The Cave

A place for young people to exchange ideas about philosophy and the world outside

The Tiny Atom

Posted by Philosophy Foundation on April 1, 2010

Here’s something to think about:

Eve (Year 5) offered this conundrum:

“The eye cannot see atoms and if everything is made of atoms then when I look at something I should see nothing at all.”

Discuss.

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More philosophy books

Posted by Philosophy Foundation on July 15, 2009

If you want to read more philosophy then here is a list of books that you can get hold of which have been written for people your age:

  • The Philosophy Files Books 1 and 2 by Stephen Law
  • The Philosophy Gym also by Stephen Law
  • Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  • 101 Philosophy Problems by Martin Cohen
  • The Story of Philosophy by Brian Magee

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The Chair?

Posted by Philosophy Foundation on July 5, 2009

What is this?

Could this be anything other than a chair?

Could this be anything other than a chair

Imagine a man sits on this object to get some rest. He thinks it’s a chair. Now imagine a dog lies under it to get shade from the sun. The dog thinks it’s a shelter. So, what is it? Chair or shelter?

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Metaphysics: what stuff is everything made of?

Posted by Philosophy Foundation on May 19, 2009

“Atom” comes from the ancient Greek “atomos” which means “that which cannot be divided.” 

Democritus (c. 460-c. 370 B.C.) thought that there must be a smallest thing, something which everything else is made of but which is not made of anything else. He called this thing an “atom”. He thought that there were only really two things: atoms and void. Atoms are the particles that all other things are made of and void is that which the atoms are able to move in. Void also separates the atoms. 

The big question we discussed today was: what stuff is everything made of?

Here are some suggestions from philosophers:

Thales thought everything was made of water.

Heraclitus thought everything was made of fire.

Empedocles thought everything was made of a mixture of four elements, earth, air, water and fire.

Leibniz thought everything was made of monads, indivisible things that are not physical so they are not made of anything smaller.

Spinoza thought that everything was just one thing.

Democritus thought that there were many things: atoms.

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If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one around to hear it does it still make a sound?

Posted by Philosophy Foundation on February 4, 2009

And was Berkeley right – for things to be, do they need to be perceived?

Bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753)

Latin: “Esse est percipi” (to be is to be perceived)

How did George Berkeley answer the ‘tree in the forest’ question? Do you agree with him?

Posted in Tuesday Philosophy Club | 2 Comments »

Do we see things as they are or only as they appear to be?

Posted by Philosophy Foundation on February 4, 2009

We began this session having two of you draw a chair from different angles and although it was the same chair the drawings seemed to be of different chairs. 

How can we see the chairs as they really are?

Posted in Tuesday Philosophy Club | 2 Comments »