Why we should be more curious about wonder

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaperAcademic


I’m a philosopher of education, interested in the educational importance of wonder. In educational literature (as well as school mission statements) wonder is often mentioned in one breath either with curiosity or with awe. In both cases wonder appears superfluous, just another way of saying the same thing. But wonder differs from both curiosity and awe, even though there’s a type of wonder that is closer to curiosity and a type that is more akin to awe.
Philosophers who write about wonder virtually always discuss curiosity, but psychologists seem only interested in curiosity. I argue that both educationists and educational theorists on the one hand and psychologists on the other hand should be more curious about wonder. Wonder is significantly different from curiosity, it is a powerful cognitive-affective state (or mode of consciousness), it is educationally important (but not only as a motivator of learning), and apart from its obvious connections with aesthetics and spirituality it also has potential moral and political importance. Last but not least, psychological research into wonder would undoubtedly also open up new perspectives on curiosity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2018
EventExploring Curiosity - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 22 Nov 201823 Nov 2018


ConferenceExploring Curiosity
Internet address


  • Wonder, curiosity


Dive into the research topics of 'Why we should be more curious about wonder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this