Light-hearted thoughts on philosophy & children

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Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 06:07 pm
After having spent the weekend hanging out with my 3 year old daughter I have come to the conclusion that children are far more natural philosophers than adults.

We were going to visit someone who has moved into a new home. Before we left, my daughter asked me:
"Dad, what colour do think the house will be when we get there?"

Having been reading about monistic idealism, I was thoroughly impressed with her wording of the question - implying that the house has no colour until she perceives it or that it could change at any point. I think the standard, adult, quesiton would be "What colour do you think the new house is?" implying it already has a colour and will be the same colour when we get there.

I think it's possibly more natural for children to allow the notion that things don't exist until we perceive them than it is for adults.

Then when we actually arrived, she exclaimed "Dad, the house is yellow!" when to my eyes it wasn't yellow, more a kind of beige colour, but I accepted her view of it as equally (or possibly even more) correct. There must be a yellow component to beige and it is only my (tainted/indoctrinated) adult mind that must break colour down into shades rather than just observing which primary colour is primarily present.

It's winter down here at the moment, and on the way home she asked the very good question of why some trees have lost their leaves while others have not.

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening thinking that if we keep an open dialogue of true curiosity between ourselves and our children, it's possible they can teach us just as much as we can teach them.
 
Victor Eremita
 
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 06:21 pm
@FatalMuse,
As always, a quote from my fav philosopher, Kierkegaard, to start my post off:
Quote:
I prefer to talk with children, for one may still dare to hope that they may become rational beings; but those that have become that-Good Lord!


FatalMuse wrote:
We were going to visit someone who has moved into a new home. Before we left, my daughter asked me:
"Dad, what colour do think the house will be when we get there?" Having been reading about monistic idealism, I was thoroughly impressed with her wording of the question - implying that the house has no colour until she perceives it or that it could change at any point.


Interesting way of wording it, but did your daughter actually mean the question as you think it meant? Or in other words, was your daughter actually thinking about monistic idealism as you think she was thinking about it? Or are you just applying your own biases, experiences, readings onto your daughter?

Quote:
Then when we actually arrived, she exclaimed "Dad, the house is yellow!" when to my eyes it wasn't yellow, more a kind of beige colour, but I accepted her view of it as equally (or possibly even more) correct. There must be a yellow component to beige and it is only my (tainted/indoctrinated) adult mind that must break colour down into shades rather than just observing which primary colour is primarily present.


Possibly; does your daughter have a wider range of vocabulary of colours? Maybe it's actually beige, but she did not have the word to describe this shade, and thus resorted to the closest word she had available: yellow.
 
FatalMuse
 
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 06:52 pm
@Victor Eremita,
Quote:
Interesting way of wording it, but did your daughter actually mean the question as you think it meant? Or in other words, was your daughter actually thinking about monistic idealism as you think she was thinking about it? Or are you just applying your own biases, experiences, readings onto your daughter?
I would say that's largely part of the situation and I'm sure she has no concept of monistic idealism. But to me all meaning is in the way in which we use language. She used the longer question of 'will be when we get there' than 'is'. There's several things that could influence this, but to me the question is still: 'what colour will it the house be upon perceiving it' rather than 'what colour do you think it is'. I believe the way the question is worded (probably unintentionally) implies perception.

I'm not trying to say anything incredible is going on here, just that it's interesting the way children can word some questions. Our use of language is a pretty clear indication of how we understand the world. Young children, being in the beautiful position of beginnning to understand the world, can often show this to us quite clearly.


Quote:
Possibly; does your daughter have a wider range of vocabulary of colours? Maybe it's actually beige, but she did not have the word to describe this shade, and thus resorted to the closest word she had available: yellow.
She does have a wider vocabulary of colours than just primary but it probably doesn't stretch to colours like beige, turquoise etc.

That she resorted to the closest word available (yellow) rather than asking "what colour is that?" (as I'm sure she wouldn't hesitate to do) shows that she perceives some yellow - which is probably the primary colour of the house.

What I'm drawing from this is a very loose hypotheses that children perceive more in the realm of colour whereas adults become more conditioned to perceiving shades.

crimson = red
maroon = red
scarlet = red

As our vocabluary expands, we put things into smaller and smaller sets.

I put 'light hearted' in the title, because I'm not trying to make any distinct assertions regarding children or perception, but thinking out loud about the unique position children are in in terms of perceiving the world - and the fascinating instances of learning that can arise during a discussion between adults and children.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 09:25 pm
@FatalMuse,
I wonder if people as they get older become more random in life, because of more gradients, like an idealistic entropy.

But really, all its doing is causing insanity by absoluteness/randomness (they are in so many ways the same thing).

Because the randomness, the gradients are a cause of something less "gradientified", being the past, being the enviromental influences, being the media, society telling you what is cool and what is not.

I think that philosophy is a way of getting away from corruption by viewing it with awareness of its actuality rather than the illusive perception.

When people get older I guess what happens is assumptions are made underlying to behaviour. They are just as well established as facts are, and children are still learning and developing so there are so many questions. I can remember asking a lot of questions when I was little.

At a very young age it should be taught never to establish social conclusions.

Maybe people who like philosophy do not allow such intrinsics to become so combuffled in their mind as other people do, making such an orderly chaotic life. Perhaps thats the cause for some disorders, I mean, why else would the reverse, being therapy, help in curing disorders when it has not physical basis.

More experience means something becomes more certain if it remains the same. We have such an inertial way of thinking so we allow assumptions to cloud new ideas and new developments unless we take a great leap of generalization. But I am only 17.

Edit: To quote "all around me are familiar faces, worn out places, worn out faces"

Such is what comes from corruption but children are a force against such pessimism.:a-ok:
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 07:54 am
@Holiday20310401,
Children have that intrinsic desire to learn, and modern society seems to beat that desire out of teenagers and adults. Thus, children are equipped with the necessary qualities that are required of the philosopher, but most adults have become set in their ways and beliefs. One of these qualities the child possesses is the willingness to make errors. Adults try to eliminate these as they become aware of their conditioning.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 07:36 pm
@Theaetetus,
And do we indulge what we actually want to learn? With the average teen, not really.

We are educated so poorly, can you believe that in Texas teachers were given guns as a provision?! And they have the option to have a 30 day course on how to handle a gun. Thats some serious problems.

I mean education deals wantingly (:lol:contradictory pun) with a teen deciding to learn whatever he/she wants, to gradient off into their own ideas and learn from them rather then to be educated on the notes and labs that have been done a million times by other students and over the years.

Memorizing is not my definition of learning quite.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 07:43 pm
@Holiday20310401,
I don't think anyone that cares about education thinks that memorization has anything to do with learning. Now if someone wanted to manage herds then memorization works wonderfully. Thus, the powers that be treat learning as the memorization of factoids.
 
savagemonk
 
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 08:09 pm
@Theaetetus,
A majority of these demise in american education stretches for beyond just the desire of the child. That is where is begins though. There is no direction anymore. Parents are so caught up in the race that it is easy for them to follow the heard , rather than seek out the individualism of their child. Once you have discovered your childes mind it is up to you as a parent to feed it. If you do not by the time your child realizes that he/she can think and do what they like. A large percent became rebellious and irrational.

If you do not stimulate the mind it defaults back to the last known upload: Go to school, Pay for school, get a job, buy stuff, fight for social security, then die. Where is the room for growth?

I don't care who you are that program sucks. The thought of doing that for 70+ years would make me wanna burn something as well.

Americas educational system has become a money game. It is no longer focused on education or development of minds. Weather our children learn or not they still get there budget.
 
 

 
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