Hi there, I’ve always wondered, why do adults get more of a voice in society than children, if it doesn’t even effect them?

Thanks, Ella

Philosopher's reply

Dear Ella,

I think there are 3 things necessary in making good decisions about ourselves + others that it takes a good while to learn. 1. The way the world is, both straightforward facts + deeper connections: what is a ‘Member of Parliament’? More difficult still: what will be the effects of doing this & doing that? 2. Long-term planning. I suppose you know the fable of the ant & the grasshopper, which I think has a dual lesson: we really mustn’t avoid long-term planning. But also – be compassionate. I think the ant comes off as mean-spirited and punishing, not the kind of person we’d like to be. Which leads to 3. Internalising a moral code of how to treat ourselves + others + learning to balance desires, emotions, rational considerations of duties – which last often conflict.

The problem of course – which may be at the heart of your questions – is that not only children but many adults who make decisions for children haven’t managed all 3 very well. And we haven’t figured out how to design society to get almost everybody into a position to do all this well.

Maybe you have ideas of some things we could do in this direction??

Best wishes, Nancy

Philosopher's profile

Nancy Cartwright

Durham University, UK

Iris's is philosophy with a human side, complex, mixed, multifaceted, not altogether good, not altogether bad, without too-sharp boundaries -- life as I experience and must manage it.

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