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The Role of a Facilitator in a Community of Philosophical Inquiry

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Community of philosophical inquiry (CPI) is a way of practicing philosophy in a group that is characterized by conversation; that creates its discussion agenda from questions posed by the conversants as a response to some stimulus (whether text or some other media); and that includes discussion of specific philosophers or philosophical traditions, if at all, only in order to develop its own ideas about the concepts under discussion. The epistemological conviction of community of philosophical inquiry is that communal dialogue, facilitated by a philosophically educated person, recapitulates and reconstructs the major elements—and even the positions or claims—of the tradition, in one form or another, through the distributed thinking characteristic of dialogical discourse. The pedagogical locus of control of CPI is the group as a whole, which is understood as potentially self-regulating through a process of ongoing dialectical transformation. The role of the facilitator is to act, among other things, from the Socratic “position of ignorance” as a bridge between concepts and arguments and as a trigger for conceptual system transformation.
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Keywords: community of inquiry; dialectical thinking; philosophical dialogue; systems theory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: College of Education and Human Services, Montclair State University, USA

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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