Do kids really need to know about Plato?

After all, didn’t Stephen Hawking (the great physicist) come out and say at a Google conference that ‘Philosophy was Dead.’

Are famous philosophers from the past really that important to children?  Or to anyone for that matter? Where is the relevance? And who really cares?

Philosophy at the most basic level is a series of questions that only a thinking person can ask. Questions like:

Why am I here?

What is the nature of the world?

Is there life after death?

What is knowledge?

Is it better to be good than bad?

What is truth?

How should I live?

Kids ask these questions all the time ─ naturally.  But other people, before them, have asked these very same questions. Philosophers!!!  Famous philosophers from the past have not only asked these questions but they have argued, quite eloquently in most cases, their positions. So does it hurt for children to know who these people were and what they thought? I don’t think so…

One or two of a philosopher’s ideas, might even cement a child’s own thoughts about life. And even help them along their journey. But even if a child can’t relate to any idea, at a minimum, they are aware of it. Awareness is better than ignorance ─ and it is something that can be taken with them for the rest of their lives.

I found a nice little definition of ‘awareness’ on the internet from a philosophy dictionary that I had never heard of ─ ‘Awareness is being aware of something without necessarily understanding it.’ Awareness has to be the first step of any learning process. You cannot possibly understand something without firstly being aware of it.


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