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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

October 09, 1994|SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS

THE PHILOSOPHY OF CHILDHOOD by Gareth B. Matthews (Harvard University Press: $18.95; 136 pp.) "A parent or teacher who doesn't hear the questions," writes Matthews, author of "Philosophy and the Young Child, " "or doesn't understand that they are more than, and different from, a mere request for information, misses a chance to do philosophy." This is the wake up call sounded by "The Philosophy of Childhood." And the reminder that "Children are people, fully worthy of both the moral and the intellectual respect due persons. They should be respected for what they are, as well as for what they can become." When children go to school "spontaneous excursions into philosophy" are less and less frequent, making it ever more important to recognize and encourage philosophical lines of inquiry at home. Matthews, in this somewhat scattered book (several different issues are raised under a very large and not all that clearly defined rubric), provides examples of philosophical questions and dilemmas that may appear on your child's brow.

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