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In this course I will tell you how to ask children questions that can help the children to think. These are not ordinary questions; they are metaphysical questions, which don’t have single and clear-cut answers.
We cannot answer a metaphysical question by using out past experience or by finding out a suitable formula. Answering this sort of questions requires the application of our natural creative ability.
I asked these questions to children in Russia and the UK and was surprised how thoughtful and interesting the children’s answers could be.
Every lecture in this course can be also used as a practice exercise. Those of you who want to help their children to apply their creative ability can simply ask the children these questions, without caring much about the kids’ answers. All what is important is that the children could hear these questions and ponder over them. This might be enough to awaken the thinker in the child.
Those of you who want to dig more deeply could compare your children’s answers with the answers that my children gave and try to analyze common points and differences.
The course includes an introductory lecture, two sections and fourteen lectures. Section 1 covers dialogues about the world and Section 2 - dialogues about a human being. Lectures include author’s texts, author’s videos, animated graphs and pictures.
I built this course for students in social sciences, specialists in education, psychology, philosophy, writers for children, artists and everyone who is curious to learn more about children’s ability to think and reason
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In this lecture, I will introduce you to the course and briefly describe the content of subsequent lectures
|Section 1: Dialogues about metaphysical problems of reality|
•In this lecture we will talk about the difference between the concepts of psychological and physical phenomena.
We will see how children of various ages reason about the inseparable unity between mind and body of a living person.
•In this lecture we will explore what kind of criteria the children use in order to distinguish between truth and falsity.
•Further, we will examine how the children distinguish true knowledge from probabilistic knowledge and dogmatic knowledge.
In this lecture we willfind out how children define the concept of the Almighty Subject and whether they can admit that the Almighty Subject can exist not only in their imagination but in the real world as well.
In the end of this lecture I will tell you about experiments with adults in which attempts were made to help the participants understand that the Almighty Subject can exist in the real world.
•In this lecture we will examine whether the children can understand that sensations are subjective qualities and are not contained in physical objects that cause these sensations.
Next, we will carry out a thought experiment, with the aim of helping the children to understand subjective nature of sensations.
In this lecture we will talk about the difference between dreams and reality>
We will examine how children of various ages distinguish people and objects that they can see in their dreams from real people ans objects.
And how they discover that they woke up and are no longer asleep.
|Section 2: Dialogues about metaphysical problems of the human being|
In this lecture we will explore how children reason about the sensations of a newborn baby and what role language plays in psychological development.
We will examine whether the children can understand that knowledge of moral rules in not necessarily accompanied by compliance with those rules.
In this lecture we will speak with the children about how we develop wishes and who is responsible for our voluntary actions.
We will also find out whether the children understand the difference between our thoughts and putting those thoughts into practice.
•(1) the potentially unlimited nature of human wishes and passions;
•(2) the inherent impossibility for an individual to accomplish all of his or her desires.
•We will also carry out a thought experiment, in which the children will be put in a situation where all of their wishes come true.
•In this lecture we will examine at what age children start to understand that a person has unconscious psychological processes.
•We will carry out thought experiments with the aim of enhancing children’s understanding of such processes.
•In this lecture we will examine how children understand the difference between the external world and their internal psychological world.
•We will also find out whether the children attribute the inner world to animals, plants and inanimate objects.
In this lecture we will examine whether children can understand that the time of a human life is limited.
We will then carry out a thought experiment in which a child is offered to live for ever, and see how the child represents his or her eternal life
•We will examine at what age the children start to realise that a person’s subjective world is private and can not be accessed directly by other people.
•Finally, we will find out when the children begin to understand that having the boundary between inner and outer worlds is necessary for human existence.
Eugene Subbotsky obtained a PhD in Developmental Psychology at Moscow State University. He taught at Moscow State University, Russia (1975-1990), Lancaster University, UK (1991-2013) and was an Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellow at Konstanz University, West Germany (1990-1991). He is known internationally for research on children's moral development, the development of children's metaphysical reasoning, and the development of magical thinking and behaviour over life span. He conducted research in Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, USA and Mexico. He published over 100 papers in scientific journals and is the author of 12 books, including those published by Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press, and Psychology Press. Eugene is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a BPS charted psychologist, a Member of the BPS Division of Teachers and Researchers in Psychology.