Recent graduate and philosophy major Nick Navarro ’15 has a strong interest in philosophy for children. So strong, in fact, that he wrote a philosophical book for children as an independent study in conjunction with his senior seminar (both taught by Ariela Tubert). Nick wanted to get children to think about the same issues that were being read and discussed in the senior seminar, and thus, the book project was born.
Dialogues with Phil and Sophia – Who’s Moving? follows the adventures of siblings Phil and Sophia as they work through some big questions about personal identity and agency. As Nick describes the book, “Phil and Sophia along the way practice thinking philosophically, questioning everything they encounter. From trees to pastries, each chapter discusses how reflection, relationships, reasoning, and resistance are meaningful to developing an identity. “
The book includes spaces for the readers to interact, noting their own philosophical questions and thoughts, as well as discussion questions at the end of each chapter. The book also includes artwork by illustrator Avery Aresu.
Following is a brief excerpt of Nick’s work. See if you can recognize the philosopher whose work inspired this encounter!
If you guessed Derek Parfit, you’re right! Other chapters of the book make use of the work of Marya Schechtman, Paul Katsafanas, and Christine Korsgaard, giving the overall story its strong theme of questioning personal identity, but presenting this topic in ways that children can understand and grapple with for themselves.
For the end of the academic year, several excerpts from Nick’s book were enlarged and put up as an exhibit in Wyatt Hall, as shown below:
Nick provides the following information about himself in relation to the book:
Nicolas Navarro dreams of a world driven by insatiable inquiry. Hoping to spark curiosity and imagination in everyone, Nicolas writes with the values of philosophy in mind so others may find satisfaction through pursuing wisdom.
Recently completing his B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Puget Sound, this is Nicolas’ first novel before he continues his studies, pursuing a M.S.Ed. in Community and Social Change from the University of Miami. On the horizon, Nicolas plans to apply for the Peace Corps and to continue writing philosophy novels for children.
I (Nicolas) think the most important way I can impact people’s lives is to teach them to think philosophically. Philosophy values a dialogue by which ideas can be discussed to develop meaning and broaden one’s experience. Doing philosophy inherently teaches people to think critically about the decisions they make and to become more accepting of others’ views. I hope you enjoy the book!
Want to read more? Nick’s book is now for sale on Amazon! Congratulations Nick!