Philosophy of the babes


Lately my daughter has been expressing unintentionally philosophical questions. For example, when we were discussing as a family events from the “deep past,” i.e., before her existence, she asked “Where was I?” And we don’t even need to get into questions about the nature of death, which does come up when companion animals expire.

This dovetails with another thought which has been percolating in my mind recently: is there any point to philosophy of the existential kind once you have children? Men such as Plato and St. Paul did not have a family life in a conventional sense, though Aristotle did marry, and also had a son. Does this perhaps reflect itself in the nature of the philosophies expounded by Plato and his most famous pupil? Since becoming a father I have difficulty even understanding why the nature of Being and existence bothered me at all as a younger man. Children seem to give an answer to many of the “deep” questions we might have, on an emotional if not rational, level.* This is all ironic because it seems to me that children are the ones who most naively probe the root of the gaps in our comprehension of ontology.

* It is then of note that celibacy is common in many “higher religions” for professional clerical elites.

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