Philosophy & the Young Child
Gareth B. Matthews
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While reading this book, I made a variety of comments on Post-it throughout. Below you will ﬁnd some interesting excerpts from the book as well as the comments I made. My comments appear in pale yellow.
- Philosophising As a Child
- The Dream Problem
- If Everything Shrinks at The Same Speed…
- Do Planes Shrink As They Fly Away?
- Are Apples Alive?
- Not Seeing Double
- In Front and Behind
- In Front and Behind On a Sphere
- Existence and Simultaneous Non-existence
- On Things Going Away
- The Subjectivity of Purpose
- Adult Claims Deserve Philosophical Challenge
- “Shan’t Tell You!” Joke
- The Problem With Descartes
- Differing Deﬁnitions of “Know”
- Tim’s “Joke”
- Can Logic Be “Mischievous”?
- The Flaw of Utilitarianism
- Subjective or Objective Valuation of Selﬁshness
- Accuracy Dependent Upon Deﬁnition
- Time and The Instant Replay
- Question for Michael and Thoughts On Inﬁnite Universes
- A Thought On Finite Universes
- Open Philosophical Curiosity in Young Children
- The Pinching Test
- Atoms, Human Minds, and Free-market Economies
- How Big Is a Foot?
- “Everything,” Present or Future?
- Ozma of Oz
- Detriment of Preoccupation With Techniques
- Amateur Philosophy
- How Much of The Brain Constitutes Self?
- Many Skies
- Hard and Soft Words
- Problems With Words
- Singing To Let Yourself Know How You Feel?
Philosophising As a Child (p. vii)
I’ve never thought of philosophy as unnatural, and can distinctly remember philosophising as a young child. But then, I was probably a bit abnormal for a child. I distinctly remember telling myself that I had to remember certain things in the future, so that I could know how children think. I remember being an extremely rational child in some respects, and extremely irrational in others.
The Dream Problem (p. 1)
Oh, yeah, I’ve asked myself that. I still do. I also asked myself if I could not be a ﬁgment in someone else’s imagination—and still do.
One postulation I came up with was that a creature exists that sleeps for a hundred years at a time, and while it is sleeping, it forgets reality and begins to believe that its dream is reality. Perhaps I am one of these creatures, and I only think I’m a “human” (whatever that is) because I’ve been off in la-la land for a couple of decades. Perhaps in a half dozen decades, I’ll awaken again, and when I do, remember, “Oh yeah, I’m this creature that lives for many millennia.” Then I’ll remain awake for another three-hundred years or so before falling back asleep, and the cycle begins again.
But this doesn’t go far enough, because it still assumes that a “reality” exists. What if “reality” is itself an illusion? Matter, the law of non-contradiction…all of it. I came to question reality itself much later than questioning whether everything were a dream.
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