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  • Published: 30 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241448793
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $45.00

Nasty, Brutish & Short

Adventures in Philosophy with My Kids




A thought-provoking investigation into life's biggest questions with the help of great philosophers, old and young

Say 'philosopher,' and someone grand, old and bearded might come to mind. But, as philosophy professor Scott Hershovitz shows in this delightful debut, some of the best philosophers in the world are better described as nasty, brutish and short-that is to say, they're children. Children make wonderful philosophers because they constantly question things that grown-ups take for granted, test theories about the people around them, and try to work out the way the world works. Following the lead of his two young sons, Rex and Hank, Hershovitz takes us on a unique tour through classical 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?

Fast-paced, funny, and brimming with tales of the delightful things children say and do, Nasty, Brutish & Short is a unique guide to the art of thinking. Alongside Rex and Hank, Hershovitz investigates big questions about rights, revenge, punishment and authority; questions about sex, gender and race; and questions about the nature of truth and knowledge, the size of the universe, and the existence of god. The result is an invigoratingly fresh way of thinking through the moral, social, and existential issues that most of us have learned to ignore, and an irresistible invitation to become more discerning thinkers, by cultivating our innate, childlike wonder at the world.

  • Published: 30 August 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241448793
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $45.00

About the author

Scott Hershovitz

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 D.Phil. from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Professor Hershovitz served as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is married to Julie Kaplan, a social worker, whom he met at summer camp. They live in Ann Arbor with their two children, Rex and Hank.

Praise for Nasty, Brutish & Short

In his witty and learned book Nasty, Brutish, and Short, Hershovitz intertwines parenting and philosophy, recounting his spirited arguments with his kids about infinity, morality, and the existence of God, and teaching half a liberal arts curriculum along the way

Jordan Ellenberg, New York Times Bestselling author of Shape

This book will teach you how to transform the endless questions of childhood into the endless wonder of philosophy

Barry Lam, Host and Executive Producer, Hi-Phi Nation podcast, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Vassar College

This delightful book is about philosophy and, ultimately, how to better love your kids. Want to cherish them, respect them, help them learn? Then join them in their natural wonderment and enjoy the philosophical fun

Aaron James, bestselling author of Assholes: A Theory and Professor of Philosophy at UC Irvine

Hershovitz is a total delight--energetic, compassionate, patient, wise, and very, very funny, even when he is talking about weighty or difficult ideas. I'm grateful to have him as a model for how to talk to my children and how to think alongside them.

Merve Emre

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