What are rocks made out of? What colour is the stars? How do light thing float and heavy things sink?

Philosopher's reply

Dear Julia: These are wonderful questions!

They are all about BIG things that are different from the small things they are made of. Rocks are made of small grains that are rough and sandy – but they themselves are smooth and shiny. This is because they are packed that way. Stars shine blue or red – but you can’t see the atoms they are made of. Ships float because they are hollow – but they are made of steel that doesn’t float. All of these BIG things are different because of how the LITTLE things they are made of are packed, or heated, or shaped. It makes a HUGE difference how things are put together.


Philosopher's profile

Mohan Matthen

University of Toronto, Canada


Murdoch makes a place for art in teaching us how to see. My work develops this idea: we appreciate visual art because it’s a part of learning to see; artists make it in order to teach us how to do this.

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