Open Textbook in Library

Approach and Theoretic Background

We believe that our abilities as critical and creative thinkers are interconnected with our capacity for feeling and social interaction. Directing attention to what it feels like to be in dialogue with others is as important to us as questioning logical inferences, and we believe that both contribute to skilful reasoning. 

This approach has been developed through our experience with Philosophy for Children (P4C), our academic background in embodied cognition, and our interest in Bohm dialogues. These three specialisms combine to provide a framework that allows participants to explore their attitudes and the limits of their understanding, creating opportunities to learn about themselves and others. 

Philosophy For Children

Philosophy for Children (P4C) makes philosophy an energising and engaging activity. It helps participants to think through issues on their own terms, explain their ideas and listen to others. Facilitators use questioning and a range of activities to examine participants' basic  beliefs and assumptions, thereby encouraging them to analyse and evaluate different views. Despite the name, this is a methodology that is often used with a wide variety of people of all ages.

Embodied Cognition

Our approach is also grounded in philosophy and psychology of embodied cognition, which recognises that our capacity for thought emerges with our existence as social and embodied creatures who use feeling to navigate the world. Developing participants’ ability to engage with others - and become aware of their feelings as they do so - therefore comes hand-in-hand with developing their critical and creative thinking skills. We are also keen to increasingly incorporate activities that use the arts, senses and movement, to support a whole range of learning styles and support the connection between the body, feelings and ideas.

Bohm Dialogues

Bohm dialogues encourage participants to suspend their judgement of themselves and others, and pay attention to how they feel, allowing participants to become less invested in their views, and more able to consider a range of reasons and perspectives. Bohm dialogues aim to develop group cohesion, and encourage collaborative thinking, allowing participants to explore ideas beyond what they would be able to do alone. 


Our approaches are therefore grounded in our pedagogical understanding and our academic background in embodied cognition. Rosa Hardt has written a PhD thesis about the relationship between our emotional and rational capacities, and has published on the important contribution of our emotional capacities to moral agency. Daniela Machado has completed a MSc thesis on Bohm Dialogues, specifically the relationship between dialogues and tacit thought. 

Their approach is also informed by:

  • Adloff, F., Gerund, K., & Kaldewey, D. (Eds.). (2015). Revealing tacit knowledge: Embodiment and explication . Bielefeld: Transcript.

  • Ballantyne, D. (2004). Dialogue and its role in the development of relationship specific knowledge. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing , 19 (2), 114-123.

  • Bohm, D., & Nichol, L. (1996). On Dialogue . 

  • Bohm, D. (1980). Wholeness and the implicate order . Routledge.

  • DaVenza Tillmans, M. “Philosophy with Children and the Proprioception of Thinking.” , The American Philosophical Association, 1 July 2019,

  • Hurley (2008). The shared circuits model (SCM): How control, mirroring, and simulation can enable imitation, deliberation, and mindreading. Brain and Behaviour Sciences.

  • Merleau Ponty, (2013). The Phenomenology of Perception, Routledge

  • Polanyi, M. (1966). The tacit dimension . University of Chicago press.

  • Taylor, C. (1985). Human agency and language. Cambridge University Press.

  • Thompson, E. (2007). Mind in life: Biology, phenomenology, and the sciences of mind. Harvard University Press.

  • Velleman, J. D. (2003). Narrative explanation. The philosophical review, 112(1), 1-25.