Why is philosophy not taught in high school? I have heard some arguments against it, but they all seem pretty poor such as: "parents would not like their children questioning their views". It seems like philosophy has a lot to give in a high school setting, at the very least classes like Critical Thinking would give students tools for assessing arguments. I could understand if most people went on to college, but many don't and it seems like some of the skills which philosophy bestows could greatly benefit our society. I really don't see why professional philosophy has not ventured down this route. I would be very thankful for any insight on this topic. Thanks, William P.

The question needs to be clarified a bit, I think. Philosophy is taught in high school in certain countries: for example, in France, in the last year of high school, ' terminale ', all students studied philosophy; in the US, philosophy courses are taught in some high schools, largely private schools; however, it does seem to be the case that philosophy courses are not regularly taught in American secondary schools. I agree that the skills taught in philosophy courses--careful reading, clear prose, the construction of arguments--would be beneficial for all students, for they are highly 'portable' and are used in all walks of life. I am inclined to think that one reason that philosophy courses are not generally taught in high schools--at least today--is due to the tests to which schools must teach; another reason that philosophy may not be taught in high schools is that there generally aren't qualified teachers of philosophy working at the secondary level. (Here the contrast with France is...

Should we teach philosophy to younger children? Would it help them in anyway, or would it be harmful in later life?

There are actually ongoing efforts, in Western Massachusetts, to teach philosophy to younger children. The practice was treated in a relatively recent New York Times article. (You might also check out the Philosophy for kids site.) On the basis of the work cited in the Times article, and on the basis of my own (relatively limited) experience with younger children, it seems to me that younger children are naturally inquisitive about philosophical questions. Whether teaching philosophy to young children would help or harm them in life, is, I think, more a matter of whether one thinks philosophy is helpful or harmful to life, which is itself a deep question about the nature of philosophy and its value that has provoked much disagreement from philosophers over the centuries. I myself am inclined to think that the kinds of inquiries that philosophy promotes can only be beneficial to anyone who engages in them, but I of course have a vested interest in holding that opinion!

Is it bad to have a favorite sibling?

It depends on what one means for it to be bad to have a favorite sibling. I'll take the question to mean whether it is appropriate or morally permissible to have a favorite sibling--i.e., to like one person to whom one is biologically related more than another. Now it seems to me to be natural to prefer some people to others, and, hence, equally natural to prefer some of one's siblings to others. (This, of course, doesn't bear on the question of the appropriateness or moral permissibility of preferring one sibling to another.) Provided that this preference isn't manifest to the sibling in question, then it would seem to me not to be bad, not morally impermissible to prefer one sibling to another. However, in such a case, it seems to me that one must take special care not to manifest one's preference--that, it seems, could be bad, for it might be harmful to the sibling in question.