The If Odyssey

The If Odyssey was shortlisted for the Education Resources Award, Educational Book 2013 and was awarded the Bronze Prize for Primary Teacher Update's Annual Awards 2013.

Anything that inspires people to think and to understand how to think is a great boon. This book is just such a boon, and a great addition to the Worley assault on unthinkingness.

A. C. Grayling, Master of the New College of the Humanities


The If Odyssey: A Philosophical Journey Through Greek Myth and Storytelling for 8 - 16-Year-Olds, uses Homer’s classic Odyssey to introduce children to Philosophy, by drawing out the intellectual puzzles that lie behind many of the episodes in Odysseus’ long voyage home after the Trojan Wars. It is a fantastic way to introduce children not only to these exciting fables but also to that other great Ancient Greek legacy for world culture, Philosophy.

The book, following in the same pattern as its groundbreaking predecessor The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom [Bloomsbury Education, 2011], is perfect for teachers wanting to introduce Philosophy into their classroom and to explore Ancient Greek language, myth and culture.

Few feel comfortable telling the stories of Greek myth in their unexpurgated form, arguing that they express values at odds with our own. But this unique teaching resource sets out to prove their value and relevance as a rich source of philosophical ideas. Concepts explored in The If Odyssey include the value of happiness, just-war theory, non-existent entities, moral dilemmas, what is prophecy, the nature of love, free-will, heroism, personal identity, and more besides. The book sets out session plans and includes tips on storytelling skills to bring The Odyssey to life and stimulate independent, critical thinking with children (8-16). The book also has workshops on the Ancient Greek language and how it relates to our own. An online section enhances the book with dialogues that help the children explore the philosophy behind the sessions themselves, maps of Odysseus’ journey, a poem called ‘The Words of Tiresias’ that offers clues to Odysseus’ progress and Ancient Greek language worksheets.

Brilliantly thought-provoking, The If Odyssey hooks you from the start and draws you in as cleverly, compellingly and seemingly effortlessly as if it had been put together by the ‘wily’ Odysseus himself. This is philosophy at its most approachable.

David Stuttard, writer and classical historian, author of Power Games


Invaluable as a resource for Matthew Lipman’s P4C ‘Community of Enquiry’ method trained teachers, as well as for teachers or Philosophers trained in The Philosophy Foundations proprietary PhiE teaching method, the book is also perfect for teachers who want to introduce some Philosophy in to their classroom and for intellectually curious youngsters everywhere.