Why am I here?
Am I dreaming?
What is good and bad?
How did the world begin?
Is there a God?
If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions, then you are on your way to becoming a philosopher.
This intriguing opening paragraph of Jeremy Weate's "A Young Person's Guide to Philosophy" has managed to cause at least two curious kids I know, aged 6.5 and 8.5, to compete in inventing more and more philosophical questions. "I invented 10; am I a philosopher yet?" they wondered out loud.
The beauty of Weate's book, especially given various other books supposedly introducing philosophy to children, is manifold: first, there's its interrogative nature. It doesn't really give answers to philosophical questions; only facts, and philosophical questions and ideas, without judgment. Second, it implicitly shows that not all possible answers are legitimate, or even philosophical. Third, it cleverly presents each philosopher separately, and then once again as part of their philosophical tradition. But mostly, and as a result of all of the above, it encourages real thinking. What more can we ask for from a book on philosophy?...