Nasty, Brutish, and Short
Adventures in Philosophy with Kids
- 9,49 €
- 9,49 €
'Witty and learned ... Hershovitz intertwines parenting and philosophy, recounting his spirited arguments with his kids about infinity, morality, and the existence of God' Jordan Ellenberg, author of Shape
A funny, wise guide to the art of thinking, and why the smallest people have the answers to the biggest questions
'Anyone can do philosophy, every kid does...'
Some of the best philosophers in the world can be found in the most unlikely places: in preschools and playgrounds. They gather to debate questions about metaphysics and morality, even though they've never heard the words, and can't tie their shoelaces. As Scott Hershovitz shows in this delightful book, kids are astoundingly good philosophers. And, if we let ourselves pause to think along with them, we might discover that we are, too.
Nasty, Brutish, and Short is a unique guide to the art of thinking, led by a celebrated philosophy professor and his two young sons. Together, Scott, Rex, and Hank take us on a romp through classic and contemporary philosophy, steered by questions like, does Hank have the right to drink Fanta? When is it okay to swear? And, does the number six exist? They explore weighty issues, like punishment and authority; sex, gender, and race; the nature of truth and knowledge; and the existence of God. And they call on a host of professional philosophers, famous and obscure, to help them along the way. Ultimately, they demonstrate that we shouldn't just support kids in their philosophical adventures: we should join them, so that we can rekindle our own innate, childlike wonder at the world. We'd all be better, more discerning thinkers for it.
Hershovitz, a philosophy and law professor at the University of Michigan, mixes wit and wisdom in this thoroughly enjoyable philosophical tour that uses conversations with the author's two sons to demonstrate that "anyone can do philosophy and every kid does." On the first day of second grade, Hershovitz's son Rex offered a cogent description of philosophy: "Philosophy is the art of thinking." Hershovitz builds on that definition to discuss the importance of critical thinking, for philosophers and for society in general. He covers such topics as rights, punishment, race and responsibility, and God, showing how philosophy can help make sense of thorny problems. Kant, for instance, teaches about morality and not using people "merely as a means to achieve our ends," while Aristotle holds lessons about revenge when Rex retaliates after being called a "floofer doofer" at school, and Marilyn McCord Adams posited that "God couldn't count as good or loving' if he allowed anyone's life to be swallowed up by evil." Fun anecdotes abound, and Hershovitz demonstrates how to engage children by taking them seriously, teaching them to ask questions, and encouraging them to explore the world things adults can learn from, as well. This sincere and smart account puts to rest the idea that philosophy belongs in academia's ivory tower.