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Maria Tillmanns


Iguana Books, Toronto, Canadá, publicó mis cinco libros, Why We are in Need of Tails (ilustrado por Blair Thornley) y Why We are in Need of Tales, descubriendo tesoros filosóficos en libros ilustrados Parte I-IV. Las ilustraciones de estos libros son de los niños de El Toyon Elementary (una escuela marginada en San Diego) cuando yo era filósofo residente. Antes de eso, fui filósofo residente en La Jolla Country Day School (una escuela privada). Enseñé en la Universidad de California, San Diego durante diez años. En 1998 recibí mi doctorado de la Universidad de Illinois. Mi disertación es sobre Consejería y Enseñanza Filosófica: “Manteniendo la Tensión” en un Mundo Dualista. En Holanda, llevé a cabo un programa de Filosofía para Niños en dos Escuelas Internacionales a principios de los 90. Ran Lahav y yo coeditamos “Essays on Philosophical Counseling” (1995). Tengo publicaciones en revistas holandesas, británicas, americanas, rusas y surcoreanas.

Exploring How the Huk and Tuk Series is an Invitation to Dialogue

What makes Philosophy philosophical is that it asks questions about a world infinitely
larger than ourselves. That has interesting implications, because we’re not just asking
questions that we can find an answer to, but about questions we cannot possibly answer;
questions of not-knowing. For most, this level of uncertainty is unlivable. But, It is
precisely this level of not-knowing that gives us the room to reflect. One cannot reflect on
a closed system. A closed system with a final answer inhibits the questioning process.
There is also a part of ourselves that is beyond our grasp of knowing and thereby creates
the space to self-reflect. Philosophy creates the space necessary to pursue truth wherever
it leads, as opposed to finding truth. Certainly, we have found truths in the sciences and
truths about the human condition in the humanities. But these truths function as leads to
ever-larger contexts of inquiry. Philosophy is the art of questioning and finds creative
ways to ask the next question. Not all that different from a detective who always asks the
next possible, even improbable question to create a bigger picture of what may have
happened. The ancient Greek tradition of practicing parrhesia is in fact the tradition of
not stopping at anything, even if it means questioning authority and those in power. This
can be very daunting and it takes enormous courage to take the act of questioning that far.
In fact, journalists now a days around the world face death threats and death by asking
questions that expose the practices of those in power. Parrhesia can also be practiced vis-
à-vis the self. It involves relentless and rigorous self-questioning or self-critical
questioning. The objective is not to find a final answer; it is the process of questioning
itself that can lead us to far deeper ways of understanding. Understanding in contrast to
knowledge can hold the tension between dichotomous viewpoints in a way that
knowledge cannot. Knowledge teaches us that there can be either particles or waves, and
not both. But by expanding our view to incorporate these dichotomous views gives us a
deeper understanding of the world we live in. We have to incorporate many other factors
as well, such as the role of the observer to get a broader view of this reality we are trying
to understand. At the heart of the art of questioning is the notion of aporia, the ancient
Greek notion of puzzlement and wonderment. But this notion of puzzlement is not non-
committal. I have to be capable of putting one’s beliefs and truths on the line for the sake
of developing a deeper understanding. In the process, one discovers one’s touchstones of
reality, meaning those values underlining my beliefs and truths. These touchstones,
however, are not cut in stone and can change as a result of developing a deeper
understanding. Huk and Tuk, the main characters in the From Tails to Tales book series,
model how to question the world and oneself freely. Huk and Tuk enjoy discussing
picture book tales together and invite us into the dialogue as well. In the process we learn
to not only reflect on the questions raised in these tales, but to self-reflect. What do I

think and why? This exercise in self-reflection helps to develop self-knowledge – and
getting to know oneself. Self-reflection is self-examination and a process that requires the
courage to question one’s self and with it that which gives the self its identity. To put
one’s identity on the line for the sake of developing a deeper understanding is not easily
learned. We tend to respond reactively when we feel our identity is questioned and
learning how to respond instead of react does not come easy. But to start this process
with children when their beliefs are not yet cut in stone allows them to remain flexible
thinkers as they grow up and cope with the uncertainty of ever-deeper questions. In fact,
this type of questioning keeps their curiosity alive, which is otherwise often deadened
with what we now call knowledge.
The presentation will include excerpts from Why We Are in Need of Tales.

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