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As If: Truth and Lies in Fiction

Here’s a Sudanese storyteller’s opener: ‘I’m going to tell a story It’s a lie. But not everything in it is false.’ From Norma J. Livo and Sandra Rietz Storytelling Process and Practice (1986) And here is an extract from the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy’s entry on holes: ‘Naive...

Ages: All | All

Themes: Truth & Falsity

Is it a Lie?

Stimulus: By Steven Hoggins Jeff (the children chose the names) is playing ball outside and kicks it through a window. The owner comes out and says: "Did you break my window?" Jeff responds with, “no." Task Questions:  Did Jeff lie? What makes it a lie/not a lie? The children talked abo...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2), Ages 5-7 (KS1)

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Truth & Falsity, Memory, Meaning, Language

Paradoxes: fun with logic!

The Philosophy A paradox is a very strange thing: it is an anomaly of reasoning, and, whereas good reasoning is thought to produce sound conclusions, paradoxes can challenge this assumption. With paradoxes the reasoning may appear good but the conclusion that follows absurd. The word comes from Ancient Greek: para meaning ‘distinct from...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3)

Subjects: Logic

Themes: Truth & Falsity, Reasoning, Paradoxes, Logic, Ancient Greek


Starter activity I start by getting the children to play a game of 'True For You'; they should change places if what I say is true for them. After beginning with a couple of easy ones ('I am a girl', 'I am wearing red' etc) I usually include a couple of slightly harder ones ('I don't understand the rules to thi...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Logic

Themes: Truth & Falsity, Logic

Tabby Is A Cat

The Philosophy This session was designed to focus specifically on logic. There was a class who would agree to logically inconsistent statements without realising it (eg. 'Is it possible to think of nothing?' 'No' Did you think of nothing? 'Yes'). So the children are asked to say which sentences are consistent. In ...

Ages: Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Logic

Themes: Truth & Falsity

The Gruffalo (book needed)

You are going to need the book 'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson for this session. The Little Brown Mouse says that she has a friend called a Gruffalo, but she knows ‘there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo’. Until, she meets one... Task Questions: Did the Little Brown Mouse tell a lie? What is lying? If...

Ages: Ages 5-7 (KS1), Ages 3-5 (EYFS)

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Truth & Falsity, True, Reality, Beliefs

The Hypothesis Box - thinking about science

Taken from Peter Worley's book '40 Lessons to Get Children Thinking', Bloomsbury September 2015 Equipment needed and preparation: An enclosed non-transparent box, A ball (optional - see below) Starting age: 10 years Key concept / vocabulary: Hypothesis, test, show, demonstrate, true, false, knowledge Subject lin...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3)

Subjects: Science , RE

Themes: Truth & Falsity, Reasoning, Hypothesis

Truth & Falsity

Stimulus Write the following statements on the board and ask: Are these a) true, b) false, c) neither or d) both? 'I am 20. 'I am me.' 'The Simpsons is a really good programme.' 'I am shopping in Lewisham' (when the speaker is shopping, but not in Lewisham) 'This cake is made of jelly' (whe...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Epistemology

Themes: Truth & Falsity, Paradoxes, Knowledge

Two-eyed aliens

This session was developed by specialist David Birch on the topic of Newspapers. You might want to run this along with the Knowledge session, using newspaper headlines as the sentences in the Knowledge session. Thinking Game Break the circle on 'lying'. Stimulus (Use the powerpoint attached to take you through the session.) ...

Ages: Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Metaphysics, Ethics

Themes: Utilitarianism, Truth & Falsity, News, Knowledge, Deontology