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Who am I?
What does being different mean?
What actually has value?

Based on such questions, children, young people or adults are encouraged to do research together in specially guided, philosophical discussions. Philosophising is far more than just asking a question: Philosophising offers a protected, appreciative framework in which one's own thoughts, values ??and attitude can be viewed and developed. Every contribution is just as valuable as the lived appreciation in the conversation. The philosophical moderator accompanies and guides the group in this process. The technique and method used by the academy also includes special, practical exercises that are adapted to the topic and lead in depth.

...listening, thinking, exchanging....

Why philosophise?

Philosophising offers an opportunity to find out more about one's own self and, for example, the questions "What can I do? What do I want?" to look at more closely. It helps to find your own orientation in life - without having to rely on ready-made answers, supposed solutions or advice. The own, self-developed thoughts and ideas thus receive a completely different quality. In principle, philosophising is not a treatment of philosophy or the history of philosophy, but a cultural technique and an educational principle.
Through philosophising together in the group, dealing with existential questions is not only initiated and promoted, but the children and young people can also bring in their own questions. This creates a conscious self-image in every individual from the very beginning. In today's time of disorientation and "often being left alone" this is an important and healing contribution that philosophising can make. Unfortunately, the framework is all too often lacking where research is carried out on important life issues. And although it is firmly anchored in the school curriculum, for example, the opportunities to develop and promote critical thinking are very limited. But philosophising makes it possible to let your thoughts free and to think a lot in new ways!

p4c in an elementary school in Vienna


Promote dialogue and skills

Philosophising together supports the children and young people in their development by promoting their ability to engage in dialogue and democratic cooperation and encourage them to think creatively and to empathize with the ideas and perceptions of others. Anyone looking for answers to philosophical questions must be open to the perspectives of others, think creatively and logically and be able to justify their own point of view. In philosophising, however, one also approaches the nature and meaning of one's own feelings, thoughts, perceptions and values.
Especially in heterogeneous groups, which are increasingly to be found in kindergarten or at school, philosophising together has a strongly integrative character. When philosophising, topics such as being different, tolerance or prejudices are taken up. It has been shown in practice that regular philosophising in an educational institution has significantly changed the appreciation, consideration and self-confidence of the individual children and young people for the better.

In concrete terms, the following qualities and skills are enabled and promoted through philosophising:

  • positive self-concepts

  • self-efficacy

  • Curiosity and individual interests

  • differentiated perceptions, ability to think and solve problems

  • imagination and creativity

  • Respect and appreciation for others

  • Empathy and perspective-taking

  • Communication, cooperation and conflict skills
    ability to concentrate


secondary school, Vienna

Of course, it always depends on the group or class that is being philosophised with, which of these points requires special attention. As a result, our training courses also provide methodical and didactic techniques that make it possible to respond to the respective target groups.The academy offers special training in philosophical discussion as well as workshops and seminars on the subject of "philosophising with children and young people" in order to make this educational principle accessible in Austria.

Philosophising as a principle of education

Philosophising as an educational principle has already been successfully implemented in many schools and institutions (worldwide) and the Academy has also been able to achieve success in a wide variety of projects in Austria (see cooperation). Integrating or implementing philosophising into existing teaching systems is a major challenge in our time. The Academy strives to underline the sustainability of philosophising and the positive effects on future generations, because these are verifiable and already firmly established in many institutions. A well-known example is the former focal point school of Thomas E. Jackson, who managed to change an entire school with regular philosophising (see

Uly Paya in conversation with Thomas E. Jackson

For a renewal of the education system in Austria, it would be an opportunity to recognize the added value of this educational principle and to offer it in a practicable way in teacher or elementary education training. The academy is therefore trying to make philosophising better known to the public and to convince institutions and politicians of its possibilities and opportunities.
The establishment of philosophising as an educational principle also requires a rethink and the willingness of the implementing institutions, educators or educators. Philosophising is initially a challenge for pedagogical specialists, since common teaching methods can hardly be applied here. However, it has been shown in our training courses that the added value for all educators and participants is very high. Regular philosophising brings her and her daily educational work with children and young people to a completely new level.


"How do we actually want to live?"

Especially in times when bullying, prejudice and discrimination are recurring themes, there is hardly any framework or opportunity for children and young people to address these difficult issues. Institutions and teachers are often forced to resort to traditional sanctions. It would be very easy to accommodate many disruptions and difficulties in terms of the discipline and motivation of young people and to look at, discuss and further develop the topics together, namely WITH the children and young people. The "social potential", the creativity and the will to contribute is hardly or not at all supported in our current system. The guided, philosophical conversation could provide the framework to develop respectful interaction and an appreciative attitude towards others, to prevent conflicts and to increase the motivation of the new generation. It strengthens social skills and includes many areas of personality development, which is essential for motivating people to take up a job and strive for a fulfilling life.


kindergarden, Wien


theory versus practice
Philosophising must be taught didactically and methodically, but first and foremost it must be learned in a well-founded and practical way. At present, such practical training does NOT take place at the teacher training colleges (PHs) or federal educational institutions (Bakips) in Austria, and if so, then mostly only purely informally and theoretically. However, philosophising behaves like a climbing or dance course, where the prospective climbing or dance leader needs a lot of practice with a lot of practice in order to be able to establish philosophising in a group. For educators and teachers, for example, this may mean questioning their own role understanding.
The academy recognized the dichotomy between theory and practice right from the start and focuses on the practical implementation of philosophising and practical training in workshops, seminars and the Philo-Camp. The participants of the training are not dependent on a theoretical or self-taught occupation with the history of philosophy, but receive a practical training in philosophical conversation that is tailored to their personal experiences and goals.
The Academy is pleased about the increase in interest in philosophising. Quite often we receive inquiries from philosophers who have completed their studies or from those who would like to write a diploma thesis on the subject of philosophising. After a few queries, it quickly becomes clear how far removed the ideas of philosophising are from real practice. Theories and models on the subject of philosophising are already available in countless books. It may therefore be surprising at first why philosophising is not established in so few schools or educational institutions. From our point of view, this is due to the old forms of teaching, which seem difficult to overcome, and on the other hand to the lack of training offers, which focus on feasibility.


“Among my teenagers there was a girl who never said anything while philosophising for about 3 months. But she always listened with great interest and very carefully. Then suddenly she broke the silence because it was about home and she was now saying something about it. That was a magical moment for everyone. Since then, she has become much more involved in the talks..."
(Teacher's Report from a secondary school, where weekly philosophising took place.)

Philosophising means practical action, exchange and experience! It is also a very inviting and open form of dialogue. Children, youth and adults can ask questions like "What is freedom?" or "Where does life come from?" place, just like over 2000 years ago. These questions are more relevant than ever in our information society!
The academy would like to make philosophising accessible to all social classes and age groups in Austria and promote it in order to positively shape healthy coexistence for future generations. The academy therefore offers well-founded, certified training (=diploma course) in philosophical discussion as well as workshops and seminars on the subject of "philosophising with children and young people" in order to spread and implement this educational principle in Austria.


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