Welcome to Wondering Aloud -- a blog about introducing philosophy to pre-college students. I'm the director of the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children, and I started this blog to create another way to communicate about doing philosophy with young people.

The blog includes posts about some of my philosophy classes with pre-college students, thoughts about doing philosophy with young people, and ideas for how to introduce philosophy in K-12 classrooms and with your own children! Also check out our website,
http://www.philosophyforchildren.org/, for more resources and ideas.

My hope is that this blog will help further the online community of those interested in pre-college philosophy, and will illustrate the vitality and joy of talking about philosophy with young people.

Jana -- September 2008

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Sleeping Beauty


We all know the story of The Sleeping Beauty, on whom a curse is placed at birth. In the story, the 13th of thirteen wise women, angry because she is not invited to the celebration of Sleeping Beauty's birth, announces a curse upon Sleeping Beauty: she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel on her 15th birthday, and fall down dead. The curse is mitigated by one of the other wise women, who states that, instead of dying, the princess will fall into a deep sleep for 100 years.

The King commands that all spinning wheels in the kingdom be destroyed. After some years, the King and Queen forget about the curse so that on her 15th birthday, Sleeping Beauty is left alone at the place. Exploring the palace, the princess finds a room in which there is an old woman spinning at a spinning wheel. Sleeping Beauty tries it and pricks her finger, falling into the foretold hundred-years sleep.

Sleeping Beauty's philosophical themes include destiny, promises, loss, betrayal, sleep, beauty, awakening, and the nature of time. Why doesn't the King invite the 13th wise woman - does he have a good reason? Why do they royal couple leave their daughter alone when they are aware of the danger to her? Is this a betrayal? Was Sleeping Beauty aware of the curse upon her? Can we escape our destiny? When Sleeping Beauty wakes up after 100 years, is it possible that her kingdom still exists? Can time stop? Where is Sleeping Beauty during the long period of her sleep? Is she the same person when she wakes up that she was when she went to sleep? What does it mean to be "awakened?"

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