“It is okay if I … take … this book?”

He meant borrow when he said take, but his quirky-ness and smile revealed his enthusiasm for the book’s topic, hence the honest use of the word take. It’s a dry title, so I won’t bore you with how this book calls itself, and yes it has the word “philosophy” in it. You would normally find it in the reference section. You get the idea.

High school juniors begin the process towards writing a four thousand word essay on any topic of their choosing, and I am his newly-minted supervisor. I’m only supposed to spend five hours on it working directly either with the manuscript, emails, or the kid, while they spend however long it takes them to decide on a research question, investigate, read, write, draft, re-draft, read, rewrite, throw away, tear up, and laugh at its completion.

Can you think of a better way to prepare for college?

He asked what epistemology is. We talked of gadflies. We chose The Apology as the topic of discussion for the next Philosophy Club’s meeting.

This book that I brought in is the only reference material on philosophy available in the school. You would find it in the reference section, but not at our library. There isn’t a dedicated book on the topic, for example.

Gadfly indeed. The kid chose as his topic the one subject that the institution had forgotten.

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