Taking Children Seriously

Taking Children Seriously (T.C.S.) is a parenting movement and educational philosophy whose central idea is that it is possible and desirable to raise and educate children without either doing anything to them against their will, or making them do anything against their will.

It was founded in 1994 as an on-line mailing-list by the libertarians Sarah Fitz-Claridge and David Deutsch. Deutsch is also a theoretical physicist at Oxford University.[1]

T.C.S. begins with the observation that most traditional interactions between adults and youth are based on coercion. The T.C.S. model of parenting and education rejects this coercion as infringing on the will of the child, and also rejects parental or educator "self-sacrifice" as infringing on the will of the adult. T.C.S. advocates that parents and children work to find a common preference, a solution all parties genuinely prefer to all other candidate solutions they can think of.[2]

The T.C.S. philosophy was inspired by the epistemology of Karl Popper. Popper was a professional educator himself before he started to do philosophy. In fact, philosophy was only a second option for him at that time, to be able to emigrate to escape the imminent Anschluss. He was active in the Wiener Schulreform (Vienna school reform) movement,[3][4] and there are connections between the psychology of learning, on which he did his doctoral thesis,[5] and his philosophy.[6] However, as a philosopher, he did not advocate any concrete pedagogy, although he had some general views on the issue.[7] T.C.S. views Popper's epistemology, as Popper himself, as a universal theory of how knowledge grows, and tries to work out its profound implications for educational theory.


  1. "Origins of TCS."
  2. "Taking Children Seriously common preferences and non-coercion."
  3. Karl R. Popper (1925) "Über die Stellung des Lehrers zu Schule und Schüler," Schulreform 4(4): 204–208.
  4. Popper, K. R. (1927) "Zur Philosophie des Heimatgedankens," Die Quelle 77(10): 899–908.
  5. Popper, K. R. (1928) Zur Methodenfrage der Denkpsychologie. Wien (unpublished dissertation).
  6. William W. Bartley (1970) "Die österreichische Schulreform als die Wiege der modernen Philosophie" in Gerhard Szcesny, ed., Club Voltaire IV. Hamburg: 360. ISBN 3-499-65086-X.
  7. Champion, Rafe (1987) "Popper on Education."

External links

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