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ERIC Number: EJ1141454
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jun
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
"But the Soldier's Remains Were Gone": Thought Experiments in Children's Literature
Sainsbury, Lisa
Children's Literature in Education, v48 n2 p152-168 Jun 2017
In this article thought experiments are uncovered as key stimuli of philosophical potential in children's literature and their presentation and function is examined in a selection of focal texts, including: Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1865) and "Through the Looking-Glass" (1871); "Even the Parrot" by Dorothy Sayers (1944); Nina Bawden's "Carrie's War" (1974); and "A Game of Soldiers" (1985) by Jan Needle. The thought experiment is a device common to science and philosophy and has been recognised as an heuristic tool in literature generally, but here children's literature is drawn into the conversation, revealing that--as a dynamic mechanism of children's narrative--thought experiments have a long-standing and particular role to play in books for young people. This paper connects with a recent turn in children's literature discourse toward the conditions of power in books for young readers; it moves on the debate by demonstrating that the apparatus of thought experimentation places the implied child reader in a position of philosophical responsibility and forward thinking. Presenting thought experiments in different ways, formal properties of the thought experiment--such as conversational mode, double engagement and modal positioning--are identified and shown to open up a philosophical space of subsequence in children's texts.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A