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Introduction to the Project on Bioethics for Informed Choices - page 18 / 115





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548Challenges for Bioethics from Asia

Education enables children to think for themselves

"Anything that helps us to discover meaning in life is educational, and the schools are educational only insofar as they do facilitate such discovery" (Lipman, Sharp and Oscanyan,1980)

Children realize what things are important through their own experiences.  This is how things come to have meaning for them.  The process makes it necessary to enable children to think for themselves.

Community of Inquiry

Thinking for oneself is a central aim of philosophy for children.  Children ought to be capable of recreating the society in which they live as they grow up in a critical, careful and creative way.

A Community of Inquiry has the following features:  (G. Smith 1999)

1. An agenda determined by students

2. Free exchange of ideas

3. Atmosphere of openness

4. Participants’ ownership of discussion

5. Relevance to life

6. Question finding

7. Teacher as participant and learner.

A genuine community of inquiry is based on: Mutual respect and The members’ volunteer commitment to search for something in common.  “In the community of inquiry children . . . experience for themselves what it is like to live and to participate in a community in which all members are treated equally, all abide by the same self generated rules and all cooperate and help each other in finding meaning to their lives. And the teacher, while being an authority figure is not authoritarian at all, but a guardian of impartiality. Children who have partaken of this experience will surely grow up to become persons who care for other people and are willing to help build a better society.” (Navarro, 1998)

Learning as Discovery and Invention

The philosophy for children program emphasis the discussion process and not the achievement of a particular conclusion (the process, rather than the product).

To learn something is to learn it again with the same discovery spirit that was once experienced when it was discovered, or with the same spirit of invention that was predominant when it was invented.

3. A Xenotransplantation Narrative: Jerry and Bibi

Jerry and Bibi were in the waiting room at the clinic of one of the best transplant doctors in the country.  The clinic was located in a very busy hospital and other people easily noticed that Jerry and Bibi were very close friends.  

Jerry was a 12-year-old boy and Bibi was his pet pig.  Bibi often went with Jerry to places were pets were allowed.  This time, Bibi felt that Jerry needed company because he was not getting any better even if he was taking a lot of medicines.  

Inside the clinic, Doctor Snow examined Jerry.  He explained that there was a long list of people who needed organs and it would take a lot of time before he could have a transplanted kidney.  

Bibi: “How could that happen?  Are there not enough good people? Why can’t a person give a kidney to someone who is dying?”

Dr. Snow : “It’s not as simple as that.  One has to take risks in giving a kidney. One has to go through an operation.”

Bibi: “I’m not afraid!  I’ll give Jerry one of my kidneys.”

Dr. Snow: “Are you kidding?”

Bibi:  “I’m serious! I’ll do anything for my dear friend.”

Jerry: “But it’s not fair.  Why do animals always have to suffer for human beings? Are you not going to die if you do that?”

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