Part 2. Developing Moral Reasoning
A philosophy curriculum for children must not begin with erudition, merely living wonder. It must also begin by distinguishing philosophical questions from other sorts of questions. There is a profound difference between asking how many fingers are on my hands, and asking whether having ten fingers is why we like the number ten so much. The first question is primarily a scientific or mathematical question; the second is largely a philosophical or teleological question. And though there is no question that cannot be approached from either perspective, it essential, when guiding children through their own philosophical concerns, to start initially with a distinction between philosophy and the other disciplines. And it is that initial distinction between philosophical questions and other sorts of questions that allows a place for pure philosophical wondering to begin, even if that distinction is merely an artificial stipulation.
So the young philosopher must begin by learning to recognize the sorts of questions, that easily allow for philosophical inquiry and to distinguish these from other sorts of questions, such as questions that generally entail empirical observation or even questions about faith which also are generally considered resistant to philosophical inquiry. Once the domain of philosophical inquiry is thereby loosely outlined, and distinguished from other disciplines such as questions of science, math and religion, the student can then begin to engage in philosophical inquiry within a separate context. And in this fashion our young philosopher, without fear of religious or political censure, can begin to engage safely in the process of inquiring about coherencies and incoherencies --analyses that hang together and analyses that don't hang together in an entirely philosophical way.
Now to attempt to demonstrate how philosophy is a necessary condition for moral reasoning. Essential for philosophical reasoning and therefore moral reasoning is the notion of "fittingness." This initial insight comes from an amalgamation of David Hume’s moral philosophy of moral sentiment and Maurice Mandelbaum’s book, The Phenomenology of Moral Experience.