Talking Philosophy With Your Kids

Philosopher parents: how, if at all, do you talk philosophy with you own children?

I don’t give my children philosophy lessons, nor do we celebrate Socrates’ birthday. There may be a few more books of logic puzzles laying around the house than average, along with many of the children’s books listed here, but I don’t force philosophy on the kids. If the opportunity to turn a conversation towards philosophical questions arises, I occasionally take it, just to ask a few probing questions or to explore a couple of ideas, but I find that most of my attempts don’t go far. It’s better when they’re the ones to start the conversations, as when my oldest son came home from school one day in first grade and reported on his lunchtime conversation with the janitor over the existence of god. Or when, more recently, my daughter, in the latest in a series of uncontrollable fits of laughter, caught enough breath to quickly ask, “Why is this funny?”

I’m not particularly interested in turning my children into philosophers. But I do want them to appreciate philosophical inquiry. I imagine that many other philosopher-parents feel the same. What is your approach?

A Hole Is To Dig illustration b

(from A Hole Is To Dig by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak)

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