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The If Machine


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Table of Contents

Introduction: What Thought Experiments Are and How to Use Them; 1. Republic Island - Decision Making, Common Agreement And Rules; 2. Ring Of Gyges - The Difference Between Right and Wrong; 3. Superhero - Why Should We Be Good?; 4. Same River Twice - Change and Identity; 5. Ship Of Theseus - What Makes A Ship 'A Ship'?; 6. Brain Swap / Lunch Box - What Makes Me 'Me'?; 7. Total Recall - Memory and Identity; 8. The Packed Lunch - Do I Really Know What I Think I Know?; 9. Jack's New Friend - Are Robots Alive?; 10. Frog and The Scorpion / Friend and The Thief - Choice, Control and Nature; 11. Mary and The Black and White Room - Learning Something New; 12. Edge Of The Universe / Lucretius Spear - How Big Is Infinity?; 13. Moral Dilemma's - Ethics and Society; 14. The Chair - What You See Is What You Get.; +10 More; Philosophical Theory; Conclusions; Further Reading; Index.

About the Author

Peter Worley has been teaching Philosophy in primary schools since 2002, and currently works peripetetically in 13 schools. Peter is Founder of The Philosophy Shop, a company supporting and promoting the teaching of philosophy in primary schools. He also has a regular column in Teach Primary magazine, and is often invited to speak at conferences about philosophy in schools.


'Philosophy with my Year 6 class was a revelation. Children who had never felt confident enough to speak up came out with such insightful comments that others had no choice but to start to take them seriously. Every school should have philosophy as part of the curriculum.'--Amanda Crook, primary teacher
Atteded How The Light Gets In at Hay Festival 2011
Author article in The Times
'This is a timely and valuable contribution: a capacity to think critically is the key component of any education, and Worley is an inventive enhancer of children's ability to think for themselves.'--Sanford Lakoff
'...a lucid and well-thought through resource that should have children entertained and educated at the same time.'--Sanford Lakoff
'If you had any doubts about whether you could do this, this book gives you the confidence to be able to go out and do it.'--Sanford Lakoff
'A very well-organised and thought-out book...One of the most striking things about this book is its intellectual rigour, its grounding in the work of real philosophers and its implicit belief that children will respond to big and important ideas.' --Sanford Lakoff
'Plato in primary school? Existentialism, moral responsibility and determinism as topics for key stage 2 exploration? Is this book suggesting that primary children can tackle these big ideas? Has Peter Worley ever been inside a school? The answers are yes, yes, yes and yes. Worley is seriously presenting this material for use in schools...This is, I think, a pretty comprehensive package. Many of the stimulus stories derive from classical origins, but these are mixed with the contemporary tale of Billy Bash the school bully and the futuristic Ceebies stories, which use an increasingly humanoid robot to explore what it means to be human. In all cases, the quality of the stimulus material is high and the task questions are engaging and demanding. Without the context of the stories, many of the questions, such as "Do you think the mind is the same thing as the brain?" or "Is it possible to think of nothing?" would be out of reach for primary pupils. But within context, they are exciting opportunities for exploration and I can imagine primary children getting very involved with them.' --Sanford Lakoff
'Peter is skilled at making a potentially complex subject as accessible as it could be... Each session is clearly laid out, graded for difficulty as well as age-suitability, and accompanied with information about the relevant philosophical question.' --Sanford Lakoff

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