The importance of sentiment in promoting reasonableness in children

The importance of sentiment in promoting reasonableness in children

By Michael S. Pritchard

Anthem Impact

Paperback, 88 Pages


August 2022

£20.99, $24.95

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About This Book


“This is a valuable addition to the resurgent literature of Philosophy for Children, by one of the movement’s pioneers. It deploys a subtle and fascinating reading of eighteenth-century moral sentimentalist philosophy in advancing our understanding of the ways in which philosophical conversations with children can advance their character development and capacities of moral inquiry.”—Randall Curren, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of Department of Philosophy, University of Rochester, USA.

“It is reasonable to assume that any new book by Michael Pritchard, including The Importance of Sentiment in Promoting Reasonableness in Children, is worthy of serious attention. He has devoted his scholarly work to thinking deeply about the qualities that make us human: how we educate ourselves and our children, how we treat each other, and how we live together in civil society. In this book, he features the ideas of three prominent eighteenth-century Scottish philosophers alongside the work of prominent contemporary philosophers and childhood educators such as John Dewey and Vivian Gussin Paley. Along with them, Pritchard is a staunch advocate of children; he knows that they eagerly and naturally engage in reflective inquiry, and that it is our collective responsibility to help them understand the interplay between their feelings and actions, and to nurture their moral imagination.”—Roberta Israeloff, Director, The Squire Family Foundation.

“Michael Pritchard’s book is a succinct and admirably reasoned account of how three eighteenth-century Scottish philosophers—Thomas Reid, Adam Smith, and David Hume—argued for the moral development of children and especially how they come to reason far earlier than parents might think.”—Wade L. Robison, Professor of Philosophy and holder of Ezra Hale Endowed Chair of Ethics,Rochester Institute of Technology, USA.

“Anyone concerned with evaluating school programs to support development of reasonableness in children should read this book. It carefully examines the philosophical basis of reasonableness and shows by practical example how philosophical conversations help children acquire that combination of critical thinking and moral commitment needed to advance reasonableness.”—Stephen Simmons, MBE, BDS, DDPH.RCS, MCDS, FFPH.RCP(retd).

“Michael Pritchard’s Promoting Reasonableness in Children makes a convincing case for integrating philosophical reflection and critical reasoning into early education curricula. The book is a valuable contribution to the conversation among educators on the importance of stimulating the natural curiosity of young people and cultivating thoughtful dialogue on moral issues.”—Alan A. Preti, PhD, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Rosemont College, Pennsylvania.

“Such an incredibly timely book! In an age fraught with misinformation, epistemic responsibility is now crucially important. Reviewing the insights of giants of reasonableness, Thomas Reid, Adam Smith, and David Hume, Dr. Pritchard’s new book reminds us that children are not only capable of becoming critical thinkers, but eager to develop the skills of philosophical analysis.”—Professor Jeffrey S. Nielsen, Lecturer in Applied Ethics, Utah Valley University, Utah.

“Promoting Reasonableness in Children is an important culminating chapter in Michael Pritchard’s lifelong work on philosophy for children. Appealing to well-known Scottish and British eighteenth-century philosophers, Pritchard uses their thinking to mold a program for developing reasonableness even in small children. This unique clearly written approach is an essential contribution to the field of philosophy for children.”—Professor Patricia Werhane, Emerita Endowed Chair of Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University (Chicago) and Endowed Chair in Business at University of Virginia.

“In this book, Pritchard applies the insights of eighteenth-century Scottish philosophers to a project that they themselves viewed as vital: the moral education of children.”—James Foster, University of Sioux Falls, Editor of the Journal of Scottish Philosophy.

Author Information

Michael S. Pritchard is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Western Michigan University (USA). His teaching has focused on practical and theoretical ethics, the philosophical thinking of children, and eighteenth-century Scottish philosophy.


Anthem Impact

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Dedication; Preface; 1. Reasonable Children?; 2. Thomas Reid on the “Seeds of Morality”; 3. Smith’s “Impartial Spectator”; 4. Reason and Sentiment in Morality; 5. The Premise of a Promise; 6. Conversation and Critical Thinking; Concluding Thoughts ; Bibliography; Index


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