Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Why Grow Up? by Susan Neiman

Published in 2014
In this book, philosopher Susan Neiman examines a simple but provocative question: why grow up?

But as one quickly recognizes, simple questions often don't yield simple answers, and this question provides no exception. What we get then is the answer in a short but enlightening book. And I use the term "enlightening" quite intentionally, for Neiman draws upon some of the most significant names of the Enlightenment to provide some answers to her simple question. Her discussion includes Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and David Hume. Along with way, you also encounter Plato, the Stoics, Cicero, Simone De Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt, and Paul Goodman. This is a book about growing up, but it's not a book for children. 

The theme underlying this book is that growing up is no treat, and it's not easy adjusting oneself to an imperfect world and our flawed incarnation in it. How should we initiate children into this world? And how should we either accept the requirements of adulthood or attempt to slough them off?

Because this is a short book, I'll keep my review short. But if you're on the path to adulthood or thinking about shepherding in your young ones, this book provides a thoughtful perspective on this challenge. 

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