The dispositional ingredients at the heart of questioning and inquiry

Laurance J Splitter


I offer a modified characterisation of the dispositional grounds of inquiry, in which both the state of knowledge of those involved and their desire for answers or solutions are supplemented by a more nuanced set of dispositions, central to which is the intended transition from a state of unsettlement (or tension) to one of settlement with respect to those who ask and respond to the questions (especially students and teachers). I test this characterisation against the Question Quadrant, a familiar device used by philosophy in schools practitioners to assist them and their students to identify philosophical questions and distinguish them from other kinds of question. While appreciating its practical utility, I submit that this device fails to capture key elements of what we mean, or should mean, by such terms as ‘open questions’ and ‘inquiry’, with respect both to philosophy and to other disciplines. 

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