Friday, May 13, 2011


A couple of students presented their lesson on the philosophy of color in the philosophy for kids seminar at the UW yesterday. They read a book called The Great Blueness about a wizard who introduces color into a black and white world only to have it first turn into an all blue planet, then one that’s all yellow, then all red before finally learning to mix color and create the multi-hued universe in which we live; although the students were somewhat that the story would generate many questions, we did get into an interesting, albeit somewhat abbreviated discussion about the nature of color and whether or not you could have a name for a color you couldn’t see, or vice-versa.

I love how this group is pretty fearlessly diving into the challenge of leading their own philosophy lessons in the elementary school classrooms in which they’re volunteering; it makes our seminar discussions that much more vibrant and engaging. In general, they’re still getting used to balancing content delivery with authentic inquiry; it’s taken me decades to stop worrying so much about whether I’m teaching philosophy and embrace just doing it, whether we get around to clarifying, say, the scientifically-verifiable experience of color in our brains.

What matters most is taking on questions whose answers beguile us; in the end, I don’t think anyone minded that we didn’t get to where some might have hoped we would; more importantly; we had much to think and talk about along the way.

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