. This is despite what you might have heard about my views on writing. It’s said that my view is that writing will implant forgetfulness in children’s souls, and that they will cease to exercise memory as a result of it, and that this can only offer a semblance of wisdom, or the conceit of wisdom. In fact, that people who can write will be a burden to their fellows. But this, as you know, was all reported by my student Plato, and as everyone knows, all of my former students are rogues. And you also know that I have always said that you can’t trust anyone who makes a living from philosophy, so don’t listen to him.”
One slave boy we interviewed said: “Yes, my teacher just asked me a couple of ‘Socratic’ questions, and I was amazed to discover I already knew all maths.”
Another former student of Socrates, Alcibiades, reported: “Everything I have become is down to Socrates and his philosophical teaching”.
When we asked Socrates about his future plans in light of this success, he informed us that he will be drinking hemlock tomorrow, as his questioning has made him an enemy of the state. He is to be executed on the charge of corrupting the young.