Scott Hershovitz

Nasty, Brutish, and Short
  • Nasty, Brutish, and Short

  • 'Witty and learned ... Hershovitz intertwines parenting and philosophy, recounting his spirited arguments with his kids about infinity, morality, and the existence of God' Jordan Ellenberg, author of Shape

    A funny, wise guide to the art of thinking, and why the smallest people have the answers to the biggest questions

    'Anyone can do philosophy, every kid does...'

    Some of the best philosophers in the world can be found in the most unlikely places: in preschools and playgrounds. They gather to debate questions about metaphysics and morality, even though they've never heard the words, and can't tie their shoelaces. As Scott Hershovitz shows in this delightful book, kids are astoundingly good philosophers. And, if we let ourselves pause to think along with them, we might discover that we are, too.

    Nasty, Brutish, and Short is a unique guide to the art of thinking, led by a celebrated philosophy professor and his two young sons. Together, Scott, Rex, and Hank take us on a romp through classic and contemporary philosophy, steered by questions like, does Hank have the right to drink Fanta? When is it okay to swear? And, does the number six exist? They explore weighty issues, like punishment and authority; sex, gender, and race; the nature of truth and knowledge; and the existence of God. And they call on a host of professional philosophers, famous and obscure, to help them along the way. Ultimately, they demonstrate that we shouldn't just support kids in their philosophical adventures: we should join them, so that we can rekindle our own innate, childlike wonder at the world. We'd all be better, more discerning thinkers for it.

Scott Hershovitz is Director of the Law and Ethics Program and Professor of Law and Philosophy at the University of Michigan. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Politics from the University of Georgia; a JD from Yale Law School; and a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar; he also served as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Hershovitz lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, Julie, and their two children, Rex and Hank.

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