Philosophic Communities of Inquiry: The Search for and Finding of Meaning as the Basis for Developing a Sense of Responsibility

Childhood and Philosophy 13 (26):87 - 103 (2017)
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The attempt to define meaning arouses numerous questions, such as whether life can be meaningful without actions devoted to a central purpose or whether the latter guarantee a meaningful life. Communities of inquiry are relevant in this context because they create relationships within and between people and the environment. The more they address relations—social, cognitive, emotional, etc.—that tie-in with the children’s world even if not in a concrete fashion, the more they enable young people to search for and find meaning. Examining the way in which philosophical communities of inquiry serve as a dialogical space that enables a search for meaning on the personal and collective plane, this article seeks to expand the discussion of how/whether finding meaning on a private or communal level can promote recognition of the existential uniqueness of each individual and the development of a sense of responsibility for him or her. Grounded in the writings of Matthew Lipman, it links his ideas about finding meaning in philosophical communities of inquiry with those of Jean-Paul Sartre, Viktor Frankl, and Emmanuel Levinas, in particular with regard to the association between meaning and responsibility.

Author's Profile

Arie Kizel
University of Haifa


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