Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yellow and Pink


One of my favorite children's books to use in philosophy classes (including with high school students) is William Steig's Yellow and Pink.

The story begins with two small wooden figures, one pink and one yellow, who are lying on old newspaper. The yellow one sits up and asks the pink one, "Do you happen to know what we're doing here?" The two engage in a conversation about whether someone created them (Pink's view) or whether, as Yellow contends, "we're an accident, somehow or other we just happened." The story follows their speculations about how they might either have been created or just exist by chance.

When I've discussed this book in pre-college classes, we've explored the following questions:

What does it mean to create something?

Have the following things been created? If so, how?
Trees
Children
Stories
Pizza
Clouds
Ideas
Colors

Does everything have to have a beginning?

Does everything have to have a cause?

If we can't imagine something, does that mean it's not possible?

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