Philosophical Riddles

Philosophical Riddles


“How is the universe in which we live made?” “Is there something from which all things originate?” “What is a human being?”

A book to accompany children’s thought process and philosophical reasoning starting in primary school. With the help of teachers, children between 8 and 10 years of age will have the opportunity to engage in child-sized big challenges that will lead them to practice hypothetical-deductive thinking and enhance key skills that are transferable to different school subjects.

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“Philosophical Riddles” proposes 15 problems inspired by the history of philosophy, written in a child-friendly format, that are challenging and stimulate reflection in children from eight to ten years of age.

The problems are grouped into 4 sections, related to:

Philosophy of nature
(Natural phenomena)

• Everything that is;
• Towards the infinitely small;
• Towards the infinitely big;
• That which moves and that which stays still. 

Philosphy of humans
(Human beings)

• Minds that grow;
• A sense of justice;
• Forms of government;
• Imagining other worlds.

Philosophy of language
(Language and reasoning)

• The mystery of the origins of language;
• The paradox of the heap and other paradoxes;
• The strange relationship between words and things;
• Logic traps. 

Changing perspectives
(Activities for changing perspectives )

• A strange cave;
• Mr. Micromega;
• An unusual art gallery.

Each philosophical question is presented in the following way:

A page dedicated to the formulation of philosophical questions

A section dedicated to the philosophers’ points of view on the topic in question

A section with children’s points of view on the topic in question

A section dedicated to ideas for continuation with suggested readings, observations and experiences for the teacher

Here is an example of a philosophical question presented in the book:


Game: The Island of Utopia

The book “Philosophical Riddles” concludes with a simulation game on utopia, conceived to stimulate reflection on the profound social and political dimensions related to the transformation of the land. Observing the effects of their own choices on the environment (the island) and following the rules of the game, which permit a distinction between “private” and “public” choices, the participants will watch some features of the utopian landscape develop before their very eyes: features that they will be able to imagine and agree on together.


For some years, the importance of developing the use of key competences for all citizens and of planning school activities in terms of these skills has been emphasized. Philosophy can be very useful in this sense, considering above all the mutual skills which must be “trained” in relation to citizenship skills (learning to learn, plan, communicate, collaborate and participate, act autonomously and responsibly, solve problems, identify connections and relationships, acquire and interpret information). Since the skills can be conceived as a group of abilities, of knowledge and attitude implemented in a context, training these skills requires a preliminary creative effort to imagine situations which are favorable to their development. This is where philosophy can be of help, because it proposes problems that put concepts and experiences together in an unusual way, creating favorable conditions for reflecting on what is known and what is not yet known, on one’s own limits and on the different strategies that can be adopted individually and in group when grappling with difficult questions, while valuing the errors and provisional hypotheses made.