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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
x posted in school forum too.

quote:

"Consider the child, for example. Today we believe that babies are born with the ability to feel many emotions, but that their capacities for rational thought are not yet developed. In effect, we believe that the child's mind must "mature." Yet, as the historian Philippe Aries demonstrates, for much of Western history - roughly until the seventeenth century - childhood was not considered to be a state of mental immaturity, a state somehow different or separated from that of adult faculties, but simply without the experience to make full use of them." Thus Montaigne wrote in his essay on children's education that philosophical discourse should be introduced at a very early age - in fact, "from the moment it is weaned, the child will, in any case, be able to understand philosophical discourses." These understandings of the child corresponded to patterns of conduct. Montaigne wrote of a friend's child who read Greek, Latin, and Hebrew when he was six years old, and translated Plato into French before he was eight. In the upper classes, reading and writing were common by the age of four; children were able to read the Bible and discuss complex matters of moral principle before they were five. Looking through the lens of contremporary beliefs about the "maturing mind," such abilities border on the incomprehensible."

i'd love to research and find out how these kids were instructed. it's amazing that so many children were capable of this kind of academic achievement, but at the same time i suspect that the means didn't justify the ends, iykwim.
 

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consider reading a book by Helen DeWitt called The Last Samurai (not the same book that the Tom Cruise movie is based on). It's fiction, but it points to the same idea and may give you some ideas.
 
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