A.C. Grayling’s Youngest Philosophy Student
A wasp gets trapped in a bottle of homemade apple cider in the middle of a tea party.
Now angry, do you release the wasp and risk stinging your guests or do you kill an innocent insect who sought sweet liquid on a sunny afternoon?
This thorny philosophical conundrum faced our four-year-old daughter Iris in Ireland this summer.
Fortunately, among our guests that afternoon was public intellectual and famed philosopher, A.C. Grayling.
Best known for books and lectures on man’s quest for meaning, Grayling was in Ireland to speak at a talk honoring Iris’ great-grandfather, the Irish essayist Hubert Butler.
Unsure about what to do with the trapped insect, Iris tugged at several adults. Absorbed in conversation, none paid attention. Finally, encouraged by her aunt Suzanna, Iris asked Grayling.
Kneeling down to lead Iris through a brief Socratic dialogue, Grayling highlighted the key moral and philosophical issues.
Both options were bad: Sting your guests or kill an innocent insect.
Then, speaking with Solomon-like wisdom, Grayling asked whether there might be a compromise: What if we carry the bottle far from the guests and put it down?
An additional benefit, he added, is that someone could still drink the homemade cider.
Relieved by this solution, Iris placed the bottle at the bottom of the lawn.
Moments later, the wasp flew away.
Filed under: Animals, children, Ireland, La Petite Caravane, Philosophy, Rencontres, Travel | 3 Comments
Tags: AC Grayling, Ireland, La Petite Caravane, philosophy, wasp, young student