In Community of Inquiry with Ann Margaret Sharp: Childhood, Philosophy and Education, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

In Community of Inquiry with Ann Margaret Sharp

Childhood, Philosophy and Education, 1st Edition

Edited by Maughn Rollins Gregory, Megan Jane Laverty


264 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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In close collaboration with the late Matthew Lipman, Ann Margaret Sharp pioneered the theory and practice of ‘the community of philosophical inquiry’ (CPI) as a way of practicing ‘Philosophy for Children’ and prepared thousands of philosophers and teachers throughout the world in this practice. In Community of Inquiry with Ann Margaret Sharp represents a long-awaited and much-needed anthology of Sharp’s insightful and influential scholarship, bringing her enduring legacy to new generations of academics, postgraduate students and researchers in the fields of education, philosophy, philosophy of education, Philosophy for Children and philosophy of childhood. 

Sharp developed a unique perspective on the interdependence of education, philosophy, personhood and community that remains influential in many parts of the world. This perspective was shaped not only by Sharp’s work in philosophy and education, but also by her avid studies in literature, feminism, aesthetic theory and ecumenical spirituality. Containing valuable contributions from senior figures in the fields in which Sharp produced her most focused scholarship, the chapters in this book present a critical overview of how Sharp’s ideas relate to education, philosophy of education, and the Philosophy for Children movement as a whole.

The historical and philosophical nature of this collection means that it will be a vital resource for philosophers and educators. It should also be of great interest to teacher educators and those involved in the study of pragmatism and feminism, as well as the history of education across the globe, particularly in the United States of America.


‘This is a timely book that brings together Ann Margaret Sharp’s most significant work, including some material not published before, and clearly shows its enduring importance and influence.’ – Richard Smith, Professor of Education, University of Durham, UK

‘Ann Margaret Sharp was a founding figure of the Philosophy for Children movement, a leading theorist of the classroom community of inquiry, and a spirited and dedicated teacher educator. To those who knew and worked with her, and to thousands around the world who were influenced by her work, she embodied the special joy that comes with practicing philosophy in community. Finally, there is an anthology of Sharp’s work that not only captures the wide-ranging scope and depth of her thought, but also helps establish her rightful place alongside Lipman and Freire as one of the most important global educators of the last half century.’ - Darryl M. De Marzio, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Foundations of Education and Chairperson of the Education Department, University of Scranton, USA

The book is unique in that it is the first publication to offer an anthology of selected articles by Ann Margaret Sharp, a philosopher of education and one of the pioneers of Philosophy for Children, who collaborated with Matthew Lipman to develop a theory and practice of the community of inquiry as a collaborative pedagogy and method for philosophy with children, as well as a pre-college curriculum. The book also brings together eminent international scholars in dialogue with Sharp to critically appraise key areas of education on which she focussed, including: pragmatism; feminism; ethical judgment; religion and spirituality; caring thinking; social, political and global education; and pedagogy and teacher education. Unmistakeably, this book offers a profile of a woman whose scholarly work was inseparable from her teaching and commitment to social justice through education. - Gilbert Burgh, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, The University of Queensland, Australia

At the very center of Ann Sharp’s concerns there are themes which have always been part of philosophical inquiry: the stimulation of thinking, the building of community, the pursuit of freedom, and -- why not? -- the promotion of democracy. A first step to do justice to this American thinker has been taken by Routledge, one of the most important publishers in the world, which has published a significant volume, In Community of Inquiry with Ann Margaret Sharp. Childhood, Philosophy and Education, edited by Maughn Rollins Gregory and Megan Jane Laverty. The book includes, along with many essays of the New York philosopher, also a series of contributions that explore, if not all, at least many facets of her work. - Simone Paliaga, 'Education and democracy: it is in the community that the free person is born'

Th[is] new critical anthology … is indispensable for all those who are attracted by … questions, like: Who was Ann Margaret Sharp? What was her role in the development of philosophy for children? Why did Lipman credit her with the idea of bringing something new, fresh, vital and exciting, both educationally and philosophically, to philosophy for children? What was her role in the creation of Lipman’s philosophical novels for children and what was her contribution to their teacher manuals? Why did Sharp believe that the practice of the community of philosophical inquiry was all that was needed to turn philosophy for children into a model of educational practice? Why was Sharp initially more dedicated to the concept of "communityofinquiry" than Lipman, and instrumental in his work on its development? And why did Lipman remark that Sharp brought "a kind of human touch" to the movement that he himself "never tried to develop"? - Walter O. Kohan, Educational Theory

[T]his book is a tribute to an extraordinary woman. Ann Margaret Sharp was a formidable, enthusiastic, utterly ethical, inspiringly optimistic, intensely engaged (167), and sometimes forbidding force—much like the program she helped to found. Her writing, however, is delightfully inviting. Anyone interested in trying to make this world a better place, and in transforming education so that young people are shaken out of their complacency (85) and become empowered to enthusiastically grab their own lives by the throat so that they are able to march toward the future with confidence and competence, will treasure this book.-Susan Gardner, Teaching Philosophy

Educators, especially those interested in radical critiques of education and looking for ideas to support their own thinking and practice in relation to what is wrong with our current state of education, will find the book to be of great value. This is especially true for those who want to challenge the industrial and neoliberal models of education that permeate our societies. - Bonnie Zuidland, Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis

Table of Contents


Contributors Editorial Introduction: Ann Margaret Sharp: A Life Teaching Community

Where I Learned Community of Inquiry: Ann Margaret Sharp in Conversation with Peter Shea

PART I Ann Margaret Sharp on Pragmatism and the Community of Inquiry

1. The Theory of Education Made Flesh (Philip Cam)

2. What is a Community of Inquiry? (Ann Margaret Sharp)

3. Self-Transformation in the Community of Inquiry (Ann Margaret Sharp)

PART II Ann Margaret Sharp on Philosophy of Education, Pedagogy, Teacher Education and the Community of Inquiry

4. The Teacher as Liberator: Ann Margaret Sharp between Philosophy of Education and Teacher Education (Stefano Oliverio)

5. Education and Culture: A Nietzschean Perspective (Ann Margaret Sharp)

6. A Letter to a Novice Teacher: Teaching Harry Stottlemeier’s Discovery (Ann Margaret Sharp)

PART III Ann Margaret Sharp on Ethics, Personhood, and the Community of Inquiry

7. Living in, and with, our Relationships to Others (Laurance J. Splitter)

8. Philosophy for Children and Development of Ethical values (Ann Margaret Sharp)

9. Looking at Others' Faces (Ann Margaret Sharp and Megan Jane Laverty)

PART IV Ann Margaret Sharp on Feminism, Women, Children and the Community of Inquiry

10. Education as Liberation (María Teresa de la Garza)

11. Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Education: Simone Weil on Force, Goodness, work, Method and Time (Ann Margaret Sharp and Maughn Rollins Gregory)

PART V Ann Margaret Sharp on Religion, Spirituality, Ritual, Aesthetics and the Community of Inquiry

12. Do we Put What is Precious at Risk through Philosophic Conversation? (Peter Shea)

13. Silence and Speech in Pixie (Ann Margaret Sharp)

14. Is there an Essence of Education? (Ann Margaret Sharp)

PART VI Ann Margaret Sharp on Caring Thinking, Education of the Emotions and the Community of Inquiry

15.Caring Thinking, Education of Emotions, and the Community of Inquiry: a Psychological Perspective (Richard E. Morehouse)

16. The Other Dimension of Caring Thinking (Ann Margaret Sharp)

PART VII Ann Margaret Sharp on Social-Political, Democratic, International/Global Education and the Community of Inquiry

17. Social-Political Dimensions of the Community of Philosophical Inquiry in an Age of Globalization (Jennifer Glaser)

18. The Role of Intelligent Sympathy in Educating for Global Ethical Consciousness (Ann Margaret Sharp)

19. The Community of Inquiry: Education for Democracy (Ann Margaret Sharp)

Poem: The Community of Inquiry (Ann Margaret Sharp)

About the Editors

Maughn Rollins Gregory is Professor of Educational Foundations, Montclair State University, U.S.A.

Megan Jane Laverty is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, U.S.A.

About the Series

Philosophy for Children Founders

Philosophy for Children Founders offers a critical re-assessment of the work of the founders of Philosophy for Children – a movement encompassing all approaches to the philosophical practice of children and adolescents – in light of developments inside and outside that movement. Within the span of fifty years, philosophical practice for children and adolescents has become a global, multi-disciplinary movement involving innovations in curriculum, pedagogy and educational theory; in moral, social and political philosophy; and in discourse and literary theory. It has even given birth to a new academic field: philosophy of childhood. Contemporary scholars, educators and practitioners are engaged in robust debates, not only about how to research and practice philosophy with children and adolescents, but also about the very meanings of philosophy, childhood and education. These debates involve contested readings of the movement’s history and echo differences that arose among its early proponents. Philosophy for Children Founders seeks not to resolve these debates but to inform them with a historical perspective on the internal complexity of the movement’s central concepts, theories, and practices.

Each book in the series provides a single-source, critical anthology of the work of one founder of Philosophy for Children. The books are organized in thematic sections given to the founders’ most important scholarly and pedagogical innovations. Each section is introduced by a contemporary scholar who critically evaluates the founder’s work in a particular area and who has selected the essays to be reprinted in that section. The introduction to each book combines a biographical sketch with an assessment of the founder’s influence in the movement.

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