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Teen Philosophy at the Athens Library

Teen Philosophy

Once again, Department of Philosophy students are participating in a philosophy for teens program at the Athens-Clarke County Library. Led by graduate student Marissa Willis, PHIL3900S is in conjunction with the UGA Office of Service Learning. In the "Let's Talk About That" after-school program, undergraduate students lead discussions with middle and high school teens on a broad variety of philosophical topics.

"So far we've had some really fun discussions; about ethics, such as 'what is the difference between justice and fairness?', 'how can we be certain about anything?' and 'can we learn from works of fiction?', as well as questions like 'what makes a person a person?' and 'would you still be you if you had a robot body?'" explains Willis of just a few of the topics addressed in the program.

Library staff are particularly enthusiastic about "Let's Talk About That," which is among the most well attended of all teen programs. "It's been one of my favorite programs to sit in on and not only watch the kids but interact with them as they're working through what are really complex ideas," notes Library Lead Assistant of Teen Services Rachel Bennet. "They often surprise me not only with how well they comprehend the topics but also how much insight they have. It's been a joy to watch some of our quieter teens open up and voice their thoughts and opinions."

"The kids never fail to impress me with the depth and sophistication of their thought, as well as their enthusiasm for some really complex questions," adds Willis. "They are very bright, respectful, and terrific conversation partners."

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