Nasty, Brutish and Short: Adventures in Philosophy with My Kids by Scott Hershovitz
From a University of Michigan professor of law and philosophy, a delightfully funny and thought-provoking investigation into life’s biggest questions with the help of fantastic philosophers old and new—including his two young children
Like any new parent, Scott Hershovitz closely observed his two young sons, Rex and Hank. From the time they could talk, he noticed that they raised philosophical questions and were determined to answer them. Children find the world a puzzling place, so they try to puzzle it out. Often, that leads to profound insight. Sometimes, his kids recreated ancient arguments. Sometimes, they advanced novel views. Kids are natural philosophers, Hershovitz realized. Indeed, they are some of the best around.
With great humor and storytelling, Hershovitz follows an agenda set by Rex and Hank. To start, they try to make sense of morality, asking questions about rights, revenge, and authority. Then they try to make sense of themselves, inquiring into sex, gender, and race. Finally, they try to make sense of the world, exploring the nature of truth, the existence of God, and other daunting mysteries that most grown-ups have learned to look past. Through the lens of his sons’ curiosity, Hershovitz takes us on an engaging tour through contemporary and classic philosophy. It’s a fun romp through the field—the class you wish you took in college.
We want our children to think deeply about themselves, the world around them, and their place within it. Hershovitz calls on us to support kids in their philosophical adventures. But more than that, he challenges us to join them so that we can become better, more discerning thinkers and recapture some of the wonder kids have at the world.