What is the most philosophical thing that you have ever heard a child under the age of 5 say?

That is a new Reddit thread (apologies, I have forgotten who directed my attention to it).  My favorite answer was this Stigler-Becker approach to the matter:

My little sister handed me a juice box as I was packing to move out and said “No one is really a grown up. They just act old because they have to”

The full thread is here.

Comments

My 4 year old daughter told me while we were driving on the interstate highway to some event: "This side of the highway is for going places, the other side is for getting home."

My 4 year old girl once said “Against that positivism which stops before phenomena, saying “there are only facts” I should say: no, it is precisely facts that do not exist, only interpretations. Now give me some candy!"

My daughter commented concerning her tropical fish (possibly she was past 5, but not much): "Do they even know that they are fish?"

Whats water? D.F. Wallace

My son once asked me "Is that a real clown or just a person dressed up as a clown?:" That was many years ago but I still don't know how to answer.

Ceci n'est pas un clown!

My 4 y.o. daughter: "Why do things have names?"

Why do whats have whats?

I was recently reading my 4.5 y.o. daughter a book with words, pictures and definitions.

Me: "This word is 'selfish.' Do you know what that means?"
Her: "That's when you have a bunch of fish, and you sell them."

A few months ago she spent a great deal of time and questions trying to figure out what dies and what doesn't. Do unicorns die?

No philosophy from my kid, but he did show an inclination toward economics when he was about four. I told him that if he didn't stop what he was doing he'd have to stand in the corner, and he replied, "for how long?"

+1, LOL

After my wife made her first attempt to explain Christianity and the crucifixion to our son he asked, "Why did they hang him from that telephone pole? Why didn't they just shoot him?"

My five year old was dawdling over a drawing she was working on before services one Friday night. I asked her to finish her tree. She colored in the leaves, and I said, "Okay, let's go in, sweetie." She replied, "I have to draw the trunk, Mommy. What's a tree without a trunk?"

After singing "If You're Happy and You Know It" with my 3 year old, he asked me, "But what should I do if I'm happy and I don't know it? What then?"

+10

Colleague's daughter:
Dad, why is it raining?
God makes it rain so the flowers and the grass and the trees can grow.
Dad, why is it raining in the driveway?

I think the Old Testament has plenty of examples of "indiscriminate aim."

My nephew instructing his younger cousin: "You should share. Do you know what sharing is? Sharing is when you have something and you give it to me."

That sounds less like philosophy and more like politics.

All politics is local.

My now 8 year old, when he was 3, told me "I didn't promise not to yell, I promised I'd try not to yell".

He's very likely going to be a lawyer or politician.

In a similar vein, my other son was a notoriously picky eater. His grandmother was convinced he wasn't eating enough and was determined to get him to eat more.

She asked him if he liked pork chops. He said he did. Then she put a lot of work into making some very delicious pork chops. He refused to take a single bite. "But you said you liked pork chops." she protested. He replied, "I said I liked them. I didn't say I'd eat them."

Reminds me of Jeremy Paxman's infamous interview of Michael Howard: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uwlsd8RAoqI

A eureka moment for my son as I buckled him into the child car seat:

"You don't want me to have a happy life. You want me to have a long life."

As I was preparing my lecture notes for my econ class my son, looking over my shoulder, turned to me and said: "Any approach that claims to recover the distribution of individual utility parameters from aggregate data based on arbitrary distributional and functional form assumptions is dubious at best," and then walked right out the door.

If only adults were as thoughtful as your child about aggregation problems in economics, the world would be a better place.

Kids these days!

Marginal Revolution + Reddit-style comments = marginally better Marginal Revolution.

I told 4-year-old June it would be five more minutes in the car.

"Minutes? What are they? I can't *see* them, or touch them."
"No, I guess you can't."
"So how do I know they're there?"
"..."
"..."
"Four more minutes and we'll be there."
"Ok."

A future atheist. Or possibly one already.

My son at that age, "Why do you say the alarm 'went off', when it actually turned on?"

More linguistics than pure philosophy, perhaps, but I always remember it and smile.

"Daddy's too fat for his kilt."

That's the human condition summarised nicely.

The young daughter of a friend was about 5 when I gave her and a boy her age a ride to school. The boy was complaining that my car was old and raggedy, and that he only rode in nice cars. He was listing all the fine automobiles he had ridden in when she, very loudly, informed him: "BOY! Don't you know that a raggedy ride beats a cool walk any day!?!"

A few months back my then 4-year-old son woke up crying. I went to his room and asked him what was wrong.

His answer: "The clock is moving forward and I want it to go backwards!"

After my wife and I spent about an hour talking about the concept of God in response to being peppered by my 5 year old son's questions on religion, he was quiet for quite some time and then piped up "I think I'll believe in God because I'll be happier if I think heaven exists."

Genius.

I was speaking about social systems with some friends, when a father of ~4 year old girl told her: see, when you get older, you will be supporting uncle Andy. She turned to me in absolute disdain and replied: I don't want to support somebody I don't know.

Hope she gets into politics. That viewpoint would be refreshing.

Many years ago, my second son died when he was 2-1/2. At the time, my brother-in-law said to my older (5-year old) son that that wasn't a very long time, and my 5-year old said it probably felt like a long time to him. That may be the most philosophical thing I've ever heard anyone say.

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SPAM!

3 year old daughter: "Dad, I want some pie." Me: "you can't always get what you want." Daughter after a few seconds, "dad, I need some pie."

I like this one best.

Got my degree in philosophy and this hits me right in my epistemological core:
"You can't get up from the table until you eat every single pea."
[picks up a pea] "Are you married or are you single?"[picks up another pea] "Are you married or are you single? Dad, they're not cooperating."

GOOOD!
:-D

Aged 4-5, when challenged by me about changing her mind about something, my daughter replied quite forcefully "It's my mind and I'll change it if I want to." Hasn't stopped since.

When my granddaughter put down her baby bottle, I swiped it, pretended to suck on it and said "Dink dink dink dink dink dink dink dink dink!" She very quietly sat there and said "Naughty Papa ... Naughty ..."

After seeing them for the first time, 4 y.o.: "Why fireworks?"

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