BN, BA, B.Phil, M.Litt, PhD

Instructor, Philosophy
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
School of Humanities

604.986.1911 ext. 3002
Fir Building, room FR 420


M.Litt., Philosophy, Oxford University, England, 1985.

PhD, Interdisciplinary: Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, 1981.

B.Phil., Philosophy, Oxford University, England, 1974.

BA (Honours), Philosophy, McGill University, Montreal, 1971.

BN, McGill University, Montreal, 1969.

"At its best, schooling can be about how to make a life, which is quite different from how to make a living. – Neil Postman"


Susan Gardner (PhD, Concordia University, 1981) is a philosopher. Her main research focuses on critical thinking and Philosophy for Children (P4C). According to Gardner, a necessary condition of a well-lived life is that one learn how to think well.

However, thinking well requires both the skill and motivation to impartially evaluate multiple and potentially contradictory points of views. Because seriously considering the merits of opposing viewpoints is particularly difficult in situations in which one has much to gain by bowing to the dictates of ones own internal or external choir, an education that shakes up the normal script of reasoning only after one has decided the answer is crucial.

To that end, learning how to think impartially is the focus of Gardner's critical thinking text Thinking Your Way to Freedom. It is also the focus of her many forays into the field of Philosophy for Children.

Gardner is the director of The Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children (VIP4C), and the director of a P4C camp held every July at the University of the Fraser Valley, called The Thinking Playground. 

Gardner is also a director of The North American Association of the Community of Inquiry (NAACI).

Whether focusing on real life issues that are picked by the students, or more academic material such as those in the sub-disciplines of biomedical and environmental ethics, my primary concern is that students learn how to impartially evaluate potentially contradictory positions that relate to any given issue.

To that end, I run all my classes as Communities of Philosophical Inquiry, whereby students, sitting in a circle, learn to articulate their own initial viewpoints, listen carefully to opposing viewpoints, and thereafter, develop the mental flexibility to follow reasons wherever they lead even if it is into the arms of the opposition.

Books (Apps)

Encontrarnos Con Los Ignos. Pittsboro, N.C. Rancho Park Publishing, 2018

Meeting the Ignos. Victoria, Canada: Fiesen Press, 2018.

Tinker Thinkers (book and app., with Amy Leask). Milton, ON: Enable Training and Consulting, 2014.

Thinking Your Way to Freedom: A Guide to Owning Your Own Practical Reasoning. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009.


Susan T. Gardner. Education in the Context of Uncertainty. in Philosophy with Children and Teacher Education (Ed. A. Kizel). New York: Routledge, pp. 165-174, 2023.

Alex Newby, Daniel J. Anderson, Jason Chen, Arthur Wolf, and Susan T. Gardner. Contagious Commitment: What Might a P4c Summer Camp Training Program Offer Teacher Education Programs? in Philosophy with Children and Teacher Education (Ed. A. Kizel). New York: Routledge, pp. 144-152, 2023.

Jason Chen and Susan T. Gardner. Educating Selves in a Tech Addicted Age. Childhood & Philosophy, v. 18, pp. 01 – 23, 2022.

Susan T. Gardner. Complexity, Dialogue, and Democracy: The Educational Implications. Journal of Didactics of Philosophy. Vol. 6, 1-17, 2022.

Susan T. Gardner. P4C and "Self-Education": How can Philosophical Dialogue Best Solicit Selves? In Conceptions of Childhood and Moral Education in Philosophy for Children, (eds) D. Mendonça & F. Franken Figueiredo. Stuttgart: Metzler, pp. 113-126, 2022.

Anderson, Daniel J. and Susan T. Gardner. Education and Resentment. Open Journal for Studies in Philosophy, 5(1), 19-32, 2021.

Gardner, Susan T. Sisyphus and Climate Change: Educating in the Context of Tragedies of the Commons.Philosophies , 6, 4, pp. 1-11, 2021. https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies6010004

Gardner, Susan T. "Guardians of The Possibility That Claims Can Be False." Open Journal for Studies in Philosophy. July.Vol. 4, no. 1. Pp. 11-24, 2020.

Chen, Jason and Gardner, Susan T. Does Philosophy Kill Culture? Philosophy in Schools. Spring, 7 (1), pp. 4-15, 2020.

Gardner, Susan T. "What Kind of Magnet is Freedom?" Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis. Spring, pp. 60-70, 2020.

Newby, Alex and Gardner, Susan T. Meeting Youngsters Where they are at: Demonstrating its Advantages.” Childhood & Philosophy, v. 15, pp. 01 – 26, 2019.

Anderson, Daniel J. and Gardner, Susan T. "A dialogue in Support of Social Justice." Praxis & Saber. Vol. 10, no 23. pp. 215-233, 2019.

Reasoning (Or Not) With The Unreasonable (with Anastasia Anderson and Wayne Henry). Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Practice. 39-2. 1-10, 2019.

Gardner, Susan and Wolf, Arthur. An Education for Practical Conceptual Analysis in the Practice of Philosophy For Children. Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Practice. 39- 1, 73-85, 2018.

Gardner, Susan, Newby, Alex and Wolf, Arthur. Using Communal Inquiry as a Way of Increasing Group Cohesion in Soccer Teams. Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Practice. 39-1. 34-54, 2018.

Gardner, Susan. Human Agency: Its Pedagogical Implications. International Journal of Applied Philosophy, 2018.

Gardner, Susan, Henry, Wayne and Morehouse, Richard. Combatting Consumer Madness. Teaching Ethics. Vol. 17, no. 2, 2017.

Gardner, Susan, Naji, Saeed and Rosnani Hashim (eds.), The Necessity of Truth in the Community of Inquiry. Chapter in a book entitled History, Theory and Practice of Philosophy for Children: International Perspectives. London: Routledge, 2017.

Gardner, Susan and Anderson, Daniel. Authenticity: It Should and Can Be Nurtured. Mind, Culture, and Activity. 22 (4), 392-401, 2015.

Gardner, Susan. Commentary of Inquiry is no Mere Conversation. Journal for Philosophy in Schools. http://www.ojs.unisa.edu.au/index.php/jps/index, 2015.

Gardner, Susan. Selling the Reason Game. Teaching Ethics. Vol. 15, Issue 1, 129-136, 2015.

Gardiner, Susan and Wiercinski, Andrej (ed.).Questioning to Hesitation rather than Hesitating to Question: A Pragmatic Hermeneutic Perspective on Educational Inquiry. HermeneuticsEthicsEducation. Zurich: Lit Verlang, 463-472. 2015.

Marsal, Eva, Weber, Barbara, Gardner, Susan (eds.). Respect and the Veil. In Respect: How Do We Get There? A Philosophical Inquiry. Munster, Germany: Lit Verlag Fresnostre, 23-33, 2013.

Marsal, Eva, Weber, Barbara, Gardner, Susan (eds.).Love Them or Leave Them? Respect Requires Neither. The International Journal of Applied Philosophy. Spring 2013. Also published in Respect: How Do We Get There? A Philosophical Inquiry. Munster, Germany: Lit Verlag Fresnostre, 77-91, 2013.

Marsal, Eva, Weber, Barbara, Gardner, Susan (eds.).The Complexity of Respecting Together. Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis. Vol. 13, 2012. 1-12. Also published in Respect: How Do We Get There? A Philosophical Inquiry. Lit. Publisher Mnster, Berlin, Wien, Zrich, 5-21, 2013.

Gardner, Susan. Taking Selves Seriously. Cultural Politics and Identity. Eds. B. Weber, H Karfriedrich, E. Marsal, T. Dobashi, P Schweitzer. Berlin: Lit Verlag, 79-89, 2011.

Gardner, Susan. Teaching Children to Think Ethically. Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis, Vol. 32, 75-81, 2011.

Gardner, Susan. Questioning to Hesitation rather than Hesitating to Question: A Pragmatic Hermeneutic Perspective on Educational Inquiry. Philosophical Study. Vol. 1, No. 5, 352-358, 2011.

Gardner, Susan. What Would Socrates Say to Mrs. Smith? Philosophy Now. Issue 84. 24-26, May/June 2011.

Gardner, Susan, Eds. Marsal, Eva, Dobashi, Takara and Weber, Barbara.The Evolution of Connectivity: A Bridge Beyond in The Politics of Empathy: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives on an Ancient Phenomenon. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 51-59, 2011.

Gardner, Susan. Agitating for Munificence or Going out of Business: Philosophy's Dilemma in Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis, Vol. 31, 1-4, Jan. 2011.

Gardner, Susan, Eds. Marsal, Eva, Dobashi, Takara and Weber, Barbara. Love Thy Neighbor? Maybe Not. Published in Children Philosophize Worldwide. Theoretical and Practical Concepts. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Publisher 423-429, 2009.

Gardner, Susan. Communicating Toward Personhood in Analytic Teaching, Vol. 29, No. 1, 1-9, March, 2009.

Gardner, Susan and Weber, Barbara. Back to The Future; In Philosophical Dialogue in Analytic Teaching, Vol. 29, No. 1, 25-30, March, 2009.

Marsal, Eva, Dobashi, Takara, Weber, Barbara and Lund, Felix G. (eds.) Ich Durch Wir: Autonomie Durch Gemeinschaft. Published in: Ethische Reflexionskompetenz Im Vor- Und Grundschulalter.Konzepte Des Philosophierens Mit Kindern. Hodos: Peter-Lang Edition, 145-153, 2007.

Gardner, Susan. Interactive Reasoning: The Road to Freedom. Published in Critical and Creative Thinking: The Australian Journal of Philosophy in Education. Vol. 12, No 2. pp. 1-12, Nov. 2004.

Gardner, Susan. Autonomy: A Philosophical Capture. Published in Practical Philosophy, Vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 19-22, July, 2001.

Gardner, Susan. Teaching Freedom. Analytic Teaching, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 24-28, Nov. 2001.

Gardner, Susan. Truth in Ethics (and elsewhere). Analytic Teaching. Vol. 19, No. 1, 78-88, 1999.

Gardner, Susan. Philosophy for Children Really Works! A Report on a Two Year Empirical Study. Published in The Australian Journal for Critical and Creative Thinking, Vol. 6, No. 1, March, 1998, pp. 1-13, also published in Philosophy for the Children on Top of the World. Iceland: The University of Akureyri, 1999. 88-104.

Gardner, Susan. Fair-minded from the Beginning, or, Philosophy: a Gender Blender. Published in Analytic Teaching, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 35 - 44, April, 1997.

Gardner, Susan. Inquiry is No Mere Conversation: It is Hard Work. Published in Analytic Teaching, April 1996, Vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 41 - 50 as well as The Australian Journal for Critical and Creative Thinking, Vol. 3, No. 2, October, 1995, pp. 38-49.

Gardner, Susan, with Bond, M., Christian, J., and Segal J.J. Empirical Study of Self-Rated Defence Styles, in Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 40, pp. 333-338, March 1983.


A review of In Community of Inquiry with Ann Margaret Sharp: Childhood, Philosophy, and Education. Maughn Rollins Gregory and Megan Jane Laverty, eds. Teaching Philosophy, 61-64, 2019.

Perceiving The Philosophical Child: A Guide for the Perplexed. A review of Jana Mohr Lones The Philosophical Child. Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis. Vol. 33, Issue 2, 73-76, 2013.

Seeing Children: A Review of Eulalia Bosch's Education and Everyday Life. Analytic Teaching, Vol. 27, No. 2, 18-19, Nov. 2007.

What is a Person? by M. Goodman. Journal of Moral Education, vol. 18, no. 2, pp 148 - 149, May, 1989.


Director of The Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children. 1995-present.

Director of Philosophy for Children camps. http://thinkingplayground.org/ 2014-present.

Vice-President of the International Council of Philosophical Inquiry with Children. 2017-present

Co-organizer of the 2018 North American Association of the Community of Inquiry to be held in Puebla, Mexico, June 15 17, 2018

Primary organizer of the 17th ICPIC conference which was co-hosted by the Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children and UBC in Vancouver, June 25-27, 2014.

Member of the editorial board of Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxes. July 2012-present.

Primary organizer of the Seventh International Conference of the North American Association of the Community of Inquiry which was hosted by the Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children in Vancouver, June 29 - July 2, 2012.

Co-director of the North American Association of the Community of Inquiry (NAACI) from July 2008-present.

Primary organizer of the Fourth International Conference of the North American Association of the Community of Inquiry which is being hosted by the Vancouver Institute of Philosophy for Children in Vancouver, June 28 - July 2, 2000.